Though it’s only mid-August in Southern California, I can still feel autumn approaching. The days are slowly getting shorter, and there’s a particular flavor to the light now, a slanted, melancholy quality that only begins when summer is long past its prime.
I wouldn’t have noticed any of this 10 or even five years ago, but I am getting older as well.
A good friend of mine, CJ, has fallen in love with someone 19 years younger. Recently we were talking about the relationship, and I asked if this woman was truly committed for the long haul.
“She’s all in,” CJ said, and then paused, thinking. “But she’s young enough that she hasn’t yet seen the arc of her life.”
The arc of a life. The beauty and sadness of that concept doesn’t truly manifest itself until you’ve reached an age where the arc of your own life suddenly becomes visible.
And sometimes, when the canvas gets bigger, we lose perspective. My favorite headline ever published in Pool & Spa News ran in 1964 and read “Pool Industry Reaches Maturity” in big letters across the cover. Though those words seem funny today, they speak to the fact that it’s much easier to see the arc of a life than the arc of an industry.
Currently, the pool and spa market is suffering, and many people are understandably concerned about what the future will bring. But sometimes those same people forget that we’re still young and marvelously resilient. It’s amazing to think that a huge percentage of professionals in the industry today were alive during the early ’60s, when owning a swimming pool was barely a blip on the American radar and spas were virtually nonexistent.
It’s also amazing to picture what may lie in store for us 50 years from now. Technology will enable our products to reach levels of convenience and efficiency that are literally beyond our comprehension today.
New ways of imagining water — how it travels and relates to light — will bring forth works of art that stand with the very best of human expression. And simple materials such as decking or plaster will be improved to the point where what’s available today will seem straight out of the Flintstones.
But one thing will never change: People love water. Whether it’s hot or cool, bubbling invitingly in a secluded spa or beckoning to us from the mirrored surface of a vanishing-edge pool, our primeval connection to water will see this industry through the arc of a hundred lifetimes.