“Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament.” – Hamlet, III. Ii.
My niece, Liz, is a fantastic hostess. At one happy juncture, we found ourselves living on either side of the Brooklyn Bridge, and we regularly enjoyed each other’s hospitality. Liz’s New Year’s Eve soirees were legend amongst her 20-something set of yuppie Manhattanites.
She would select a themed cocktail for the evening, and request that each guest bring an ingredient. One year, the theme was ‘Marvelous Martinis’. A week before the party, I received a cryptic missive from her: “You’re a peach! - Please bring a bottle of Peach Schnapps.”
I arrived, dressed to the nines, with schnapps bottle in hand, into a hive of activity. Little stations for each martini were arranged throughout the room. I milled about until I found my tribe - a small group of strangers gathered around a handwritten sign: “Peachy Keeny Martini”.
We introduced ourselves and huddled over our recipe. A wonderfully creative ice breaker, literally. We then saw the old year out by winding our way around Liz’s loft, sampling the delightful concoctions.
Not so delightful, however, was the resulting hang over. New Year’s Day was spent in a dim diner, in dark glasses, vowing to pursue better habits in the new year. Such post-holiday remorse propels my Manhattan chums, Kate and Abby, into a strict, annual detox. From the 2nd of January they forswear all food and drink, surviving for six weeks on a ghastly potion of purified water, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper and honey. I commend their effort, but have to laugh when I see them back on the booze and chocolates by Valentine’s Day.
That’s the funny thing about resolutions. The best of intentions can fall swiftly by the way side as old habits resurface ever so reliably. For this reason, I have always kept my resolutions hopefully vague: to be better (at nothing in particular); to do more (in a general sort of way) and to be happier (immeasurably). But this year, I have challenged myself to be less vague.
Fitness has been a regular part of my life. Running along the Hudson, walking Lucy around Washington Square Park, these were key features of my daily routine. I have lost both of these facets of my life, the latter most recently and painfully.
Grief can be overwhelming. Recently, I found myself faced with a decision: I could lie on the couch and cry, or I could go along to the new Aquafit class at The Glebe Hotel. I pushed myself, and went to the class. And, I am so glad I did. Afterward, I felt brighter, stronger and better able to cope.