Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

ADVICE: We are SO back, but you have to believe it

Courtesy+Maddie+Barron
Maddie Barron
Courtesy Maddie Barron

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice.

Dear Maddie, 

We’re in a new year now and I feel really good about it for some reason. I think this is actually going to be a good year, but how can I be sure? Is this just false hope? Is it worth it to be too optimistic and get let down? For all I know, this could be another new year fluke and within a month everything will suck. How do I make this a good year? 

Sincerely,

Optimistic Ollie

***

Dear Ollie, 

I completely understand the impulse to fear optimism. My entire life I’ve followed Spencer Hastings’ advice from “Pretty Little Liars” to avoid hope because it “breeds eternal misery.” 

Past years of my life couldn’t feel like good years until I abandoned that horrible mantra and opted to simply live my life as it happens to me. I truly do feel like this year is going to be a good one, mostly because I feel adept at handling the inevitable hiccups that come my way. I spent my leave of absence studying myself and my beliefs. Who do I want to be? How can this be doable? 

Going forward in a new year and in a new decade of my existence, this is my philosophy for having a good year: 

Firstly, live your life in seasons. I was miserable year-round because I expected myself to follow a year-round routine, which is simply unsustainable. Our natural bodies do not exist in cycles of 365 days. Every month and every season, we have different physical and mental needs. The lack of sunlight in the winter is prompting changes to my routine. I try to keep a clean room with warm lights. I still go on daily walks, but I blast jazz music to make the gloominess a little more romantic. I take vitamin D supplements twice a day. Warm drinks. 

This is a practice I stole from the Dutch, called hygge, meaning cozy. Simply put, the Scandinavians have mastered the art of surviving gray and cold winters by making their personal lives and surroundings warm and inviting. 

I struggle with adapting to my new environments throughout the year, like living at home, school, and my summer job. To make it a more positive experience, I’ve sanctioned parts of my closet and designated a wardrobe for Boston, a wardrobe for home, and a wardrobe for my summer job. This makes me excited about situational changes because I unlock a whole closet of clothes I’ve missed and am excited to wear in the proper environment!

In the spring, I’ll try to take the train less and walk whenever I can. I’ll change my schedule however it needs to be changed. I can take a weekend off from my routine to visit a friend. 

The stringent rules that made me so miserable were only being policed by me! Once I liberated myself from my own rules, I was happier. 

As an astrology dabbler, I was overjoyed by the news that Pluto would be leaving Capricorn in 2024. Nina Kahn, an astrology writer, says that since 2008, Pluto, the planet of intensity and mystery, has been in the sign of Capricorn, additionally affecting Libra, Cancer, and Aries signs. 

What this means is that for 15 years, these signs have undergone dramatic, life-defining events that shaped them as individuals. I am a Capricorn sun, Libra moon, and Cancer rising. Since I was four years old, I’ve been put through the emotional wringer and, finally, I am free. 

The relief I feel may mean I’m simply a victim of confirmation bias, but, ultimately, we must stop questioning why we feel hope and optimism. These feelings aren’t weaknesses, they’re strengths! They’ve allowed me to accept that it will actually pass

A tweet from X user @jimmyoutsold illustrates the perfect mindset of 2024: “Something just shifted … shit’s about to get reallll positive and uplifting and full of love and abundance.” 

There is infinite room in our minds and hearts to feel joy, loss, success, heartbreak, failure, etc. Lana said let that damn light in y’all!

With peace and love, 

Maddie B.

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About the Contributor
Maddie Barron, Opinion Co-Editor, Magazine Editor
Maddie Barron (she/her) is a sophomore WLP major with a minor in journalism. She serves as editor for the Beacon Magazine and co-section editor of the opinion section. Maddie is an It Girl, philanthropist, lover, gardener, and the Princess Diana of Goose Creek, SC.

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