It's the last day of the year and I feel like Rip Van Winkle just waking up from a prolonged nap. Where did it go?

Actually, where has most of this decade disappeared? Seems like only a few weeks ago we were worried about Y2K frying our motherboards and rendering us helpless as everything that relied on a computer chip (and what does not, these days?) to operate ground to a sickening halt — leaving us stranded in elevators on the 47th floor, in holding patterns above O'Hare, DFW or Hartsfield (not all that unusual, come to think of it), or unable to use our credit/debit cards to pay for gasoline that was so much more affordable just eight years ago.

I'm working on my ninth year in Texas and, sad to say, have not been to nearly as many counties as I would have thought I'd have visited by now, to say nothing of those I've neglected in Oklahoma and New Mexico. I start each new year with great expectations of traveling more, writing more and covering more ground than I did the last year, but never quite measure up to my own self-imposed mission statements.

Things get in the way. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold …” So said William Butler Yeats, in a poem titled “The Second Coming,” something that has stuck in a small crevice of my mind since graduate school and seems to become more personally accurate with each passing year.

I quit making resolutions several years back because things kept falling apart. By February I'd have forgotten what I'd promised myself I would do or quit doing. And if I committed the list to paper — would conveniently forget where I left the paper. Saved on my computer desktop somewhere, it would get lost among the host of humorous emails I can never convince myself to erase as they come in, assuming I might need a funny anecdote at some function or another or when column fodder is scarcer than hay in a Texas drought.

New years always start off busy. The Beltwide Cotton Conferences take precedence over everything else in early January and set the tone for much of the first months of the year. Meetings dominate winter months and by the time I get done with grain, peanut, and livestock conferences I'm already behind on the number of counties I had hoped to visit before planting time.

I spend spring trying to catch up, summer hoping to keep pace with crop progress and fall hoping to get a good handle on how well our farmers did for the year. And then it's Christmas and then January and I wonder how the time slipped away again.

My son, who is still shy of his 25th birthday, told me recently that time seems to have sped up for him over the last few years. I could only chuckle and suggest that if he thinks it's fast as he approaches 25 just wait until he hits 50.

Tempus fugit. Time flies when you're having fun!