My partner John owns a seasonal business, a marina, bait store and lodging in Henderson Harbor, New York, on Lake Ontario. Like most, if not all, seasonal businesses, we are weather-driven–ours is busier than all get out when the weather graces us with beautiful, sunny days, and deader than the proverbial doornail when cold, wet and windy weather blows in.
But sometimes the forecast, not the actual weather, does more harm to Henderson Harbor’s businesses than good.
Take this morning as I write this. According to both local meteorologist Joe Blow and weather.com, today was supposed to entirely suck. Yet when I glance up from my keyboard to look out the window, I see a hazy but sunny sky, and a calmly rippling denim blue bay of water.
And I wonder, how many people based their plans for today on the forecast, not the weather?
Not everyone, come to find out. But my guess is business would have been much better if the forecast had accurately reflected a pleasant Saturday morning, followed by some rain in the afternoon, rather than an entire day of rain and occasional thunderstorms. So much for triple Doppler.
This made me think about life in general, and the doom and gloom we often see forecast in our daily news. It can be so easy to get caught up in that, to postpone treating ourselves for fear we won’t have enough when the economy collapses, or to decide not pursue dreams because they may be risky.
Then we look back, unlike the young couple in a current Suburu television commercial, and see how we decided to take the safe path rather than the adventurous one when we came to that fork in the road. That we ended up buying pants in Walmart instead of camping out under the stars.
I have a nephew who has an idea for a business he wants to launch. I’m quite certain other friends and family members would tell him it’s a pipe dream, but not me. I’d rather see him try and fail than not try at all. In truth, I hope he succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, and keeps his dear old aunt in mind once he’s rich and famous.
But yes, I do wish I had taken Robert Frost’s “road less traveled by” when I was younger. I had started to, putting myself through college with part time jobs and loans…but upon graduation, faced with all that debt, I grabbed hold of the first steady paycheck I could find. Not at all the future that the young me had planned.
And though I certainly don’t regret the people I’ve met, places I’ve seen and many of the experiences I’ve had along the road I did choose, there’s this small, persistent voice inside me that still urges me to go for something bigger and more fulfilling.
Do you hear that voice, too? Not mine, of course, but your own, wondering aloud if you could still pursue an old dream, a calling, or even just a long lost pastime?
If so, that voice is there for a reason. And my guess is that it’s a more reliable indicator of how we should live out the remainder of our lives than triple Doppler. Or meteorologist Joe Blow for that matter.