Just typing the title for this column, it made me laugh a little. How do you even define normal these days?
Newspapers, by nature, are so driven by repetition, by schedules, by deadlines. We have to get certain things done each week by a certain time to make sure the papers are on the press the day they are supposed to be. Having back-to-back holiday weekends definitely provided lots of challenges in the last couple weeks of the year.
The three weeklies we produce, Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon, share their ‘Living’ section – the features, entertainment, perspective pages, etc. – and typically we do that over the weekend, wrapping up any minor changes on Monday morning. But with Christmas and New Year we had to move the ‘due by’ dates up and so when I was working on the Living section on Thursdays, it really got confusing.
We also had Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve off and they were Fridays, so things we would normally have to accomplish on Friday were done by Wednesday or Thursday also. Throw in the fact that some staff people take time off at the holidays and it was a very quiet office around here.
One of the things I do enjoy about the end of one year, the start of a new one is the chance to look back at the year through the pages of the newspaper. Our annual ‘Year In Review’ feature is spread out over two weeks, with January through June in the last week of the old year and July through December in the first week of the new. It just provides such a snapshot of what the year brought us; the highs and lows, the tragedies and triumphs. Like all small communities, we have had our share of a little bit of everything. I appreciate the opportunity to share our weekly work with readers in this type of forum every year. It’s always interesting to see the variety of stories that showed up on our front page from week to week.
But back to schedules … I do best when I try to stick to one; a goal (not a resolution) for 2022 is actually using the weekly planner I got so appointments don’t sneak up on me. It would be silly to also proclaim getting my desk cleared of the piles it collects is on the to-do list; anyone who has ever been in my office probably knows that likely will never happen. But I am feeling the need to be at least a little more organized with my time so as to have plenty of extra hours for being a grandma.
Structure is a good thing. It keeps me in check. It keeps me focused.
And at least for Christmas, the days were defined; Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day. New Year’s weekend was a little different, I lost track of what day it was more than once during the week between the holidays. I welcomed the start of 2022 by having a quiet evening of TV watching, catching up on a favorite show, and helping keep the dogs as calm as possible when the fireworks started going off.
I even took advantage of the rare opportunity to sleep in on the first day of the year; not emerging from under the covers until after 8 a.m.
I kept a promise to myself (and the dog) and we went on a mile walk to kick start the day. She does love her morning walks and as long as it’s not too rainy, we agreed to try for that mile every day.
Many people choose to make resolutions and I wish them all the best in keeping them. They never really worked for me or, rather, I never really made them work. My goal, however, is just to do the best I can to fully embrace the unique gifts that each day brings and remain grateful for my many blessings.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.