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Double Digits And Dreams

I tend to be an analyst.

As a person who finds themselves deep in thought on just about any topic, I can honestly say the phrase “Analysis Paralysis” is real.

A perfect example of this would be this very column and what to pen as I return to the desk from a uniquely wonderful family vacation. My thoughts immediately go to stories I’d love to share, but does the reader really care? It was our family vacation after all and how would my words or stories impact the life of the person whose eyes land on this page?

This week also marks the birth of both of my children, which is significant and memorable to me, but how does that impact the reader?

See where I’m going with this?

It is perhaps fair to say that my brain is still slightly on vacation, as I did completely check out while we were away, something I intend to do again within the coming months. In the day and age of technology and smart phones, checking out requires true discipline and commitment.

I love my job and in so doing, I find it easy to pop into my e-mail and reply to a co-worker or community member e-mail while vacationing – not this time. Taking it a step further, I even made it a point to not return to the building until my vacation was officially over. Seem trivial? For me, not so much. We as a staff have a way of popping by to ‘check-in,’ yes even while on a day off or on vacation. This time … I didn’t.

This time around I recognized the importance of disconnecting and freeing myself of the responsibility which is work. It’s good fortune to love what you do, but just like anything too much of a good thing can create burn out. I’ve lived that in a past career and don’t intend to live that again. So as I dived deeper into my get away, connecting with my children and the families we had traveled with, I thought less about “work.”

I even allowed myself to go so far as to think about retirement and where I see myself once the children are grown. Writing that sentence even stuns me a bit, yet it’s true. I spend a good portion of this life, living in the moment.

Truth be told in the weekly newspaper business, we are always living one week ahead of everyone else. As readers are taking in these words, my head is already wrapped deep into June 21 with a small side of June 28. Filling pages is my job and finding timely, relevant content is key. Throw in the addition of our bi-monthly 209 Magazine and those monthly deadlines and well ... you get the picture. It’s an odd sort of time travel, making the relevance of present day all the more important.

With so much of my work life spent looking ahead, being present in my personal life is critical. This week my “babies” turn 10 and 13. Two double digit kids. My mind is still a bit blown by this and I’m slowly accepting the semi-release of the reins allowing them to grow.

In so doing, I began thinking of life post “raising” kids. Oh yes, I know they’ll always be my babies and the responsibility never truly goes away, yet life does go on. As we look to their future and all we can dream for them, it’s important to dream for ourselves as well. Hence my retirement thoughts, where I see myself once this job is done. The job of responsibly raising two contributing members of society. That’s also exciting.

What does all this mean? It’s simple really. Don’t forget about yourself. I’ve shared that in the way of physical health many times before, yet it’s bigger than that. As you look to the future of where life will take your children, remember to include yourself. Life will continue when they journey off, don’t get so caught up in your dreams for them that you forget to dream for yourself. That’s equally exciting stuff.

Amazing what a little R and R can do for the mind of an analyst. Now, time to plan a few parties. Apparently this is a big week in our household. The week of double digits and retirement plans, lucky us.



Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.