The Tower of Twentysomething Terror

When I started learning how to read tarot cards, I was equally thrilled and terrified. I felt the need to connect with the Universe on a spiritual level, and using the tarot cards helped me to achieve that. I found beautiful cards, with gorgeous illustrations of flowers, angels, and clear blue skies – cards like Strength, The Lovers, and the Ten of Cups.

But then there were other cards that I dreaded. The Devil, Death, and the Tower. The Devil and Death are self-explanatory. For some, the ideas of the Devil and of Death are terrifying enough – but the cards themselves are relatively factual. There is no emotion in the depiction of the cards – they are just symbols.

But The Tower card is different. It depicts two people, who are clearly in agonizing pain, jumping out of a burning tower. What’s worse is that there are mountains at the bottom of the card, so you know that these two people are ultimately leaping to their death.


Two weeks ago, I had an awful dream – a nightmare – one of the worst I can ever remember. I was in a crowded room with everything and everyone I loved, and we were all burning in flames. I tried to exit the room, but it was just eternal flames, licking the walls around me, no matter where I went. I woke up panicked, and even just typing it out now, my heart is starting to race. I walked around for a few days after the nightmare in a constant state of fear and anxiety. But then, a few nights later, I woke up again in a similarly startled way. I couldn’t remember my dream, but all I could envision was The Tower card. I woke up with the image burned into my head.

Despite popular belief, The Tower card doesn’t represent an untimely death. The Tower card, in my interpretation, always means sudden and drastic change. It’s feeling stuck in a life that you feel is so unbearable that you are almost about to jump from your metaphorical tower, even if there are mountainous rocks at the bottom of your fall. It’s a life where you will risk anything to just experience something different, where you crave something new, or when so much life is about to happen for you.

Is it just me, or does this card sound like the entire twentysomething experience?

Although for me, these past two weeks have felt especially Tower-like, with a lot of drastic and sudden changes happening or about to happen in my life.

  1. Finding a new apartment
  2. Living in a new borough
  3. Starting a new chapter with my boyfriend
  4. Finding a new appreciation for my job

It seems like everything in my life is new. And while I usually appreciate the change of scenery, it was an awful lot to take on at once.

These are some of the ways I learned to manage this past week or two, if you are ever feeling a Tower type of moment.

  • Take Deep Breaths*
    • *A lot of deep breaths. I found myself throughout these past two weeks just having to stop for a minute, taking in a deep breath, and continuing on about my day. Maybe it’s meditation, journaling…whatever calms you.
  • Manage Your Time
    • I know I am a slow packer, but I also know that I like to work under pressure. So, I took a half day on Friday and spend all afternoon packing. It was great, and I still had time at night to watch a few Parks & Rec episodes.
  • Find People Who Ground You
    • When going through a stressful time, it’s always helpful to talk with friends or family who bring you back to your center – people who remind you of who you are. I have one friend in particular who likes to say, “Michael, stop. Take a deep breath and relax!” And it isn’t until she says that that I know I was probably about to jump off the edge, so I appreciate her always reining me back in.
  • Learn To Say No
    • Over the last two weeks, there were things I wanted to do, events I wanted to attend, friends I wanted to see – but at the end of the day, I knew I had other priorities that had to come first.
  • Focus On Your Sphere Of Influence
    • All of my new life areas are so big picture, and they are all out of my sphere of influence. I really had to focus on what I could control since so many things in my life I couldn’t control at that time (I guess I really am Type A…). Focus on what’s right in front of you – one day, or one minute – at a time.

And now that the worst of the Tower moments are over -the anxiety and the waiting – I can now say that I feel at peace. I feel that everything happens for a reason. And now, sitting here, in my new apartment, I almost feel like a reincarnated version of myself. And I know that the jump was worth it.


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