When I Was 17...

... It was a very good year." As I look ahead to 2016, I'm reminded of Ervin Drake's classic tune -- immortalized by Frank Sinatra. 

On the one hand, Amy Katz and I are heads-down on a few After Nines Inc. projects that could define how we spend our next decade or so in business. But on the other hand, we're working hard to work less -- spending time with our respective families and creating special moments along the way.

With that latter thought in mind, my oldest son and I anxiously look ahead for an evening with famed Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour. At long last, Gilmour is returning to the U.S. for a North American tour in early 2016. We'll catch him in New York in April.

When I Truly Was 17 (or So)

The last time I saw Gilmour on stage, it was June 4, 1988 at Giant Stadium during the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. (OK, I was actually 18 at the time... but please grant me some poetic license...).

Gilmour around 1988

Gilmour around 1988

For me, it was a time of transition and anxiety. My pals and I would graduate from high school in a few weeks, and I'd head off to college two months later. I hadn't yet found my niche in life. I had talent in a range of areas but lacked focus.

Pink Floyd's classic tune, Time, pretty much summed up my life at that point: "No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun." I wasn't really running in any particular direction -- instead, I was adrift... not really concerned about where random tides would carry me.

My big break came about three months after that concert -- when I met my eventual girlfriend and future wife my very first day on campus. (That's a blog for another time.)

When He Was 17

But enough about me. Fast forward to today. My wife and I have three sons who are growing up fast. They all have their individual talents, and they're each far more focused than I ever was at each of their ages. 

Our oldest son will turn 17 later this year. He's a combination student, athlete and musician -- playing drums since about age seven (thanks to his late uncle, also a musician at heart) and guitar since around age 10 or so.

Somewhere along the line, our oldest son stumbled onto my CD collection. It became a common bond for us. He and I agreed to pretend '80s music never happened. Most of our mutual admiration focused on '70's classic rock, everything from Floyd to Led Zeppelin and Rush -- his late uncle's favorite band.

Regaining Time

When I learned this past Friday about about Gilmour's 2016 U.S. tour, I snapped up tickets and thought about battling another line from Floyd's Time: "And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking."

In other words, by the time you wake up and realize you've got limited time in life... it's often too late to do anything about it. Or, using some more poetic license: "And I run and I run to catch up with my sons but time's fleeting." 

And the run becomes more challenging as they each get older. But at least I woke up to the challenge. And I'm enjoying the victories -- even simple ones, like dinner as a family each night, thanks to my wife.

Gilmour in more recent times.

Gilmour in more recent times.

When I truly was 17, I thought I had unlimited time to find my way in the world. I didn't really worry about where I was or where I was heading. I lived in the now: What are we doing tonight? What show is coming to town next week?

Yada, yada, yada through the next 25 years or so. By the time I was 40 or so, I realized time -- especially with my family -- was a limited commodity.

And so, I've been working really hard  -- away from work -- to steal back time. I'll definitely steal some time with my oldest son and David Gilmour in April 2016.

Decades from now, each of our sons will have his own story to share about the time he was 17... With a little luck, I'll play a role in shaping each of those stories.

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