Work Your Way Backwards

This week the Chinese astrology calendar begins. It is the year of the Monkey. My daughter and I were both born in Monkey years. One website tells me the number 9 is lucky this year, but another says it isn't. I learned it might not be an auspicious year for us Monkeys. Another says if we keep to a balanced lifestyle then we should be ok. 

That example may be why the debate over whether astrology is a valid pseudoscience is on-going. But my point is it reminded me how easily I veer off track when messages conflict. How do I find a way forward when predictions are unclear, unstable, or just plain wrong?

Several months ago I read an article, Lost and Found-How to Find Yourself When You've Lost Your Way, written by Jennifer Dowe. She explains how we can no longer use a linear formula to achieve life success and advises we look back to the dreams of our younger selves. That resonates with me. And then I came across this journal entry my daughter, Lena, wrote fifteen years ago.

02.08.01; 2:28 a.m
Geology lab was dangerous today. Someone broke a meter stick on the back of my ankle. It was an accident but hurt nonetheless. Now I have one more bruise to add to my left leg which is covered in them. For some reason my left leg can’t say out of trouble and these bruises are taking so long to heal. I hate that. It looks so bad and it can’t be healthy. I worry too much. Sometimes I think my thoughts are bound to drive me mad. Remember J.L. Talley and work your way backwards Lena. 

I reached out to Mr. Talley to learn more regarding the advice Lena noted. He suggests that if we think about the outcome we are seeking and take steps presently, we'll make headway with less anxiety. In other words, we can look back to move forward. 

This advice probably isn't news to you. I see it as a reminder to follow our own path, at this moment, whether zig-zagged or straight, fortunate or unlucky. And as Jennifer Dowe says, "You have a finite amount of time."

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Monica Sword

Monica Sword is an aspiring author and artist living a deeply heartfelt life. Following the early death of three family members, including her daughter, she struggled to balance home and work life. Once she discovered how to apply her conscientious and high-achieving personality to honor her passions, be mindful of her emotional reactions and focus on self-care, she developed a creative mindset that produces her most meaningful life work. On her website,, Monica inspires and encourages others to honor their heart and soul in mindful ways.