New Year’s Hallucinations and Dry Martinis


I get why people like New Year’s resolutions – there’s something hopeful about them, and I guess that’s the whole point. In a way, they remind me of how I feel at the end of a doctor’s appointment – when the lab work is done, the probes are behind me, and once dressed, I begrudgingly evaluate my progress, identify what still needs to be done, and then get the hell out of there.

martiniSometimes I go so far as to manufacture completely meaningless resolutions, just so I have something to say this time of year when practically every conversation is peppered with the same dreaded question: what are yours?

The very word, itself, is so cold and off-putting, isn’t it? Why can’t we use something more imaginative? Like dreams, visions or hallucinations? Imagine how fascinating that conversation would be. Alas, my resistance doesn’t change the narrative, in that the question is still asked and I never have believable answers. Until now.

Here are my true, from-the-heart intentions for the next 12 months of my life. Let’s hope at least one of them becomes reality.

  1. Learn how to make a superb extra-dirty martini. With vodka. This means I need a shaker and all the other appropriate barware, stuffed olives (blue-cheese), and a fruitful trip to the liquor store. And then I need thirsty friends to rate my progress.
  2. Host a proper dinner party. This isn’t a pizza and boxed-wine night. I’m talking about officially inviting a group of adults over who may or may not know each other very well, with linens and matching stemware. And while my cooking skills are acceptable, the main point will be to enjoy delightful and stimulating conversation, good wine, and the presence of connection and love in my home.
  3. Read more books. I want exciting, moving and goose-bump-raising fiction with unforgettable characters and the kind of plot twists that I can’t get out of my head. It’s been too long – and I need suggestions.
  4. Practice my harmonica. I can squeak out a shaky “Happy Birthday To You,” and even a pitiful “Auld Lang Syne.” And while I’m not looking to join a blues band, I do want to be somewhat respectable. I might even take lessons.
  5. Pay better attention. That means I’m going to listen acutely to the words that people are saying – more than just nodding and dutifully asking questions. I want to notice the tone and fabric of human voices, expressions and intentions – beyond texts and emoji’s and emails. I want to experience the morning sun on my face and starve the worries in my head for one more second or minute or day at a time. I want to get better at expressing what I feel to the people that I love or might love, to be vulnerable when it’s easier to be guarded. I want to cherish the friendships that surround me, and marvel at the strength and beauty I see in them each and every day. And I want to be kinder to myself, and honor where I have been, what I have experienced and how far I’ve come.

The take-aways in all this are that I need a competent dirty martini recipe, a list of great books, improved musical skills, and continued love and support from the incredible circle of people that are or will be my friends and family. If you can help with any of these things, I’m all ears. I’m paying attention.

©2016 Michelle Freed


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