Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Embrace the Rat in You January 1, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 2:42 pm

Happy New Year, Happy 2020, and Happy Year of the Rat.


If you read my post yesterday, you learned that 2020 is the official Year of the Rat in the Chinese New Year. According to Chinese legend, every year brings with it an animal and this year’s is the rat. If you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, or 2020, it’s your year! I’m one of those so I’m officially a rat (insert jokes here.) I’m not thrilled about this and would have preferred the dog, but it is what it is as you have no choice so I’m rolling with the punch lines and sharing all.


So what exactly does all this mean?


As I wrote yesterday, traditionally your zodiac year is one of bad luck but as luck would have it, it is believed 2020 will be reasonably good for all us rats. On that note, let’s dive…um dig…right in.


The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals and in Chinese culture they are seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. And, because of their high reproduction rate, married couples often pray to them for children. Go figure, right?


So who are the Rats among us and what traits do we share?


First off, rats are considered clever, quick thinkers, resourceful, and are said to have good judgement. They are often optimistic and energetic and are sensitive to other’s emotions and feelings. Rats tend to be happiest when living a quiet and peaceful life but thanks to their strong intuition they easily adapt to new environments. Rats also have rich imaginations, sharp observation, and a strong curiosity. So far, so good in my case.


On the downside, rats can tend to be hot-tempered (my husband calls it my “Latin temper”), envious of others, lack of courage, and can be overly cautious. They are also very picky, have narrow minds, and are stubborn with their opinions. Ouch. People of the Rat zodiac sign are usually night owls and like to sleep late, which make sense since rodents in general, are nocturnal. Check. Check. Check.


Photo courtesy Maggie Barton

Men and women rats differ. Women born in a Rat year are traditionally traditional. They love keeping things organized and place a high value on family and loyalty. They are women with a strong sense of responsibility and are someone you can rely on. Yep, that’s all me.


Men who are rats (again, insert joke here) are creative and have great ideas but sometimes lack courage to get things done and put those ideas in play. Sounds like they need a rat woman, right? Actually, no.


Chinese zodiac animals that rats are most compatible with are the ox, dragon, rabbit, and monkey. My husband in a pig (again, joke), so what does that mean? Well good thing we didn’t go by this train of thought and I’ll wager my 34 years of marriage in argument to this concept.


Because of their independence and imagination rats are best suitable for creative jobs. They bring to the table good insight and sharp perspective and tend to be serious about their work. In a job, rats are great team members, are meticulous, and pay close attention to detail. Hello rats, my name is Carla and that’s me.


So, the best careers for rats are authors, editors, artists, administrators/managers/directors, entrepreneurs, broadcasters, writers, musicians, politicians, lawyers, researchers, engineers, architects, and get this…race car drivers or stand-up comedians! Let’s see, author/editor/broadcaster/writer I’ve all done, I love to “manage” and research, politics fascinate me, and I can argue till the cows or lawyers come home. But, I don’t have the courage to be an entrepreneur, can’t play one instrument, don’t have the math skills to be an engineer or architect, and both race car driving or standing up in front of a crowd scare me to death. I do think I’m funny though!


Financially, we rats are savers and love hoarding things, as my husband will attest to. It’s what rats do, right??? When it comes to money this year, rats should save and invest as it’s predicted their finances will boom all year. Still, if you are a rat, avoid spending money on luxury items and needless trips and instead focus on small, more meaningful items and experiences.


Health-wise, rats tend to have frail health and tire quickly. Thankfully, they rarely get serious illnesses but ailments like the common cold are common. For a healthy life, rats should always eat a good breakfast, lots of proteins, and veggies; add vitamins to their diets; do moderate exercise on a regular basis; and try to remain cheerful and positive. Sounds like good advice to everyone if you ask me.


In 2020, a rat’s health and relationships may struggle so it’s advised you see a doctor at the first sign of illness and work toward creating loving and healthy relationships. Married couples should not let petty arguments and disagreements fester and instead deal with them head on. If you’re a single rat, romance may be hard to come by in 2020 so you should enjoy your single-dom and embrace your independence.


Apparently much of this not only pertains to me and all you fellow rats, but also to Princes Charles and Harry, JFK, Shakespeare, Mozart, George Washington, Mandy Moore of “This Is Us” fame, and Truman Capote…all of which I proudly claim as fellow rats. Sadly, Eminem, Katy Perry, Ben Affleck, and Katy Perry are also rats…which I literally and figuratively agree with!


But I digress.


With each zodiac animal comes specific elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water), and energies (yin or yang). My element is metal and my energy is yang. Metal rats tend to be reliable and prefer a stable life but it’s the Yin and the Yang theory that fascinates me most.


Photo courtesy Alan Thornton

It’s common to hear someone say “he’s the yin to my yang,” but it’s also likely to have no idea what that means. The Yin-Yang principle is the best known of all Chinese philosophies. It basically says that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites. Yin seeks balance between to alternatives and is generally positive, while Yang can tend to be negative and dark if not checked and balanced. One is not better than the other though, as there is both good and bad in both and each has their flaws and virtues.


If you are a rat, your lucky colors are blue, gold, and green while your lucky numbers are 2 and 3. I love that our lucky flowers are lilies and African violets, as Easter lilies are my favorite flowers. You might want to steer clear of yellow and brown and the numbers 5 and 9, as they are considered unlucky for rats.


So what have I learned from all this? First off, I’m amazed that many of the traits of rats fit me to a T and that many of the suggested careers include my chosen ones.


What about you? Do any of them match you and are yin to your yang?


In any case, this exercise is really all in fun for me and as we face a new year and a new decade, I like what Courtney Carver of “Be More with Less” suggested when she wrote:


“Your gift today is reflection. Carve out time to retreat and reflect. It seems so natural this time of year to get lost in planning all the things you want to do so for today, put the planning on pause and gently review the passing year. The point of this is not to cause regret or guilt or even a pat on the back. Instead, it’s an opportunity to be a witness and to acknowledge a year in your very special life.”


Your one beautiful life. Savor it. Celebrate it.



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