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Every December, over lunch, when we are out celebrating our mutual December birthdays, dear-heart friend, Judith, intones, “This is going to be our best year ever!” Every year she is more sincere than she was the year before. I usually just nod and agree but this year my cynic self poked its unwelcome head up and said, “Judith, you say that every year and it hasn’t happened yet.” She smiled beatifically back at me and said, “Ann, that’s because we’ve been waiting for this year for it all to happen.” It made me laugh. But why not? It makes sense to me — or at least it did over a plate of gnocchi and a glass of red wine. I mean it’s better than thinking that this new year is going to stink, eh?

I was thinking about all this on New Year’s morning as I was doing my first exercises of 2015. I’ve had to slack off a little in the last two weeks because of this ridiculous cold that just won’t get out of my chest. Now mind you, I never missed a day of the exercises completely. (Gold Stars, Please [or maybe just Bronze]!) Even when I was at my lowest energy, deepest coughs, most miserable self, I still did some exercises every morning. Part of this was because I could hear this duet going on in my head. On one side, was my trainer’s voice shouting, “You must NEVER leave the house without warming up.” The implication being that dire, dire things like another fall would happen. On the other side of this chorus, was the doom-predicting monotone of my foot doctor. I have never met a nicer guy but, who, at the same, has the harshest foot-side manner of any medical practitioner I have ever met. When he gives his analysis there is not even a smidgen of sugar coating. I always come out of his office with my feet hurting more than when they walked in. He told me once, after I had proudly told him of my diligent work with the trainer, that all that was well and good but, hey, if I missed just three little days of exercises, Bango, everything I’ve done since March would be obliterated! He is even bleaker than my trainer which takes some doing. So, cold or no cold, I was taking no chances and I did my marches just like a good little soldier every morning.

Anyway, so there I was marching away listening to the radio instead of my eclectic mix of music on my iPod. It’s always a toss up which I listen to. I usually opt for the radio so I get the news and weather along with the exercise. But sometimes those CBC, comforting, well-modulated “voices” just irritate the hell out of me and I opt for my old rock n’ roll. (It’s not just CBC — the same thing used to happen in DC with NPR.)  As I kicked my invisible soccer ball and marched with my high knees and soft feet, I listened as this designer, Bruce Mau — okay, I shamefacedly admit I had not heard of him before — eloquently talked about the need to create a “culture of dreaming.” Cool, I thought.  But, then, as if talking just to me and my marching feet, he emphasized that this was something far different from making make those wish-upon-a-star dreams. You got to have the dream, as that old song goes, but, and here’s the clincher, you got to believe that you can change things. “Ok, Bruce, Ok!” I shouted at the radio in between squats. So if I dream of bigger, better book sales of Mediterranean Journey, for example, then I have to get to work on that dream, and, part two, believe that me, Annie Eyerman, can change that. That’s when he threw in as an “oh by the way” that I’d have to “systematically execute that vision.” This was going to work. Go Ann!

I can hear Judith saying when she reads this, “Ann, you’ve known this for years and years! What, it takes a designer to get you pumped?” (Well, Judith probably wouldn’t use the word “pumped”.) But she’s right. I know it, you know it, all God’s children know it. But I think that I was meant to be reminded of this through that message from Bruce Mau. Because the way he put it, and the fact that he was a designer (yes, Judith, that did impress me) appealed to my Capricorn self especially that “systematic execution” of my vision. I see lists, deadlines, ventures outside my expanding-but-still-small comfort zone, TV appearances, book reviews, signings in major bookstores all resulting in a surge of Amazon sales. “If you don’t have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true?”

Now, I just have to begin, eh?

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