It's one reason the winter holidays have such meaning. They provide an easy time reference for the measurement, and the usual nagging annual questions: What was my life like a year ago? How has it changed? For the better? The same? Worse? (For most of us it's a complicated amalgamation of all three.)
For me, the easy time reference isn't the winter holidays, it's summer vacation. Not sure why, but it's always been that way. It's a time for me to analyze my life and where I am and where I want to be.
I remember many summers filled with a quiet angst about career and family and how to give my all to each, and not short-change either. It's a struggle many parents go through and it's healthy.
I guess I can now say, through the prism of some extra rings around the tree trunk, to use a Redwood metaphor - that the quiet angst vanishes with age. And so that's the backdrop of my departure tomorrow on an August vacation.
Added to the mix are my three children, each having remarkable years. My youngest just turned one and is this-close to walking, having taken her first step on her own this morning. My 15-year-old son is coming back this weekend from 7 weeks of canoeing and hiking in the mountains; he has sprouted, literally and figuratively, into a man-child. And my oldest child is returning next week from two months traveling the plains of Africa and the woods and coastline of Maine. Oh, and she's about to turn 18, a milestone that seems at once like yesterday and eons ago in my own life.
All of which is to say I'm one lucky guy. I have a wife and family that I adore and treasure, and I've a job that I feel the same way about.
Both give me fulfillment and healthy challenges every day.
And the quiet angst of my younger summers now seems, like turning 18, eons ago. As I say, I'm a lucky guy.
That said, this column will resume when I return on Aug. 23. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11. We'll have the news of the night, plus Jeff Smith (in for Lee Goldberg) with his AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.