I grew up in a household that liked to speak astrology. Not cheesy newspaper horoscopes, but personality profiles of various sun sign and moon sign combinations and such. My parents knew a lot about it, presumably from their hippy-dippy years in the late 60s. They didn’t take it to an extreme, but they sure had fun using our astrological charts to try to figure us kids out.
It’s not that crazy a notion, really. I’d do just about anything to figure my kids out.
My birthday is February 26, which makes my sun sign Pisces. Apparently, I’m a pretty good one. I can’t tell you how many times I heard growing up, “That’s so very Pisces of you.”
They say Pisces are dreamers, with one foot in this realm and one in the next. My moon sign is Virgo, which is a very down-to-earth, practical sign. One could see those two as being in total conflict or as perfect complements. The combo could create a very balanced person (which I am) or a person who constantly feels pulled in opposite directions (which I do – and which is sort of the definition of balance, when you think about it).
All astrology books use slightly different wording to describe different signs, but Pisces is usually described as having some of the qualities of the other eleven signs, being in tune with spirituality, particularly intuitive, sensitive, compassionate, and often lost in their own thoughts.
All of these things could apply to me, I suppose. But I really don’t believe in or put stock in any of it.
HOWEVER . . .
I was flipping through a book on a whim in a bookstore some 20 years ago, and I saw a bullet list of traits describing Pisceans. As I recall, most of them were nice things like, “compassionate listener” and “focused on their inner journey.”
But one phrase jumped out, implanted itself into the back of my brain, and has been mocking me ever since:
“UNABLE TO COPE WITH THE PRACTICAL RUNNING OF THEIR LIVES”
That exact wording. Do you know what it does to an 18-year-old to tell them that one of their cosmically ingrained qualities is that they are unable to cope with the practical running of their lives? Especially someone with a Virgo moon, who feels a deep need to excel in practicality?
I’m not sure why this description got to me. But every time I forget to mail something, or leave leftovers in the fridge for too long, or let the laundry pile up, or run out of printer ink, or take note of the fact that I have 25,207 unread e-mails in my inbox (that’s not an exaggeration – I just checked), or toss yet another homeschool schedule out the window, that phrase echoes through my brain. See? That book was right, Annie. You are clearly UNABLE TO COPE WITH THE PRACTICAL RUNNING OF YOUR LIFE.
I take it back. I do know why that phrase got to me. It’s because it feels true.
I don’t think it actually IS true. I am, for all intents and purposes, able to practically run my life.
But the COPING part of it feels true. COPING with the practical running of my life feels like an enormous feat to me. Monumental, really.
You see, despite the fact that I recognize how futile it is, I basically can’t stand the practical aspects of life. I hate having to think about what to eat every day. I don’t like that I need 8-9 hours of sleep a night to be able to function. I like to make schedules, but I am abysmal at actually following them. I’ve read every time management article on the interwebs, but still can’t seem to utilize my time as efficiently as I’d like.
Frankly, when there are books to write and photos to take and pictures to paint and trees to climb, those kinds of necessary, practical details seem like colossal wastes of time.
So yes. The practical running of my life is hard for me to cope with. I can do hard things. It’s the day-to-day, mundane, this-shouldn’t-be-this-taxing stuff that wears me down.
I could just blame the stars, toss responsibility and practicality out the window, and call it good. But Pisces are also idealists. I want to be ideal, which in my mind includes being able to cope with the basics of daily life. Is that really too much to hope for?
It’s all internal, I know. The vast majority of people would never look at me, my kids, my home, or my life and say I had any problems with the practical running of it all. I pay my bills on time (99% of the time). I get my work done (often in spurts throughout the day). Our kids are somehow, miraculously, well-fed and educated.
Yet that bloody phrase still haunts me. Especially in moments of disorganization or during the natural cycles of chaos that I’ve come to expect with children.
I know intuitively that this is all just idealism turning into perfectionism, and that I need to be more compassionate with myself.
I know I’m just sensitive to my environment, and right now the house is a mess, and so that’s why I feel that phrase resounding through the cosmos.
That’s so very Pisces of you, Annie.
You’re still UNABLE TO COPE WITH THE PRACTICAL RUNNING OF YOUR LIFE, Annie.
Shut up, astrology! You’re not the boss of me.
Plus, you suck.
Who’s so very Pisces now, huh?
* Just a little disclaimer here, because you have to include such things when you belong to a religion that many people are unfamiliar with: The Baha’i Faith doesn’t support or endorse the use of astrology or horoscopes, and we are encouraged not to waste our time on such things. Perhaps this internal struggle of mine to overcome one phrase written in one astrology book I read 20 years ago is one reason why. 🙂
Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.