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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Grow

The Year of the Gypsy

When I was a young actress living in New York City, my first apartment was an unrenovated one-bedroom apartment in a fourth-floor walk-up in the area called Chelsea. Although Chelsea has since been gentrified, when I lived there it was just a run-of-the-mill neighborhood south of Midtown on the West Side of Manhattan.

On the adjacent corner to my brownstone building was the local supermarket and just beside that was our neighborhood gypsy fortune-teller and palm reader.

She often sat outside her shop looking like she had just stepped out of a Broadway costume shop. Her hair was perfectly wrapped in a long red scarf and she wore heavy beads around her neck which appeared to compete for attention with the over-sized silver earrings which dangled from either side of her face. With her trusty Tarot cards in hand, she would call out to passerby to try to lure them inside.

For about 2 years, I effortlessly breezed past her unwilling to part with the $20 required to find out what she thought my future life would be.

The Fateful Reading

One day, an older friend of mine, who lived in a three-bedroom apartment in a luxury high-rise on the Upper East Side with magnificent views (both east and west!) came to visit me.

Clearly, he had come to the other side of the tracks but not to gloat, simply to enjoy the colorful characters that you find in a much lower rent neighborhood. We took a walk and chatted.

When we passed the gypsy sitting outside her shop, my friend suggested we test our fates and get a reading. He offered to pay the $20 each, so I agreed since I had nothing to lose, I thought.

Although dressed for the part, the questionably authentic gypsy took my palm in her hand, audibly gasped, and then said in a whisper, “Oh! …. You will be extremely rich." "Great!" I thought … until she paused … and added …"But not this year."

Then she dramatically announced, “YOU … will be very famous, " but unfortunately she again added … "But not this year.”

Then she topped it off by saying, “You will be very, very successful in your career,” and I almost joined her when she continued … "but not THIS year”.

I left her shop wondering, “When would be the year of the gypsy for me?” The following year I got a New Year’s card from my Upper East Side friend with the message, “Wishing you the year of the Gypsy”.

The next year, I got the same message from him. But the question remained how to achieve this elusive “year of the gypsy”.

The Answer was Found in a Magic Coin

In a conversation with my father, I found the answer to my quest. For many years, my father was in the insurance business. Each spring, he and my mother went off to a famous spot like Las Vegas or New Orleans for the company’s annual convention.

These conventions featured famous motivational speakers. One such convention gave them the chance to hear the late great Zig Ziglar.

Mr. Ziglar used to give his audiences a coin-like object with the letters “TUIT” written in the center. He officially dubbed each one “a round tuit”.

These make-shift coins were designed for people….perhaps for people like you and me… who say things like, “I intend to write that novel when I get around to it” or “I intend to take that vacation when I get around to it,“ and saddest of all, “I intend to spend more time with my children when I get around to it.”

To solve these types of problems, Ziglar would simply hand each person “a round tuit” thus freeing them to make progress on their goals.

Breaking the “Waiting for Perfect Conditions" Habit

If you see your dreams as a distant reality, they will remain there forever. You must reject the gypsy fortune teller’s forecast that your success and your dreams lie in the future. If you are waiting for perfect conditions….until you know enough… or until you are “good enough”, you will always be waiting.

Today is the day to do something, write something, sing something, take a chance, but DO SOMETHING. Because if you don’t, like the gypsy said, “You will become very successful, but not this year.” Today is the day to get around to it.

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