I have three fortunes from fortune cookies taped above my bed at home. They are my dreamcatcher; a part of me truly believes that by keeping them just above my sleeping body, they will ward off treacherous nightmares and instead fill my brain with serendipity.
The first one says, “The really great man is the man who makes everyone feel great.” I found this one my freshman year. I keep it above my head for two reasons: 1) because I felt that it was very true of my personality; I really feel best when I can help others around me feel happy too, and 2) to remind myself on those off days to treat others with the same unconditional love and respect that I crave.
The second one says, “You are about to embark on a most delightful journey!” I got this fortune the night before I left to study abroad in London during the spring semester of my sophomore year. Crazy right? I’ve never had a fortune necessarily come true (most can’t because they are vague and easily applicable; see above), but this one definitely did. Seeing this tiny piece of paper every morning throws my heart into an impenetrable whirlwind of happiness and nostalgia while simultaneously reminding me of all the delightful journeys yet to come that neither I nor that tiny piece of paper could possibly predict.
The third one says, “Nevermind tomorrow, TODAY is the day!” I got this one during my junior year, right after I moved off campus and into a house with my best friends. I keep this one to remind myself that the present day is one of the best times to be alive—and how lucky I am to see it each morning when I wake up (both the new day and the fortune!). I find this especially helpful when I am feeling so worried or anxious that I let myself forget how to start, instead succumbing to irrationality and putting off all that troubles me and even things that I love. I might not get a tomorrow, so I must remind myself to make the most of today.
A few weeks ago, I found another fortune, this time on the floor of my living room. It reads, “Fear can keep us up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.” With this year having been the most emotionally trying of my college career, it felt a bit too real to ignore. There were nights when I lay wide awake despite the dark and following days I wanted to sleep away just to escape fear—a particular kind of fear that comes with leaving behind everything you know only to return what you have left behind (read: I’m moving back in with my parents). But, my fortune said it all: the one thing that kept me going was faith. Not a religious faith, not even necessarily a spiritual one—just a faith in myself and in the people (my roommates/best friends/fellow coven witches, boyfriend, family, cat, professors, writing team!) that love and support me.
All that I learned this year, and every other year of my college career, I learned with the help of a fortune cookie.