I don't usually pay much attention to my horoscopes. I used to. As a teenager, each January I'd buy those books that would outline what my year had in store, in love, health, money. I would devour information about what star signs I, as a Sagittarius, was compatible with, wondering whether my boyfriend that year would be a Leo or a Libra. Wondering whether I'd even have a boyfriend … what did that chapter on love say?
Now, who has time to read their horoscopes, let alone ponder what they might mean? But this week I did. Well not on the day they were published but some days later when I was flicking through a weekend magazine on the toilet. (You will find it hard to find moments of solitude this week, take them when you can, my stars could have read.) And I pondered them too.
''Take a look in the mirror. Do you like every part of what you see?'' my stars asked.
''Then look longer. Keep staring until all your doubts begin to disappear and you start to grow enamoured by the image, never mind how long it takes. The planets now speak of an exceptional opportunity. Much is on offer to you. But for any of it to become real you must find the confidence to claim your prize. You now have every reason in the world to be proud of every aspect of yourself. Allow that confidence to grow.''
Half of the fun of reading your horoscopes is in the interpretation. My interpretation of this prediction actually resonated quite deeply.
How often do we look at ourselves in the mirror? Both literally and figuratively. I've been doing a little of both lately. Do I like what I see? Yes, I do. I've shed a few kilograms of late. Eat less, exercise more. This weight loss thing is pretty simple when you strip it back to that and put your mind to it. My body is stronger than it's been for ages and I like it.
Sure, I know I'll never get rid of my tummy completely. But I love it because it reminds me every time I put a hand on it, or see it, that two beautiful children were created in there. It will be, as they will be, part of me forever. But, for the first time, in a long time, I'm fitting into clothes I'd forgotten I had and contemplating a whole new wardrobe.
But being enamoured by my image, as my stars suggest, is not about how I look when I look in the mirror, it's about how I feel about the person staring back at me. And I like every part, well okay most parts, of that image too.
I see a woman whose next significant birthday will be 50 - okay it's a few years down the track - and I'm excited by what lays ahead. I'm scared about what might lay ahead too. Who knows what curve balls life can throw you when you least expect it? But I'm at a point where I realise that you can't waste too much time thinking about the next pitch. You have to concentrate on the one that's hurtling down at you now. Where I realise you've got to embrace the ''exceptional opportunity'', as my stars read, that gets offered up every day.
It's hard to define something like exceptional opportunity. Many years ago, I would have thought exceptional opportunity meant someone's going to offer me a fabulous job, or money, or something else that would change my life. Now I realise you have to work hard to create those opportunities yourself to some extent, that most things are within your control, that you shouldn't wait for a handout from anyone.
Yet increasingly exceptional opportunities are found in the smallest of things. My daughter and I are ploughing through (pun intended) the Little House on the Prairie series, reading a chapter every other night. Last night's chapter was particularly short, there was only so long Mary and Laura could play in Plum Creek, so we read another chapter and got to snuggle some more. Exceptional.
After a terribly busy weekend I made it a priority to cook a roast chook on Sunday night for there is nothing more comforting than the smell of a chicken in the oven, and comfort is what's needed on a Sunday night. Exceptional.
My son had anagrams to do for homework over the weekend and letters scare him at the best of times so I had this idea to pull out the Scrabble tiles so we could mix them around on the table manually - what's it called Kinesthetic learning? - and he amazed himself unscrambling them into real words. Watching him at the moment of getting it right. Exceptional.
Much is on offer, for most of us. We just have to realise what it is we're after and what's important to us. And, as my stars suggest, have the confidence to claim the prize. To be able to have the confidence to say these are the things that matter to me, whether others think they matter or not, and to stick by that is very empowering. You have the right to be very proud of every aspect of your life if you're living an honest and real life. I have to allow that confidence to grow.
So when I look in the mirror, I speak kindly to my reflection. Telling her she's going okay, that she is strong and loved, and loving. Embrace the opportunities before you, I tell her. Each day is a chance to learn, and grow and love.
I could have called the 1800 number listed with my stars - want to know more? it teased. You know what, no, I don't. For the moment knowing that I can look in the mirror and like what's looking back is enough.