Yesterday I spent the afternoon reading Tarot at Middlebury College during their “Red Tent” event. The majority were young women — mostly juniors and seniors from all parts of the world — who crowded around the table in curiosity. I realized that any one of them could have been my daughter if I had a child in my 20s, and that knowing brought an extra level of tenderness to the readings. Many were anxious, stressing all of the college things you stress — midterms, family members, what am I going to do for the rest of my life? The questions were not much different from my clients 2x-3x their age, though surprisingly few were about romantic relationships.
I was grateful to see the future leaders of the world, the ones who will be making policy when I’m in my 70s. Yet I was reminded again of how difficult it is to be a woman when I took a break and saw a sign emblazoned in the bathroom with a number for sexual assault victims. My heart just sank.
When I returned to the table, many of the readings were about jobs. Where/when/how? What was so interesting about the spreads was that I could clearly see how their attitude towards stress and expectation would directly affect their happiness in the next decade. It was like they were setting up a future right in front of my eyes — and their courage would direct the steps. If they told the truth of what their heart wanted, that’s what would bring them the most creative opportunities. It was like advising the younger selves of my clients now. I wasn’t there to help them avoid disappointment and promise a perfect life, but I attempted to show them the power of thought, having the courage to tell the truth and most of all, that listening to their intuition would save them from much heartache.
It’s Middlebury College. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine the expectation on these kids — and many of them come from privileged backgrounds. For some, it would take as much fortitude as possible to carve their own way. The heroine’s journey.
Being around such young energy — though a few had that “old soul” strength — made me appreciate where I am now. It takes quite a bit of grace to accept the passage of time (not to mention silver hair), but I’d never want to go back to being in my early 20s. I’m not much for regrets and nostalgia can be a slippery slope when life gets unhappy, especially when you reach the midpoint. If I find myself going there, all I have to do is reach for one of my old journals and that sets me straight. We all get our turns. I had my time there — and thank heavens I am here now.