The worst thing about trying to break up during a *mercury retrograde is that you will at some point find yourself listening to “The Breakup” playlist you made, watching the movie by the same title or something similar, drinking lots of wine, having what was once your surely sound advice reciprocally dispensed to you by well-intentioned friends, and looking around your home with a feeling of uneasiness at just how imbalanced and slightly out of place things seem to be. Why? Because you can NOT successfully break up during a Merc. Ret. Oh sure, you can break up… but it is highly unlikely that it will be successful.

And if attempting a breakup during a Merc. Ret. isn’t enough to quell your self-destructive need to challenge the wisdom of the GAWDS that is planetary alignments and such and if by grace you succeed… Graciously bow out. Bow out now! Do NOT evoke their wrath by continuing to tempt the fates and test your fortunes by doing something as foolish as say, I don’t know breaking up during the summer. No, do NOT attempt to do that! Again one does not successfully break up during summer.

One main reason why summer never works for break ups, your friends. Yes, YOUR! FRIENDS! Because your friends will fall into two categories by the summer. Category 1, those who ditched their boos after “Cold and Boo Season” and are now free agents and have gone on living their lives thusly (plans which don’t include you because you missed the deadline)… And category 2, which are the people who decided to stay committed and continue to participate in the wealth of activities available in a vibrant community where people have “coupled-off” and kindly tolerant you although they’d rather not have to choose between you and the proposed ex. Oh and yes, it is uncomfortable for everybody to have you both there (standing at opposite ends of the room, convening small huddles to talk to whomever will listen to your side of le breakup)…

Merc. Ret. Rules communication… And while you may have thought you ended it and that you said what you meant or meant what you said what your proposed significant other may have heard could be something altogether different like “Maybe”, “I’m NOT sure”, or “I DO want this,” and before you know it you are unbroken up and listening to THAT painstakingly curated mix seemingly in vain, while navigating half-unpacked boxes, and trying to figure out if she still has those pictures, that book, movie, shirt (insert item that is sure to start a major property dispute and keep the relationship relevant if only in terms of the fight to win!).

Breaking up is hard to do… The division of possessions (who came with what, what was purchased by whom, to whom was what gifted). The yours, mine, and ours of friends and friendships. And by far the hardest thing about breaking up has to be the emotional/psychological effects which last beyond the picking and packing, calling and texting, exit interviews, or the final showdown. There are the inside jokes, now only occupied by you. Waking up late night or early morning with a sense of longing and emptiness. Yes, you have the bed to yourself, you can stretch out diagonally (hell, you almost have to occupy the space so as not to think about it) but at what cost. The juxtaposition of the type of sadness that breakups bring against the type of happiness that summer promises seems unnatural.

Summer is for pinwheels, picnics, barbecues, vacations, relaxing by the pool, day tripping to the beach, patio swinging while sipping lemonade or iced-tea and having a long conversations with a friend, cuddling on a blanket under the stars and watching fireworks, or recapturing moments in childhood chasing butterflies and fireflies… Summer is for roller-coasters, music concerts, outdoor festivals, drinks on the patio… Summer is not for tears, longing, regret, sorrow,misery,long conversations with friends that require endless amounts of tissues… Summer is not for steely resolved steel magnolias, it’s for stealing kissing under magnolia trees…

If however, you should find yourself on the bestowing or acquiescing end of a Merc. Ret., Summer, or the Merc. Ret. Summer combination punch of a break up… Don’t breakdown…

Or at least if you must, have some good movies to laugh and cry with…

Love & Basketball

The Story of Us

The Breakup

Love Jones

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Celeste and Jesse Forever

(500) Days of Summer

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Great Music: My personal playlist “The Breakup”


And especially a great bottle of red wine… Because it’s good for the heart.

*The wonky, revelatory and sometimes high strangeness of the phenomenon known as Mercury Retrograde.

This happens three to four times per year, when the planet Mercury slows down, and appears to stop (station) and move backward (retrograde). It’s an optical illusion, since there is forward movement, like speeding by a slow-moving train — as it recedes, it appears to go backward.

While delays and misunderstandings do seem to happen, I’ve noticed a magical trend — that people and ideas return, for integration, resolution and more.