My years are like rollercoasters.

My years are like rollercoasters. I always have something planned to look forward to, slowly climbing a calendar day by day. Finally, reaching the date is immediately followed by the accelerating rush toward a goal, hence the metaphor.

Generally, our goals are little trips of some sort. I like years punctuated with exclamation points. Itís nice when the excitement is spaced sort of evenly, but recently most of our fun adventures have been back-loaded into the first six months.

Because my work involves very long hours during the four-month tax season, by the time April 15 rolls around, Iím more than ready to throw hands in the air and not look back. The first half of this year was a kaleidoscope. I worked through April; we cruised in May, did Vegas in June and fished with Bug, Shingo and Sundae in July. Whew!

So now Iím ambling through September, mapping out future high points and when weíll hit them. These final four months of the year are looking pretty good.

My sons have been on me to go to Florida for a poker tournament in Tampa. Iíve always had excuses that seemed valid at the time but have now used them all up.

So it looks like my rollercoaster will be flinging me south. Tampa has a good tournament scheduled toward the end of October and Iím going to try to make it. More important than the poker, Iíll get to see Bret and Bart, which always is a total hoot.

And thereís another boon in our future before 2013 waves goodbye. My daughter Sundae and company normally come home each Christmas for a few days. But this year, theyíll be able to stay a couple of weeks, and thatís indeed a very good thing.

Being brutally honest, itís really all about grandchild Bug, who will definitely make this season special. My wife Ann already is making plans and marking calendars. If Sundae and Shingo have any scheduling objections, thatís too bad.

Five-year-old Andrew has clear personal priorities. Iím sure Chuck E. Cheese will figure prominently in his itinerary, as will the Mikeís Farm hayride.

Having such a great ride in 2013 and into the future is a big deal to me. Iíve said many times I donít like time flying by without grabbing some rings.

Weíve all heard, ďWhereíd the years go?Ē I wonít allow mine to coalesce into indistinguishable and uninteresting lumps because I was too clueless to make each year special while I was living it.

Ann and I have both been very blessed with good health and a shared recognition that all special times should be treasured from major vacations down to simple leisurely glasses of wine on a patio.

We all circle natureís hourglass. Shoes always drop, and things always change. So I say worry little about the future and more about celebrating the present.

Itís a great world and Iím enjoying the ride. Life is good and recognizing unique values of the countless moments that comprise it enhances it exponentially.

Otis Gardner'ís column appears here weekly. He can be reached at