The day I moved to New York, my horoscope told me to trust my intuition. "You'll be forced to reflect on your personal growth and the level of responsibility you're willing to take on," it read. "After a day of thinking about heavy issues, you'll feel ready for a fresh start."
3rd August 2015 was the biggest fresh start I had ever had. I had graduated university a few months prior and immediately moved to Boston for an internship in publishing. While I enjoyed the job and the city was pleasant, after two months, I knew I wasn't heading down the path I really wanted. What I really wanted was to be a writer, so I moved to New York City, getting off the train like that scene in 30 Rock.
The one freelance writing gig I landed in university afforded me with enough income to allow me to move into an apartment, where I spent the first month with a mattress, my laptop, and a pressing urgency to Figure It Out.
I hadn't ended university on the academic high I had hoped. I used to be a stellar student, but was graduating as one who was just "fine." No fancy Latin words in front of my diploma, no honours to boast of at my first job interview. As I sat in the seats of the ceremony, I stared at my shoes and promised myself that, in my post-grad life, I'd make myself proud. I'd say "yes" to everything. I'd work hard at the expense of everything else in my life so that one day, when I was on Jimmy Fallon as a successful writer (you know, all those writers that Jimmy Fallon interviews), I could put my hand on his and say, "You know, Jimmy, my one piece of advice for young women in the industry is to push yourself as far as you can and, eventually, it will pay off."
My freelance gig entailed writing a few short pop culture news posts a day. Other than that, I had nothing else to do. I'd wake up in the mornings and apply for internships and jobs, but to give my days a sense of purpose, I turned to my horoscopes. If I had nothing on my plate for the day, at least my horoscope could give me some direction — and prepare me for the changes that were ahead.
On 26th August my horoscope told me to brace for surprises and breakthroughs. I was invited to interview as a sales associate at a yarn store in the city, and the next day I was asked to come interview for an internship at a website. "Starting today, expect to meet and mingle with people who could help you," my horoscope read. I was ready.
I got both jobs, and by September, I was working full days every single day of the week except Thursday ("Can you believe it, Jimmy? I was nuts!"). From the start, it was way too much, but after reading my horoscope for the month of September, I knew I was doing the right thing.
"The only issues I strongly urge you to be mindful about during this Mercury retrograde are ones concerning your career," it read. "Expect some back and forth and renegotiations. " Essentially, I had to go with the flow. So I did. And when, on 14th October my horoscope read, "It's an exciting time, Capricorn: New experiences and opportunities are coming your way," I knew I'd need to buckle up.
I got an email from one of my editors offering me a morning shift that entailed waking up at 6am and writing until 10am. There was no way it could work. It would mean waking up at six, doing the shift, going immediately to work, coming back at eight, and then doing any evening news posts that had been assigned to me during the day.
"You've been a hard worker your whole life, Cap," my horoscope assured me. "It's paying off big time."
So I said yes.
I did not see my friends; I did not go out on weekends. Any time not spent in an office or the store was spent at home writing. I was miserable.
Of course, when Jimmy Fallon asks me about it, I'll laugh and say I was living the New York Dream. "If you want to succeed in this industry, you have to hustle," I'll tell him, before playing a game of "Would You Rather?" with the host and fellow guest, grown-up Blue Ivy.
It wasn't just my own make-believe talk show voice infiltrating my brain; my horoscope was also instructing me to stay the course. I had developed a (some would say unhealthy) reliance on it. I didn't do anything if it didn't fit with the vibes of the day. For instance, after a meeting with someone in the industry to get advice, I resolved to walk to my retail job and quit. I checked my horoscope on the way.
"Today isn't a day to take action," it read. "But it could be awesome for meeting with mentors." It was so eerily accurate that I had to listen. I stayed at the job. I continued my internship. I woke up early every morning and wrote.
On 12th November 2015, just like every other day, I read my horoscope:
"You've learned so much over the last few weeks, Capricorn! Now, with the planet of action (Mars) entering the sign of partnership (Libra), you're ready to do something with all the info you've gained — but with whom?"
Turns out, it was with the website that had allowed me to move to New York in the first place. That day, they offered me a full-time position. I started in January.
Slowly but surely, on the advice of the stars, I dismantled the life I had built. I gave notice at my retail job. I set an end date for my internship. I spent two blissful weeks at home over the holidays doing absolutely nothing but catching up with friends I had been neglecting and, for the first time in months, I relished the fact that I had nothing to do and nowhere to go.
It's possible that it all would have worked out regardless of my horoscope, or that I still would have made an impression had I said "yes" to one less commitment. But there's not much about my life now that isn't a direct result of the decisions I had to make during those first few months, and that I couldn't have made without my horoscope by my side. If Jimmy Fallon asks, it was worth it.