If I Had to Ring In the New Year with Anyone

My guest list would include plenty of brilliant women.

Shannon Ashley
Dec 29, 2019 · 6 min read

Let’s be perfectly honest. I am the single mom to one happy five year old, and I am rather blissfully self-partnered these days. It’s a little bit funny because I used to be a very social butterfly. I’m the sort of INFP who can easily mask as an ENFP whenever she is truly comfortable, and in her “element.”

But motherhood has admittedly changed me. Even though it took a few years for me to adjust to being a parent and to finally get over the loneliness and isolation of single motherhood, I am now remarkably happy living my life on my own.

At this point, my New Year’s Eve is going to involve some Thai takeout and Frozen games with my daughter. But do you know what? I’m looking forwards to it. My life is currently on my own terms, and I love that.

Years ago, I would have been especially sad and lonely on New Year’s Eve. I would have felt that I definitely needed other people to make the holiday a good one. People as in plenty of peers and a boyfriend.

These days I feel much differently about what makes a good holiday. And I’m not bothered by being alone. That’s why, when folks first began asking me to share my dream guest list for New Year’s Eve, I froze.

It took a long time for me to figure out who I would really want to connect with if “anything was possible.” And for the most part, I realized my list would be all about women who inspire me.

Stevie Nicks

“When you grow up as a girl, the world tells you the things that you are supposed to be: emotional, loving, beautiful, wanted. And then when you are those things, the world tells you they are inferior: illogical, weak, vain, empty.”

In a lot of ways, Stevie Nicks feels like my spirit animal. I wish I could be as cool as she is at 71 years old.

I’ve written about Stevie before, and I’ve always planned to write about her again. In Stevie, I don’t just see an incredible artist, but a woman who made her own path without worrying so much about what the world expected her to be.

Stevie has been very vocal about her choice to be child-free and her overall singleness despite having had many lovers… and even being something of a hopeless romantic at heart.

She hasn’t lived an easy life, but she’s been through some shit (like drug addiction and a three month marriage) and lived to tell the tales. I would love to spend time with her and soak up some of that ageless wisdom.

Helena Bonham Carter

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a little bit obsessed with Helena Bonham Carter. I love the roles she’s played in countless movies, and the way she’s been able to make each character so different despite own her distinctive appearance.

Helena is a small woman (only 5′ 2″), yet something about her always seems larger than life. She’s been romantically connected to powerhouse men like Kenneth Branagh and Tim Burton, but she’s never appeared to be overshadowed by them.

I respect her fierce independence and I’ve loved watching her age gracefully over the years without catering to Hollywood’s whims. A lot like Stevie, I sort of want to be Helena when I grow up, at least in certain ways.

bell hooks

“Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment... dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love--which is to transform us. Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.”

When it comes to bel hooks, I’m embarrassed to say that I am late to the party. I only began reading her this year, but I love the way she tackles really tough subjects like love, feminism, culture, and politics.

Her commonsense approach and honesty are refreshing and I identify so much with some of her revelations about life and love, though I’ve only just scratched the surface in reading her work.

I know that I could learn a great deal from bel and would welcome any time to chat with her.

Amy Tan

“It’s a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.”

Ever since grade school, Amy Tan has been one of my favorite writers in the world. I can’t adequately express how much I love her work and wish my writing had just a fraction of her beauty and sensibility.

Most folks are familiar with Amy for her novel The Joy Luck Club. That was my first experience with her writing as a child, and I understand that while we are very different writers, she has still made an enormous impact upon my own work and what I dare to reveal.

Back when I used to write copy for a social media marketing agency, I often thought a lot about Amy and the fact that her writing career began with mundane copy too. She has often inspired me to press onward.

The cast of Frozen

“I’m here. What you need?”

Just in case you missed it, I love Frozen. Especially Frozen 2. And I love how it’s such a feminist fairytale, honestly. One of my favorite parts in the film happens so quickly you might miss it. When Kristoff reunites with Anna he simply says, “I’m here. What do you need?”

You know, instead of taking over and trying to do everything for her, he asks and actually listens. Then, he actually does what she needs, without an argument.

I’ve written before that Frozen 2 is a love letter to single women everywhere. And that holds true for me even when looking at Anna and Kristoff’s relationship. Disney has done a great job with the franchise and I hope to see more positive and women-driven Disney films.

So, as long as we’re talking about a fantasy New Year’s Party, I’d love to party with the cast of Frozen because I find each actor hilarious and down to earth. Idina and Kristen especially inspire me as woman who are thriving in Hollywood.

My real New Year’s Eve might seem sort of boring.

Again, I plan to grab my favorite Thai takeout and play some games with my kid. I’ll have a glass or two of moscato and maybe I’ll stay up to watch the ball drop, but maybe not.

What I love most about my life right now is that it’s my choice. And while I can’t ring in the New Year with any of the fantasy guests on this list, that doesn’t mean I can’t include them in my life throughout 2020.

Like it or not, the New Year is a natural time to look ahead and live with more purpose. There’s no reason why the work of these artists can’t continue to inspire me and my own work moving forward.

And who knows? Perhaps one of these days I will get to cross off a few of these names on my bucket list of folks whom I’d like to meet.

Stranger things have happened.


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Honestly Yours

Here's the landing pad for my new and self-published stories without another home.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. shannon.ashley.medium@gmail.com

Honestly Yours

Here's the landing pad for my new and self-published stories without another home.

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