About a week and a half ago, I went to a small gathering of wonderful ladies to say goodbye to a close friend of mine, who left the US last week to move to Milan, where her boyfriend lives. This group of girls has been in my life since around 2005 or so, when we all went to a specialty arts high school together to study the literary arts.
As we were hanging out, chatting and sipping our sparkling waters, one of them suggested pulling out the tarot cards for old time’s sake. When we went to school together, during down-time between classes or after school in the dorms, we’d sometimes pull out our tarot decks and do quick readings together as a fun way to pass the time. So when my friend suggested we pull them out, I excitedly volunteered to have my Celtic cross read first.
Much of the content of my cross had to do with pushing forward in my life, accepting past pains and learning to pick my battles. Fair enough. These things seemed to be applicable to lots of life situations, but it was interesting to see nonetheless. When it came to the “hopes/fears” card, I drew the Knight of Pentacles.
For those who aren’t familiar with tarot, pentacles typically deal with material aspects of life including work, business, trade, property, money and other material possessions, and knights are the “defenders” – you know, the knights in shining armor, if you will.
The Knight of Pentacles represents hard work, patience, method, responsibility, commitment and success.
From Biddy Tarot:
As a part of yourself, the Knight of Pentacles suggests that you need to be trustworthy, reliable and a good provider. You need to follow a routine to ensure that an important task or job is completed from start to finish at the standard expected. You are in ‘implementation mode’ and are committed to getting the job done, even if it requires hard work along the way. You are also fiercely loyal and prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure the job gets done.
…Knight of Pentacles points to the more mundane elements of life…routine, day-to-day activities, and general hard work that can sometimes be a ‘slog’… This card also asks you to continue doing what you are doing, plodding along and making gradual progress. There is also no need to change your approach, just ‘more of the same’. Go with the flow, stick with your usual routines, and over time, you will reach your goals.
…It may not necessarily be a very interesting or exciting period but at least you know you are on the right path to achieving your goals. Even if you are growing weary and tempted to quit, this Knight beckons you to keep at it, keep grinding away at it and you will eventually see success. Keep your promises and stay true to your commitments.
I thought this was a really interesting card to have land in my hopes/fears position. Especially as I enter a new semester, and as I continue to work on my sobriety – one day at a time, establishing a new sober routine – this card carries a cool message for me.
See, I tend to be the type to daydream extensively about “what’s next” – a new adventure, a new apartment, a new job, a new relationship, a new food discovery, a new workout. This type of daydreaming was amplified quite a bit during my heavy drinking days. I always felt like sticking to the same routine, settling in or just being content with where I was in life was impossible.
How could I possibly be happy sitting at this stupid desk at my stupid office job for 8 stupid hours a day when I could be out there! In the world! Free and chasing my dreams!
I was insatiable. The problem, though, was that I’d daydream about all of these grand possibilities and get myself so excited, only to shirk away when I realized that these types of things take time. And energy. And effort. And persistence. And money. And more time. And more energy. And probably more money.
I wanted to take the shortcut straight to having my dream job, living in my dream city, living the dream life, with a dream significant other and a dream apartment and a dream social life. I thought about training to become a yoga teacher, but felt horrified by the cost of the classes (which, by comparison to grad school, is NOTHING). I thought about starting my own marketing company, even though I didn’t actually like marketing, but became timid when I realized how much fucking WORK that is. All of it.
And the weird thing is this: even with all of those crazy daydreams and hopes for the future, I longed for – really, I ached – for stability. I wanted to feel grounded and in-control. It was a little bit of a paradox, and I couldn’t decide which foot to plant where.
And yes, drinking was involved in many of these fantastical daydreams. When I was married, my ex and I would sit out on our tiny little patio that overlooked a parking lot, drinking strong margaritas or high ABV beers, and we talked about how nice it would be when we could afford a house, with a yard. For the dog, and maybe kids. I listened to him talk about wanting to rise to the top of his company, and he listened to me bitch about my boss. We talked about starting something of our own. We talked about traveling. I made small notes here and there about my desire to do something more with my life than sit at a desk all day – like go to school for counseling, or yoga. We both dreamed extensively – perhaps me more than him, actually – but it never really panned out. A lot of those dreams were blotted out, and eventually, in the whole mess that was our last 3 or 4 months together, they disappear completely in a smoke- and alcohol-induced haze.
So it’s weird. I’ve been craving stability since the day my marriage imploded. Before that point, I finally felt like the stability was at least somewhat there, and building. I felt like I had room to dream in safety. But after our separation and divorce, I felt like I was falling through very thin air. I craved stability, yet I wanted the chance to completely blow my life up, all at the same time. I wanted to feel grounded but was afraid of what that would mean.
Which brings me here. It’s been over 2 years since we separated. I am finally on the path to taking care of myself emotionally and physically – I haven’t smoked cigarettes since December of 2015, and have been sober now for 52 days. It’s not long, but still, it’s long enough to help me see that stability and daydreams can co-exist quite nicely. The novelty I crave can be found in the everyday, now that I’m more aware of myself and my surroundings, and the beauty therein.
I hope for stability, and I hope for the ability to do the hard work to achieve my dreams. Even though being “boring” sometimes scares me, I feel like I’m finally starting to build a routine that -while not perfect – works for me. I’m getting myself where I need to be. I still have small twinges of desire to break free for the umpteenth time, to set fire to my life, move to another town and start fresh…
…but those twinges are fewer and farther between. The progress I’m making toward this new life of mine isn’t exactly visible every single day, but it’s there. My hard work and acceptance of “plodding along” is working hard for me. And that’s enough for me, for now.