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Ending column signals new beginning

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Editors note: This is Dr. Laura's last newspaper column. Due to the press of time and other commitments, Dr. Laura has chosen to quit writing her newspaper column.

We are all works in progress, navigating our way through the journey of life. Inherent in all journeys are diverse paths. If we opt to go north, we miss out on the southern experience. That's just the way it is. The choices we make are ultimately determined by the priorities we've set for ourselves.

As we evolve both spiritually and emotionally, we are constantly forced to re-evaluate those priorities.

I want to share a personal "fork in the road" that has kept me awake the last couple of weeks. Though it makes me sad, it's evident that, unfortunately, I can't do it all. So this column is my last. Though I shall deeply miss this weekly communique with my readers, I know that — based on my priorities — this choice is logical and appropriate, and I want to thank Universal Press Syndicate (UPS), the wonderful, hard-working company that has been my syndicate.

As you may or may not know, Sept. 11 will mark the debut of my internationally syndicated television program, "Dr. Laura." Produced by Paramount Domestic Television, my TV show will explore for one hour a day, five days a week, substantive moral and ethical issues that directly influence society and the family. The focus will be on topics and events that impact you at home — as a spouse, a parent, a citizen, a child.

Given the increasing amount of time the TV show is demanding, I had to sit down and think: What can I give up to make room for my television commitment? There are only 24 hours in a day. How will I ration my time? As I reviewed my priorities, both personal and professional, I had to evaluate my options.

I could either give up my syndicated column or my son. The column or the kid? Hmmmm. That's a tough one, but the kid stays for sure.

In the introduction of my new book, "Parenthood by Proxy: Don't Have Them If You Won't Raise Them," I talk a lot about my whole evolution from being a "H---, no, I won't go" screaming '60s feminist to an "I am my kid's mom" mother. It was a radical evolution but proof that we can change no matter how entrenched our beliefs. As we add things to our lives, we must compensate by letting others go.

Another option: I could give up the column or give up my radio show. But then again, I adore my radio show and couldn't imagine life without it. My mornings will be television, my afternoons radio, and my evenings will be spent doing the job I cherish most: either helping Deryk with his homework, playing Scrabble with Lew and Deryk, or just simply being with my family.

No one, despite popular belief, can do it all, be it all and have it all. I am living proof of that. I put a lot of time and effort into this column. My heart wants to continue with it, but my brain knows better. To do so, I would have had to sacrifice my No. 1 priority.

My preaching, teaching and nagging all boils down to setting priorities. This is an era that, sadly, focuses on self-actualization, self-satisfaction and basic selfishness. Well, I'm gonna tell you the best mode of selfishness — doing what will ultimately give you a profound sense of gratification.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have been so supportive, reading the column regularly and responding with letters and faxes. It has been your heartfelt support that has made my dream of taking my message to TV a reality. I have been doing this over a span of three years now, and I've made a lot of friends. Your letters have been thoughtful and inspiring, and I often used them as springboards for other columns.

To those of you who weren't too crazy about my point of view, I want to thank you for reading the column and offering insightful feedback nonetheless. To those of you who enjoyed and appreciated my point of view, I would like to suggest an alternative to my column. The Dr. Laura Perspective is a monthly magazine that we produce in conjunction with my radio program. Each issue is edited by yours truly, but we have a lot of other people who work on it, too. You can order the Perspective by calling 800-636-1737, or going to my Web site www.drlaura.com.

Last, I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the devoted employees at UPS for their unwavering support. In particular, Lee Salem and Lisa Tarry, thank you for everything.