Photographs by Meadow Linn

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcome, Dear New Year!

“Don’t tell anyone or your wish won’t come true.” Have you ever heard this saying?

When I was a young child, every chance I got—birthday candles, shooting stars, and wishing wells—I wished for cherry pie. I never told anyone because I wanted my wish to come true. It was, however, only when I finally fessed up, that I got the cherry pie.

Making my wish for cherry pie
Here’s another confession: I keep a list of potential baby names in a drawer next to my bed, and sometimes when I can’t fall asleep, I plan my wedding. This used to be a secret—a guilty pleasure that I kept to myself—since I’m neither dating nor expecting. I’m learning, however, that the more I share my dreams, even the embarrassing little secrets like these, the more support I get.

As we transition into the New Year, I plan to take more ownership of my dreams, rather than hide them away in a drawer. I want to proudly announce to the world, “This is who I am and this is what I desire,” but at the same time, I want to try to detach from the idea that there’s just one possible version of my life. Dreams can manifest in a myriad of ways. If we’re honest and forthright about what we want, others can’t help but assist us in making our dreams come true. Some things—like the list of baby names—I’ve preferred to keep to myself because I didn’t want to be laughed at or pitied. But, I’m slowly learning that when something brings you joy and when you tell people about it with confidence, they don’t pity or laugh at you.

The New Year is a time for reflection and anticipation of things to come. I’ve been enjoying how different I feel this time around. No more longing. Just contentment. This past summer, I had a meltdown. I was pretty sure that I’d never have the things I desire most. The good thing that came from this, however, was that I realized I’d have to be willing to let my dreams happen in different ways. Rather than doggedly looking for Mr. Right and a storybook romance, followed by a beautiful wedding in wine country, and then a healthy baby, I began to consider other alternatives and different routes to that imagined future.

Additionally, I decided to release my concern for what people would think if I did things a bit differently. It turns out I actually care a lot more about how I appear to others than they care about how I appear to them. I also worried what my conservative grandparents would think if I decided to have a baby on my own. But the truth is, although it might not be their first choice, they’d end up loving the baby.

One of the locations where I've pictured my future wedding
The more I’ve released my firm grip on having my life be a certain way, and the more I’ve been willing to own my secrets and share them with the world, the more content I’ve become. Ever since my midsummer meltdown, I’ve felt more at peace than I have in years. Despite previous attempts, this is the first time it truly feels as though I’ve surrendered to whatever path my life will take. I do still occasionally peek at the list of baby names and imagine dancing by moonlight at my wedding reception, but now it’s more of a before-bed activity much like reading or doing a crossword, rather than a longing pulling at my heart.

As we enter 2012, I’m of course still hoping that this will be the year I fall in love with my forever man, but it doesn’t feel like a necessity. And rather than thinking about giving birth to a real baby, I’m much more focused on my other baby—my cookbook that will be published this year.

What wishes have you been keeping to yourself? What are your dreams, desires, and longings? In what ways can you share them with others? What steps can you take to manifest your dreams—or perhaps some unforeseen version of them—in the New Year?

I wish you the most splendid start to 2012. May this New Year be filled with love, adventure, and of course, good food!

A Champagne Cocktail for the New Year:
Cherry Pie Sparkler

In honor of the cherry pie I wished for as a child, here’s a cocktail to remind us to share our hopes and dreams with others so that they’ll come true. As we transition into the New Year and eagerly anticipate the exciting adventures that await us in 2012, raise a glass. Here’s to welcoming our dreams in whatever manner they manifest themselves!

Makes one delicious cocktail

4 frozen cherries, slightly defrosted
½ tsp. sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
5 oz. sparkling wine

sugar for the rim of the glass
1 cinnamon stick

To frost the glass with sugar: Gently moisten the rim of a Champagne flute with a damp finger. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of sugar on a small plate. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar and roll the edges in the sugar until completely frosted.

To make the cocktail: In a small bowl, muddle the cherries with the sugar and cinnamon. With a small spoon, transfer the cherries to the Champagne flute, and top with the sparkling wine. Serve with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

***Happy New Year!!!***