When Charles Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” in “A Tale of Two Cities,” it’s almost as if he was projecting into the future and seeing how the world might look here in the second decade of the 21st century.
On one hand, we’re in a period of fantastic economic expansion. The pool/spa/aquatics industry is benefiting from rising housing prices and an overall burgeoning economy. Practically everyone we talk to is experiencing sturdy revenues, if not some of their best years ever. Attending all that is increasing interest in the wellness factor and a focus on maximizing the experience inherent in the aquatic lifestyle. We may not be in the halcyon days before the Great Recession, but by all accounts our industry is thriving.
Yet with all that good news comes the cautionary tale that economics is always cyclical. We can rest assured another slowdown is probably somewhere down the road, but there’s more to it than just that.
What I personally find bittersweet these days is seeing our industry age with many long-time friends who are either leaving for other pursuits or, in many cases, getting sick or passing away. Currently, I have three close friends in the industry who are fighting cancer and several others facing different types of health issues. The fact is, many of us are just simply getting old. Chalk it up to the inexorable march of time, but uncertainty and loss are burdens we all face in one way or another.
With a generational transition comes both the beauty of as yet untapped potential and the recognition that change is inevitable. Sometimes those changes can bring a tear or two. At other times, change can make us practically sing out with joy. As we move into the holidays, I can’t help but think how important and powerful it is to be thankful for the good things in life: our families, friends, careers and our fantastic standard of living. So many of us are so very lucky.
For my small part, I’m grateful for the work I do for the industry and the life that work has given my family and me. More than anything, I’m so very thankful for the great friends I’ve made along the way, new and old. Yes, the passing of time offers the colors of melancholy, beckoning a longing and even sadness that can be tough to define, while, at the same time, change is what makes the future exciting.
That’s why the holidays are so special. These occasions give us a reason to step back and reflect on both the beauty and sorrow of living a full life. We all face passages that challenge us, but hopefully those tough moments are balanced, if not bettered, by the glow of love, prosperity, health and happiness
On behalf of my colleagues here at AQUA, I wish you all only the very best over the holidays and the brightest possible optimism as we face both the challenges and opportunities of the New Year.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all the best — cheers!