By Barb Hansen
An anniversary is to celebrate, certainly. It’s also a good time to check vital signs, especially pulse and perspective.
Vic and I celebrate two anniversaries in July. Our wedding and our yacht-charter firm, Southwest Florida Yachts. Number 26 for both. Silver-plus.
I’m happy to report our vitals are within normal limits. However, on the business side, our pulse is up a bit. I attribute it to uncertainties of the oil leak.
Fortunately, perspective is as it is supposed to be. Age and anniversaries give us perspective which, I think, is the best vital sign of all for gauging the health of an enterprise, marriage or business.
Being a boater adds a dose of perspective, too. The sea, like life, is not predictable. We may plan a cruise but big seas or threat of a storm will change our minds.
The oil has not reached our near-shore waters or our beaches in Southwest Florida and I don’t think it will. No guarantees, of course.
But it is a huge challenge for those in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama with tar balls on their marshes and beaches.
The oil situation is a biggie, no doubt about it. But 26 years of operating a charter boat business and a marriage have taught us to take the long view.
I’ve told this story before but in 1984, the year we got married and the year we opened the business nuclear arms controls with the USSR were falling apart and many thought -- I thought -- we were close to having a nuclear war. It didn't happen. I gained a bit of perspective on that one.
Remember 9/11? More than 3,000 people died. Business stopped all over the U.S., not just in the Gulf region. And, as with the spill, there was uncertainty. We wondered how bad would terrorism get? Will they poison our water supply? Blow up a nuclear power station? So far; so good. More perspective.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed 230,000 people. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was no slouch, killing 1800 people and causing $84 billion in damages.
As of this date the BP oil leak, I have read, is not even the biggest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1979 an oil well in Mexico blew out and spewed something like 140 million gallons of oil before it was capped. Oil washed up on the shores of Mexico and the U.S.
It was bad but, ultimately, the sea won that one. There are living microbes in the water that consume oil, some of which leaks naturally from the floor of the Gulf.
Disasters are killers. They cause damage. And when we don’t know how bad one is going to get, the natural reaction is fear. Perspective helps us manage that fear.
We can’t give in to fear or we would become paralyzed. We wouldn’t go out of our house, or drive a car, or get in a boat if we let what ifs rule. We simply can’t dwell on the what ifs in life if we really want to live without fear
The BP oil leak is a toughie as disasters go but we will get through it like we do all other challenges. That’s my perspective.