By Alexsis Johnson

In a bar that was slightly too dark with drinks that were slightly too strong (as if that’s a thing) one of my lifelong best friends recently brought up the horoscope issue. As many times as I had eagerly flipped to the back of a magazine with her in high school, I haven’t put much stock in celestial predictions in my adult life--grown-ups just don’t have time for that. Maybe it was the fact that I had been worn down by a week of ten-hour work days, but the advice she gave me about horoscopes started to make sense. She laid it out for me in five simple rules:

9 times out of 10 you’ll see what you want to see: If you’re looking at a horoscope because you are convinced your significant other is going to break up with you, you’ll undoubtedly find bad news. A single horoscope, especially the monthly predictions, cover all kinds of ups and downs. Recognize that before you start calculating alimony costs.

Interpret loosely: As my friend mentioned in rule number one, horoscopes are purposefully general. They are designed to make predictions for all of the vastly different people that have had the luck of being born in the same month. Don’t put a ton of stock in the exact dates they give you. Look for trends and themes and nothing more.

Make a game plan for how the horoscope will help you: So your horoscope said you’re going to have a creative month? Tap into that even if it just means you’re doodling on your napkin with your daily coffee. Use the horoscope as a cue to stay in tune with how you are actually feeling and make the most of it. Plan on trying new things, or being more aware of your friendships, or more in touch with yourself around the times that your horoscope suggests. Even if it ends up being wrong, you spent some time on you and that’s what really matters.
Ignore all “Love” Horoscopes: These things are dangerous. Unless the horoscope says, “be confident, be safe, have fun, be you” don’t take sex advice that’s based on your “sign”. If the zodiac isn’t good enough for a pick-up line, it’s not good enough to make you question your sex life.

And finally the most important rule:

When you get a really bad one, throw it out: My friend’s best advice of the night was, “ if you find something really upsetting in your horoscope, ignore it.” Life is too short to be worrying about what happens when you “butt heads with a snarky Virgo on the 27th.” Take all of the good you can find in a horoscope and run. Don’t spend your youth counting down to doomsday.

Taking the sage advice of my best friend into consideration, I checked my horoscope first thing this morning. It was spot on. A year ago, I would have checked five websites and stressed over whether or not the predictions would come true. But today I’ll trust in being a lucky Libra, look forward to the change my horoscope says is coming, and let life work itself out.

Alexsis Johnson is a writer living in the Midwest. She'll try anything once--skydiving, squid, false eyelashes, pet hamsters, but not kale chips. Follow her @alexsis_marie on Twitter.


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