Let Luck In

Written by NY Press on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown, Our Town Downtown.


A little superstition could lead to a productive New Year

Kristine Keller

I am rational. I am a woman of reason. I operate in life under a series of principles ardently rooted in reality. When a rainbow’s colors paint the sky, there’s no luck or gold for me, only tiny water droplets in the air reflecting light as the sun shines behind me at the right angle. A shooting star is merely a meteor splattered across the sky, not the force that will cause me to Freaky Friday-life-swap with Jessica Biel. And yet, I’m a slave to superstition. If I’m wearing what I’ve dubbed my good luck bangle, I’ll make myself believe I’ll be discovered while eating Belgian fries at Pommes Frites and subsequently cast in a Quentin Tarantino movie … or, at the very least, as an extra who can snack at the craft services table. That’s how destiny unfurled for Gisele, they say. Just luck of the jewels.

And when I inevitably lose that bangle, my good luck earring (just the right one) will have to act as my new fortune supplier. Wearing these items certainly can’t be the cause of good fortune hitherto experienced, but the idea of facing the world without a talisman makes me feel like I’m in that nightmare where I’m on the 6 train. Naked. Next to Jay-Z. On a day he decides to freestyle-rap about his fellow subway passengers.

So, what is it about superstition that takes firm hold of this scientific being? During my journey on the supernatural stair-master, I visited a place where dreams are discovered and materialized. Where superstition is housed and nurtured. And I don’t mean Broadway’s revival of Ghost. I’m talking about a place down with the tarot cards and up with the spirits: downtown’s finest psychic. With the new year hitting soon, my craving for life’s answers has left me salivating more than Pavlov’s dog. I don’t care about the “why” but mull over answers to three meta W’s—what will I accomplish, who will be the important players in my life, and when, when, when does it all happen? A psychic offers us that quick fix, like a shot of hope in our insatiably inquisitive veins.

When I entered behind the prophet’s swanky beaded curtain, I was greeted with one sentence: “I can feel your energy from the streets!” But, I’d have to soft-pedal that energy and eagerness, given that I could only ask one magic question. Amid the glow of the iridescent chandelier and tabletop crystal ball, I asked: What will be my greatest accomplishment in 2013?

After a swift shuffle and deal, my psychic’s tarot cards revealed that this would be the year I follow a lifelong dream. I was told the dream exists outside the realm of friendship and family and that if I wanted it to happen, I’d have to open myself up more. Upon leaving I couldn’t help smile at the thrill of uncovering something new and different in 2013. Though always guessing what’s in store for your future is as futile as trying to predict where the subway door will open, there is something to be said about thinking about goals. And whether it’s someone or some good-luck charm that can facilitate realizing your goals and believing they can happen, perhaps there’s room for a science-and-sorcery civil union. In fact, psychological studies have consistently shown that those who engage in good-luck rituals actually perform better in goal-related tasks than those who don’t. Activating superstitions boosts belief in yourself, raising levels of self-efficacy and, as a result, confidence. It might not be that your running shoes are lucky, but if you wholly believe they are, this could be the reason you’re sprinting like Usain Bolt. So, if an everlasting dream really is in my New Year cards, I’ll have to do as my teller of fortune divines and say yes to every opportunity. And with that advice reverberating in my mind, I have no choice but to call the acting class number taped to a Prince Street bulletin. It’s lucky 2013, and anything is possible.

Kristine received her master’s in
psychology from New York University.
She currently works at Vanity Fair.

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