I don't like endings .  When I was a little girl I always left a bite of food on my plate much to my Dad’s chagrin.  I still tarry over the last few pages of a good book, not wanting it to be over. When a TV series I’ve been watching comes to a close, I grieve.  So you see, there’s no way I would have finished writing Jewish Luck without my sister, Meryll, grabbing it away from my clutching grip declaring “We’re finished.” 

So, of course I want to hold onto this past year for awhile longer. Based upon the 72 facebook contacts who wished me a happy birthday last week, I may be at the apex of my popularity. My kids were kind enough to remind me that my mom is likely more popular than me so I may still be on the ascent.

I thought this would be a good time to reflect on what I have learned this year.

First, I’ve overcome my performance anxiety.  When I first began teaching psychology, I went to my classroom a few days before to give the lecture to an empty hall until my nerves settled. Meryll and I share a private experience each time we speak of each other’s nonverbals and it is a lot of fun. We can revel in our different styles and people recognize the dynamic.  As I said Saturday to the older sibs “I am your worst nightmare” referring to being nonlinear, spontaneous and often off topic. When I’ve had to speak alone, inevitably a family member or high school friend shows up to give me that same feeling of support. I still have the sense that I’m climbing up to the high dive with some trepidation, but it is also exhilarating as I dive in. 

Second, my grandmother used to say “If you’re lonely, invite people over.”  In other words she couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t have friends.  She moved to small towns in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Wales without complaint to follow her husband’s job opportunities.  Wherever she went, she established a community of friends with ease.  Maybe it was the mandelbrodt or the apple pie (see Meryll’s recipes).   Now, wherever we have spoken,  I feel that we are among friends.  On Sunday, we visited a home in Tustin, CA, where I would have loved to linger to admire the Orange County view and to have a chance to get to know our readers better and hear their own stories.

La Jolla, L.A., NYC, Columbus,Ohio; Virginia Beach, Princeton, Denver, Modi’in, Tustin, CA;  These are some of the places where I spoke about our book.  Meryll accompanied me to a number of these locales and has an itinerary of her own including Omaha, Phoenix and Beersheva.  These now are not just places on a map, but communities where we feel a sense of belonging thanks to the warm welcomes we received. 

Third, books don’t sell themselves.  Sometimes I feel like Meryll and I are pedaling a cart with a banner “Books for Sale.”  We’d like to thank our Southeast sales managers Helene and Arthur Rosenfeld and our West Coast sales manager, our Mom, Renee Levine, who considers it the perfect gift for everybody, and I’ve already mentioned her popularity.  Thanks to our readers who have bought it new from Amazon or Magers & Quinn, ordered it from their bookstore, or recommended it to others.  It makes all the difference!

Fourth, when you write a book, people will ask “what are you doing next?”  This is a far more interesting question to ask my sister than me.  What I’m doing next is going to work and trying to stay caught up with my clients and do the best I can for them.  I’m going to try to stay current with my EMDR literature (check out EMDR therapy if you’re interested in PTSD treatment) and have conversations with my husband.  What I’m doing next is trying to bask in the now and not miss anything.  Oh, yes and I’ll try to continue writing a couple blogs a month and a book review every other month for this site.

So there’s a just a little time left in this year, and then I’ll have to let go of the most momentous year of my life. Thanks to all of you and to my husband Harry and kids, Maya and Isaac, for taking this ride with me!