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Summer’s final stand: December 2015

I’m a little bleary. It is the first morning of 2016 as I write this and there’s nothing of consequence to report of New Year’s Eve, so we’ll take a look at the biggest Ocean City news event of the year, which happened to occur as the year ran down. We were blessed with a couple weeks of near-perfect beach weather which gave both the economy and all of our dispositions a boost. As I wrote here earlier, for those of us who live at or near the beach there really is no defined “Last Beach Day.” My family might take a sick day in October if the weather’s nice and head out to get our feet wet one last time. Similarly, people who own condos often have a closing date, sometimes Thanksgiving, and fair weather will draw them in impromptu mass-migrations to the region for a quick getaway.

I’m not much of a weather watcher, but sometimes on a Friday afternoon I’ll notice the traffic thickening and figure the autumn weekend has been forecast to be fair. I won’t pretend that I don’t have a certain smugness when it comes to these afternoons, or at least that I didn’t before coming to work here. Now the smugness has been replaced by both a knowing and a sense of responsibility. When the weather is supposed to be unseasonably fair in Ocean City I have something of a responsibility to get the word out.

I wrote several stories over the last three months talking about how much there is to do in the winter and how many of the attractions are open, but there was a certain “All Hands On Deck” quality to the news that Christmas week was expected to have 70 degree weather. This mostly had to do with the confluence between the days off so many families have and the peculiarity of the event. The number of photos posted to our Facebook page by people enjoying themselves on Christmas Day truly was astounding.

fishing on the beach
More than a couple people tested out their Christmas presents. There were people fishing and surfing all up and down the beach.

It was a pleasure to work Christmas Day, if walking on the beach and posting photos to Facebook counts as work. For me, it was a great reminder of how well an otherwise ugly-to-mediocre year came to an end. We all lost people this year and that never is pleasant but neither is it unique. The fact that mortality pops out of nowhere occasionally and gives us a little prod is a central part (or at least ought to be) of why we make the choices we make. I’m not much on resolutions for lots of reasons, but mostly because the intention of them is a little wonky.

Changing yourself is a process that starts long before you make the decision. You have an inkling that something is amiss and meditate on it—”I really should drop a couple of pounds” or “I’ve really got to get out from under this hellish job” or whatever. The point is, we all know the changes we want to make, the changes we have to make and the distance between what we’re willing to do, what we’re able to do and what we have to do. A New Year’s Resolution often seems to me like a commitment to start taking these problems seriously, but what makes them difficult to sustain is that we too often decide to do a thing without thinking of the implications attached.

For my part, I will resolve to get to the beach more. It’s easy to accomplish as well as necessary for my new job. It will improve and change my life and my relationship to the world. Most of all, it will help me to recognize that no one ever wishes they’d spent more time the odious things at the end of their lives. But doing less odious things is an attitude and a process. It means deciding what you would rather do without and accepting the implications.

In the coming year, I hope you can win that battle more than you lose it. Stay happy, stay safe, use your time wisely and get away as often as possible.

Happy New Year.

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