Mercury Is in Retrograde but That's Not Why Life Sucks Right Now

Ooh, you guys, Mercury is in retrograde. You know what that means: Time to blame all your communication failures on a planet. Yes, it's the excuse we all take advantage of at least three times a year. Thanks, Mercury!


If it feels like Mercury is in retrograde all the freakin' time that's because it is, almost. The phenomenon occurs three times a year, and each period lasts about three weeks. 

Three weeks, people! Three weeks of missed trains, bad traffic, unintentional reply-alls, ex-boyfriends resurfacing, unfinished business coming back to haunt you -- or, as most of us with a grip on reality like to call it, life as usual.

The thing about "Mercury in retrograde" is that it's a matter of perception. The planet isn't actually moving backward, of course. That notion comes from the days when we used to think the Earth was the center of the universe. It only appears to be moving backward from where we stand.

More from The Stir: Mercury in Retrograde Will Turn Your Life Upside Down

Meanwhile, the sense that we're the center of the universe remains. Like the way we see Mercury, life's little nuisances can be a matter of perception. What could be bad luck or carelessness one day could be blamed on the stars another day.

Well, maybe we need to blame Mercury three times a year for our daily frustrations. It gives us a break from feeling personally responsible for mistakes, and it places a facade of order and purpose over the capricious chaos of life.

That chaos is scary. I get that. Setbacks are frustrating. No one likes moving backward. And it's terrifying to consider how little control we really have in our world. Can you blame us for coming up with a funny little story about a wobbly planet in the sky making things especially difficult for a three-week period?

I can't do it anymore, though. I am not playing this Mercury in retrograde game with you all. I refuse. Who's with me? Rationalists unite!

I'm still going to book that travel, sign that contract, and send that email. I'll be ready for turbulence, but not because the planets are messing with my life -- because life is messy. It's always messy. And that's not the fault of some big rock in the sky.


Image via Dymytrov Vitalii/shutterstock

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