Yes, it has been quite a long time since I posted a new blog item. As I recall, it was back sometime in the spring of this year. The time between then and now has been busy and exhausting in so many ways, as often it is when your life revolves around an island economy based on a summer season. The usual time of slowing down somehow came and went, for better or worse, depending on one’s perspective.
Even before the economy took a turn for the worse, the people with money started tightening their purse strings while summering here on Martha’s Vineyard. The summers of 2006 and 2007 were significantly slower for many businesses than in the heydays of what many refer to as “the Clinton Era” on the island. While many business owners got out while the getting was good, many others “doubled down”, expecting thing to come around in short order; little did they know what was to come.
This past season was the time when many clients I had not seen since the financial crisis started to show up again. Maybe it was a sign of the overall economy slowly recovering or possibly certain individuals just started to feel more comfortable spending a little extra again. For whatever reason, my schedule in the office was as full and as steady as I could endure. I say endure because there are no lunch breaks, days off or any down time to speak of; I have to make hay while the sun shines.
I usually equate my season to running a marathon; it may be long and arduous, but there is a finish line that will be crossed after a set distance. The finish line for most of the seasonal work on the island falls between Labor Day and Columbus Day, depending on the flow of tourist traffic and the business in question. Well, this year the finish line kept moving further down the road. As I write this blog, this is the second full day off since May. All and all, I would say that it was a financially successful season; in other ways it was certainly less so.
After fifteen seasons of chaos, I have begun to wonder how much longer I can sustain the pace. This was the year I truly felt the stress mentally and physically. It should be said that while my line of work tends to be less physically demanding than many of occupations available on the island, as a business owner that had based my personal expenditures such as mortgage, taxes, and insurance on an income of the “better” years of 2004 and 2005 and trying to remain current on all of those financial burdens can wear on one’s body as well as one’s mental state.
So push to the side all personal matters; relationships, health issues, social obligations. There was work that was there for the taking. Never mind the rude people that unceremoniously hung up on my receptionist if I was not available at a moment’s notice, or for late sessions, I had more than I could possibly handle for most of the season. As the season wore on, I found myself not doing any “extra” hours. It felt as if I could not form a free thought other than it was going to end.
Now, after the coaching of Cross Country has ended, the phone in the office has rung with less frequency; the end is nigh. Today I fussed with a car that has not run for six weeks, sifted through a dozen pages of accumulated emails, tried to make it through an hour of physical therapy on my hip, and finally posted a new blog entry. Huzzah!