The Future, Fate, and You
As mentioned earlier, the future is not fixed. Every decision and action influences what happens from here on. Each choice you make in life is equivalent to turning down a path at a crossroads; where you end up depends on the paths you've chosen in the past. Thus, the outcome signified by a Tarot reading is based on the conditions that exist at the time of the reading. If a situation changes, so will the outcome.
When you do a reading, for yourself or someone else, it's a good idea to stress the fact that the indicators shown in the reading are conditional; they describe what's likely to happen if things continue as they are going along now. If you continue to act and think and feel the same way as you do at the time of the reading, you'll experience the outcome that's shown. But if you change anything along the way, the outcome could change as well. Therefore, it's a good idea to update a reading every few months or so.
Many spreads address the past, present, and future—sometimes the near future and the distant future. Near future may mean a few days for one person and a few weeks for another, whereas distant future could indicate a few weeks to a few months, depending on the situation and the person for whom the reading is being done. As you become practiced at doing readings, you'll come to understand your own time frames.
It's probably useless to ask a question about what will happen ten years from now—many variables can influence the outcome between the present and that date. Many outcomes do, however, occur as predicted—even over long periods of time. That's because most of us tend to behave and think in predictable ways and to follow prescribed, comfortable, long-standing routines.
Some spiritual philosophies hold that everything is happening simultaneously—past, present, and future are illusions. That's why psychics are notoriously poor at predicting exact dates. Now and future are relative terms, and although the cards are good at showing what's likely to happen, they aren't quite so good at putting a time limit on it. Therefore, if you ask if something will occur within, say, a year, you may have to allow a little leeway.