By Jim Wynne
People always say they wish they had a time machine to go back and change the past in order to alter present circumstances, yet rarely consider changing the present to alter future circumstances.
Today is tomorrow’s yesterday. This moment, right now, is the closest to the past you’ll ever be and the farthest into the future you’ve ever been. We bemoan the changes that took us away from “the good ol’ days” without doing anything to maintain the best of days in which we currently live.
Yes, San Clemente used to be a smaller town. But it is still a small town today. Yes, San Clemente used to be a free-wheeling, Wild West surf wonderland. But it is still a wondrous surf paradise in our backyards today.
Yes, San Clemente used to only have small mom-and-pop businesses. But it still has a majority of small mom-and-pop businesses today. Yes, San Clemente used to be where all the local kids knew each other by name. But it is still a community where I want my kids to know everyone today.
As I get older, the time it takes me to travel into the future passes quicker and quicker; no DeLorean required. I blink, and my youngest kids are two inches taller, my oldest daughter is surviving another week of college finals, and my middle son has been promoted to a new rank in the Marines again. Forget 88 mph; my back hurts just going from the couch to the kitchen and back in 0-60 minutes.
I’m more joking than geriatric, but I do feel a profound sense of nostalgia now at 52 years old, thinking back to San Clemente when I was 32. Yet in another 20 years, at 72, I’ll shake my fist at the sky and tell my grandkids that things are no longer the way they were when I was 52.
All right, Jim, lay off the eggnog; is this a self-eulogy or a Chamber of Commerce citywide yuletide contemplation?
It’s the latter, I promise. Like Ebenezer Scrooge and his time-traveling phantoms, I hope to humbly present you the gift of perspective, and with it the ability to change what happens when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives.
This holiday season, as we decorate our homes, hang our wreaths, light our candles, and conduct our business in the shadow of the pending Amazon project, unpredictable pandemic times, and political drama of all sorts, consider how your choices today will alter our jolly merrymaking come 2041.
Support your neighbors; they are the moms and pops who own the mom-and-pop places here. Forget two-day delivery. Try same-day pickup by walking into a shop on Avenida Del Mar or check out one of the front-office retail options in our awesome San Clemente and Talega business parks. Tell Santa to buy his gifts here in SC, not on the AtoZ.
Let our New Year’s resolutions this year be worthy of the Christmas morning we wish to wake up to in two decades.
The next time I’m in the future, I plan on having done something to change it. I ask that you join me in less conspiracy, more community. Less fear, more friendships. Less big business, more better business. Less money, more morals. Less Facebook, more face-to-face. Less complaints, more compliments. Less past, more future.
Shop small. Stay local. Think positive. Test negative. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours, and on behalf of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, we wish you all a good night. See you in the future, friends.
Jim Wynne, a San Clemente local, San Onofre Surfing Club president, and father of five, serves as chairman for the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. As senior vice president at Kidder Mathews, he has shown his dedication to helping small businesses with their real estate needs and protecting San Clemente’s small-town interests through active community participation and reporting on business news topics. Arrow Santos, a San Clemente native, professional writer/photographer, contributed to this column.