When I first learned English in elementary school, there were two vocabularies that confused me; “Expectation” and “Prediction.” It seemed similar in meaning and redundant in usage in that both are related to the uncertainty of the future.
I looked them up on several dictionaries only to find out linguistic and further confusing difference between the two. According to their definitions, “Expectation” is defined as a strong belief that something will happen or be the case, whereas “Prediction” means saying or estimating that a specified thing will happen in the future or will be a consequence of something.
Fortunately, a member of my family taught me the way to differentiate the two words through her countless years of practice of turning unstable and uncertain “expectation” into firm and solid belief and faith. The practice my grandmother relied upon was a unique method of predicting the future: visiting fortune-tellers.
When I was 13, I followed my grandmother on her way to her favorite “saju” reader for the first time. Saju, meaning four pillars in Korean, studies a person’s life and predicts fortunes based on the four pillars: month, day, year and time of birth. Grandmother’s favorite season of visiting fortune teller is between December and February. Concerned about the upcoming year, she asks for guidance in her daughter’s and sons’ career path, her husband’s health, and the whole family’s happiness.
What I find from the look in her eyes after hearing good messages from the fortune-teller is without exception, “relief” and “reassurance,” seeming that she already knew or expected such results would come out from her family’s four pillars.
Whether it be a sort of saju, tarot cards, palm reading or psychics, my grandmother becomes so relaxed and composed after seeking the fortune-tellers’ opinions on her worries and concerns.
“Grandma, how do you believe what the fortune-teller says. After all, you have to wait and see until the end of this year to find out whether the prediction is true or not,” I asked her. She, in her peaceful smile, revealed her well-kept way of mind keeping after hearing sugary predictions of the future.
“There is no reason in visiting fortune-tellers if you do not have any expectation in life that you are so yearning to realize,” she said. “But holding expectation brings you both forward guidance for the future and uncertainty and fear that you may not reach the goal. Hearing predictions, whether it be credible or not, is my way of firmly grasping on to my expectation without having it broken into pieces out of sheer anxiety or fear.”
To my grandmother, expectation is a source of looking forward to the next moments of life, whereas prediction from fortune-teller keeps the expectation linger in her mind and heart.
After resolving the confusion between the meanings of “expectation” and “prediction”, I pondered on my own method of “prediction” that could secure my “expectation.” I once attempted the practice of my grandmother, but I could not get rid of the lingering doubt on the mysterious predictions from palm readings and the results from unveiling tarot cards laid in front of me.
Since then, for me, the work of prediction is nothing more than endlessly imagining my expectation in mind, right before getting into sleep and while taking rest with my eyes closed to relieve the stress. It actually did work in the beginning of the two-and-a-half year journey of Ewha Voice back in my sophomore year. I envisioned myself getting mature as a reporter day by day, and by firmly holding on to the self-trust, I finally reached the end of the journey by safely settling down to the realization of my groundless expectation and stubborn prediction of graduating from Ewha Voice.