Advice on overcoming your horoscope and your parents

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Dearest Riley,

I spend 70 percent of my free time (and about a quarter of the time when I should be doing something else) obsessing about my horoscope. My forecasted day, week, month, year and compatibility with other signs — I want to know it all! How can I stop being such a loser and live life without Susan Miller’s input on my crabby nature?

With admiration,

Moonchild

 

Dear Moonchild,

Having just crawled out from under my rock and discovered who Susan Miller is, I can understand why you might schedule your life around the release of her monthly horoscopes. 

There’s something very comforting about having a maternal figure tell you what to do and when to do it. Let’s face it, as much as we may like the freedom and independence of being out from under the watchful eyes of our parents, there are certain adult decisions that can rattle even the most self-assured among us, like which way to hang a roll of toilet paper or which Beyonce photo to put up in your living room (or so I’ve heard). 

That said, you’ve got to break free at some point and stop putting so much stock in the opinions of strangers. My best advice for shaking this insecurity is to keep yourself busy, as busy as possible. Now, I’m not saying you should work yourself to exhaustion, but staying busy takes away all your time for self-pity. 

Fill your schedule as completely as possible so that you’re always doing something, even if it’s as mindless as watching a funny movie, just as long as you’re not sitting alone in your room thinking about what you don’t like about yourself. Pretty soon you’ll find you don’t have time for Susan Miller or her awkwardly designed website.

 

Dear Riley,

I have a dilemma. College has been that cliche mind opening experience for me, especially considering my hometown hasn’t even moved on from like one-piece swimsuits and pretending there’s no such thing as alcohol. 

Anyway, what I believe and think has evolved during my college years. It didn’t appear to be a problem for anyone, until I started opening up and sharing my intellectual thoughts with my family. My parents do not approve and say things like “you are off track” and “we don’t recognize you anymore.” 

So, Riley, this is where I need you. What do I do if my parents don’t like who I’m becoming? Do I just suppress all my thoughts and feelings when I go home? Do I take acting classes and learn how to be who they want me to be? Help! 

Sincerely,

Old College Tryin’

 

Dear Old College Tryin’,

I realize this must be especially difficult because your parents are probably still supporting you financially, so a dramatic rejection of or breaking away from their beliefs may result in an equally dramatic response on their part. 

Have you had, or are you willing to have, a sit-down conversation with them about why your beliefs have changed, or does that seem out of the question? Ideally, they would be understanding and let sleeping dogs lie, but if you think such a conversation would only end in tears, you may just have to resolve to put on a happy face every time you go home. Don’t “fake” it, but don’t go looking for a fight, either. 

Just try to keep the conversation off heated topics, and if it starts to drift toward one, learn to nip it in the bud by redirecting or, if your parents give it a nudge in that direction, calmly tell them you’re not going to discuss it with them, for everyone’s sake. You’re just going to have to accept them for who they are and hope they do the same in return. 

Questions for Riley can be sent to dtadvice@gmail.com.

Published on February 27, 2013 as "Ask Riley: advice on astrology, parents".