You better believe it


Photo: Chris Maggio

Photo: Chris Maggio


A lingering sense of shame can at times be useful in clearing the sinuses. Fewer innovations and more empty compliments might be just what's needed in today's topsy-turvy world. Have you hit rock bottom? If not, why not? At the heart of most interpersonal conflicts is misunderstanding, so stop mumbling so much. This month, let the punchlines of your jokes make decisions for you. Send a text to each and every person in your phone contacts list.


The best defense is a good reserve of antidote. Whatever it is you're worried they'll poison you with, letting it get to you isn't going to help. You're never going to hear certain songs of your youth again, so you might as well accept a life of singing them yourself. When all is well, maintaining anonymity is easy, but even the smallest unavoided meltdown can yank it all away. Getting people to do what you want for you might be part of your mystique. This month, don't be squeamish. Interrupt.


Before you double down further on the lifestyle you've worked so hard for, carefully investigate whether there's anything more to your story. Ritzy gym memberships are, unsurprisingly, expensive. If you're feeling down, remember that the best part about your fall from grace will be the eventual backlash to it – people will, in the end, come around to the memory of you. This month, resolve your conflicts. Stay interested.


Should things go wrong, it won't be because the juice you bought is too expensive. Unfortunately, you prefer more dramatic upheavals: months of needless romantic tension, infidelity, unemployment. It sounds bleak, that's for sure. But there's a silver lining somewhere, maybe in the stitching of a piece of furniture you've owned for years but have never closely examined. Everything breaks. This month, make a killing.


If it's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the feeling that the best years of your life are behind you, remember that in other eras you might be dead by now. Heck, even today you might be. All that's certain is that the more you dilly-dally, the harder it will be to feel good about yourself. You might become popular, or even one day truly famous. But blowback is as inevitable as splashback, and can be just as surprisingly refreshing. This month, stop trying to improve what already love.


Are you prepared for unexpected changes to your digital life? The hope is that as more decisions are made by computers, you'll have more time to pursue fun projects on the weekends, like artisanal car assembly. And once the computers can code themselves, enthusiasts will learn to do that too as a retro back-to-basics hobby. All this could be good news, but it's a long ways away. This month at least, you're still alive and kicking. Kick harder.


You might find that you're more focused than ever on your work, and that you don't mind it. As all the other elements of your life start softening, keep yourself in check. Maybe you change in seven-year-long cycles, or maybe you're just confused this week. On the bright side, swinging into action has always been one of your strengths. This month, be diligent. If you're feeling tense, dangle.


Is your easy way in the world dependable enough to ward off months of bitter disagreement with someone you care about? This month, hold your nose when delivered a taste of your own cooking – sometimes it's better not to know. Cheap tricks repackaged as wizardry can still be worth the time they take to get down pat. Certain nightclubs may never let you in, and it might not even be their loss. This month, forget about it. Order delivery. Walk it off.


Do what you can to rescue the small world around you from collapse, but be careful not to pull any muscles. Make tough sells a cornerstone of your daily practice. Remember: do something for a decade or so and you might come across the next big thing. There's always the chance that despite the effort you make to save yourself, you still forget to take off your heels as you get into the lifeboat. This month, don't do that. Put a sock in it. Find a new way to be a good friend.


Consider how unimaginative betting on failure is. Your aspirations aren't as concrete as you worry they should be, and that's fine. It's okay to worry. But eventually you're going to want to find aspirations as complicated as you are, so get to work on figuring out what those look like. This month, remember: there's nothing you can do to make yourself bulletproof. We're all one specific hurdle away from being irredeemable.


Your last try will probably be as good as your first, so why not give up? You ought instead to spend your time, maybe, sowing the seeds of future arguments with friends you haven't made yet, enemies who are still friends, and siblings who still speak to you. The initial appeal of experimental conversation tactics is always rooted in the hope that there's another, better way. There might not be. This month, whatever your complaint is, really lean into it. You're surrounded by rouges and liars, and even if you aren't, it might still feel that way.


You're larger than life, but you're also too secretive. Always looking to reduce the time needed to get to your work done is going to leave you with nothing to worry about this weekend. No one wants nothing to do – it's easier to enjoy flouting your responsibilities when you actually have them. This month, ask: what is it in you that hasn't recovered yet? If you have to be, be ruthless. Tokens of appreciation aren't worth much anyway.