Sign Language

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Don't let your ego get too inflated by all the cheerful happy birthday wishes you got on Facebook. They're relatively meaningless. I read an article about a writer who celebrated three Facebook birthdays in a month, to see how many people would notice, and how many would simply automatically send him a birthday wish all three times. Almost no one took note, and many sent him nearly identical messages each time. So much of what comes your way these days is pretty devoid of any real sentiment or meaning—including the negative stuff. Remembering that, and not taking any of it personally, will go a long way toward making you a happier person this week.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

It's so easy for people to buy into the whole "what s/he doesn't know can't hurt" philosophy, particularly when it pertains to something they'd rather keep secret. They might even be right, assuming two things: 1.This thing is definitely and permanently in the past, with no inconvenient ghosts that might come back to haunt both of you, and 2. You never, ever find out. Discovering someone's secret, and the lies they used to keep it, can feel like a terrible betrayal, negatively compounding any horrible revelation. Before you too ascribe to this idea, be absolutely sure both conditions will be met. If they won't, it's better to come clean, right away.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

So many of our social conventions are completely arbitrary and artificial. Why, for instance, is one particular finger (our middle one) so offensive? Only because we choose to interpret it that way. Refuting these whenever convenient is very liberating, and demonstrates just how powerless they really are without your complete cooperation. Allowing this stuff to have an effect on you is a choice. If you don't want it to, it can't bother you. Realizing that—and keeping it in mind—will have a magnificently potent effect on the sum total of your joy and serenity this week.


Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Overreactions may simply be the name of the game this week. However, the worst thing you could do would be to point them out; that would just escalate this exaggerated molehill from bunny slope to double black diamond mountain—something dramatically more treacherous and difficult to navigate. Instead, you must simply try to keep a calm head and wait out the storm; it will pass . . . eventually. It may be tempting to throw caution to the winds ("If they can get pissed over nothing, damn it, so can I!"), but I'd strongly advise against it. Someone's got to be the bigger person here—and that someone is you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

While losing your job or your lover—or experiencing another setback—sucks, the worst thing you can do is become a depressed recluse because of it. The only way to move on from such crappy places is to shake them off as best you can, rally yourself, and get out there into the world, putting on the happiest face possible. Cultivate optimism like a rare, delicate, and precious orchid. That may be easier said than done, I know, but nevertheless that's the intention you need to hold in your mind as you move on from here.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Bookstores are becoming a very rare thing; not only are people reading fewer books, but when shopping for them they often use online retailers, and more and more frequently buy e-books rather than the paper kind. I think the only way for this endangered retail species to survive is to evolve—to provide an experience for their shoppers, since they almost certainly can't match the prices and variety provided by their online competition. Those that fail to adapt to changing conditions will go as extinct as the dodo. Why mention this? Because evolution isn't just something that happens in nature, and because the thing you need to evolve is more like a business than a bird. Start thinking outside the box, now—before the box disappears.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Your mantra this week is very simple: "This too shall pass." Change, of course, is the essence of life. That can be bewildering, but when things suck, it's also comforting. Knowing that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can't see (or on some level, even believe) it should help you carry on. In the meantime, if you could use help coping with your situation right now, ask for it. Sure, these are hard times for everyone, but many angelic people actually take comfort in helping others. Let them help you, please.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Sometimes, when you have a problem, you just have to suck it up, deal, and get the hell over it, because your problem is either not as big as you think it is, or not as bad as the ones you'd suddenly be subject to if you chose to address it. Do you really feel like adding to the heap of someone else's troubles by bringing up this supposed quandary of yours? What are you going to do if they decide that you're the problem, instead? No matter how that plays out, most scenarios end up with you in worse difficulty, and less happy. Figure out how to get past this on your own.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Although life so rarely resembles fairy tales, especially the "happily ever after" bits, fairy-tale villains seem to crop up with surprising regularity. Wicked parents, vicious trolls (both on- and off-line), and conniving witches don't make appearances only at Halloween but, in fact, all the time. It's usually best to keep yourself out of their story lines, when possible, but occasionally there's nothing for it but to step in, especially when you have a chance to spare an innocent some suffering. In those cases, you needn't play the fairy-tale hero (although some might view you as such, anyway). Just do what you can.Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Money complicates things, and in most of your relationships, it's best to simply keep it out of the picture entirely. However, certain connections—particularly live-in, romantic ones—require, at some point, frank discussions about who's going to pay for what, how money will be handled, and so on, in order to prevent drama and difficulty further down the line. These are not romantic things to talk about, nor particularly fun, but neglecting them will only cause problems (and get in the way of romance) later. Since this week is a good one for such a chat, go ahead and have it, if any of this mundane stuff is still sitting around unresolved.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt when they don't deserve it can really get you into hot shit, Gemini. Thus I can understand why you're tempted to call "Shenanigans!" on this one and see what happens. However, not granting the benefit of the doubt to someone who does deserve it is a truly douchebag move, one you'd have a hard time forgiving yourself for later. Although admittedly a lousy pair of options, wouldn't it still be better to get fooled or taken advantage of than to find yourself stomping all over someone who's already down?

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

One of my heroes, Dan Savage, came up with the term "monogamish" to describe couples who are mostly monogamous, but may have a loophole or two built into their relationship, probably in order to preserve its long-term viability. Making up new words, standards, and rules to suit your life, specifically, is something I heartily and cheerfully encourage, Cancer, since the ones handed down to you from whomever (generations past, society in general, etc.) aren't really doing you much good. Take a cue from Dan, and make some shit up that works for you and yours.

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