For 2019, no more wishful thinking

My strategy will be more ‘one day at a time’

Image: Kim Cowie/VICE

Hi. My name is Loren, and I have a horoscope problem. It began when I thought I had run out of options. I have been at my first and dead-end journalism job for almost three years. I’ve never received a pay rise and there are no opportunities to advance within the company.

I have tried, and failed, to secure another job for almost the amount of time I have worked in this one. I’ve tried freelancing, to no avail. I even soul-suckingly applied for dreary marketing roles. Still nothing. I tried hobbies (Baking! Sewing! Fiction writing!) Nothing, it seems, could fill the void.

With no bites on my ever-wearying bait, as one does, I turned to the occult. 
Weekly horoscopes from Refinery 29 and The Cut became my existential band aids. Every Monday and Tuesday morning, I would faithfully check these sources for reassurance that my work week ahead wouldn’t be as depressingly tedious as the one preceding it.

Horoscopes are like low-stakes gambling: they draw you in with promises that everything is going to turn out great. ‘Give yourself a break!’, one told me. ‘You deserve all the self-care you can get!’, another chimed in. I was hooked. Turns out I wasn’t the only one: Google ‘horoscope’+‘trend’ and you will notice that every other Millennial woman is betting on these wispy sooth-sayings for their future happiness.

But, as weeks faded into months and I remained tortured by my circumstances, I became more circumspect. It turns out proclamations that ‘This is your week for your career to step up — get it, girl’ were but sweet nothings. No number of feminist-inflected aphorisms could convince me that my pitch would be accepted, my Tweet would be re-Tweeted, or a job that I could realistically get would pop into my inbox.

Humans inherently and habitually live in the past or the future — not the present. By pinning my hopes to future predictions, I wasn’t being naive: I was simply on homo sapien autopilot. Here’s the thing about autopilot though — you can switch it off. So I flicked the off switch. Well, kind of. While I still religiously read some 26-year-old’s ‘vision’ of my week ahead, I do so with a wink and a knowing smile. Sure, it’s nice to hear that I’ll be basking in the glow of my social attractiveness, or that yes, I will get that (non-existent) promotion if I ask for it, but I’m aware that I’m fully responsible for my own sense of fulfilment.

The natural progression of this weaning process relates to New Year’s career resolutions. Don’t have ‘em. Don’t want ‘em. Like astrology but to a lesser extent, they assume the universe has more control over your life than you do, and that long-term goals, once set, can be achieved. So, instead of trying to manifest my destiny by journaling, or wishing on a star, on 31st December 2018, at the stroke of midnight and thereafter, I’ll be living in the moment. I might even enjoy it.