Happy & Free

33 Days of Truth: Day 26

Happy & Free

Ten minutes to boarding!

I’m at the Kahului airport on Maui, Hawaii, sitting beside my tabby cat in his carrier (sorry Nalu!) and reflecting on how, after a year and a half on the island, I am leaving. What an adventure moving to Maui with my mom and sister has been.

It was a teary “Goodbye for now!” with my mom at the gate, with us hugging as long as we could, holding hands over the TSA ropes and laughing and waving until I stepped out of sight in the security line.

…Aaaaand we’re boarding. I was mistaken about that ten minutes. More later!

Later: (“One Eternity Later”)

Where was I?

Saying aloha to my mama. *tear*

She was the reason I ended up in Hawaii in the first place. Throughout her life, she was drawn to return to these islands, having lived several years on Oahu as a girl. She planned to move to Maui after my youngest brother graduated high school, and dreamed every day for those four years about when she would finally be back in paradise.

My sister and I jumped on board with this dream of hers at different points. I can’t even recall exactly how it went, but I do remember nearing graduation from university, knowing I would no longer be pursuing a career in filmmaking, and wondering what on earth I would do next.

Live in paradise with Mom? O-K!

We then added our own excitement into the mix, and Mom’s dream became our dream. With a shared vision for cultivating a more blissful life on the island, we came up with the idea of collaborating on a lifestyle blog together, and calling it Happy and Free. That was our jam. Our intention and goal. Be happy. Live free. We would follow our bliss to the tropical shores of Maui. We would share that journey, and our joy, with the world. 

As the big move approached, some major financial concerns came down the line that derailed me from the “happy and free” expectations of island life. I was majorly stressing out, unsure of how we would pull off the move or be able to get by if we did. I was scared and dragging down the whole operation. I had to work through it, holding to the conviction that backing out from fear would be a step in the wrong direction. No matter what happened, it was worth trying. I reaffirmed my commitment, and leaned in with my mom and sister to make the leap of faith.

The big move was a magical time, but it was not without its challenges, nor without clashes among the power trio (as we call ourselves). I did enough worrying out for three, which felt necessary given that my mom and sister were so starkly easy and relaxed in their approach, opting to trust and go with the flow rather than make any solid plans or attempt to exercise some control over how things would go.

It was like being on a roller coaster. I was the serious one who wanted us all to buckle up with seat belts, while the two of them just grinned and threw their hands excitedly in the air, ready for a wild ride.

Admittedly, their carefree attitude rather grated on my nerves. They optimistically insisted that everything would work out; meanwhile I felt I was the only one being realistic, hitting the pavement and taking measurable action to ensure it things would indeed work out, rather than simply hoping for the best.

I don’t think I was necessarily out of line, freaking out about flying by the seat of our pants in such a big life transition. It certainly motivated me to get s*** done. But our move was also a huge personal lesson for me to “hang loose”. It helped me in understanding that life is life, and whether I resist it, worry about it, try desperately to control it, or if I allow, relax, and collaborate with it… life will continue on and things will fall into place one way or another, no matter what.

Island life did not unfold as we expected, and my sister and mom experienced many challenges, as I did. Yet it all happened, we did it, and I can see now just how unnecessary the stress and fear I felt was in bigger picture.

The original plan had been to find a place where all three of us could stay. We ended up with conflicting desires and needs for where to live and what to do, and as a result we spread out on different sides of the island. We connected as often as we could, and made great memories. But the distance, along with the intensity of starting from scratch in a new place, relegated our lifestyle blog to the hangar where it sat grounded for over a year.

Now, as my sister and I have flown off to new adventures, and Mom has remained on island, our “happy and free” vision has evolved in new directions, one dream expanding into three and yet when through with similar passion and purpose. We are each working with our own version of it, leaning into that with a greater, truer sense of what that means to us individually.

We also each have a blog to share our own journey. Mom created Joyfully Christa. My sister has a website in progress as she pursues her dream of trekking the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m doing this 33 Days of Truth challenge, in an effort to make writing and personal growth the focus of my life.

Our dreams can look very different after takeoff than when the vision initially forms. Through this “happy and free” journey I have learned so much about trusting, about stepping forward into possibility and seeing what life can do (and what I can do, too).

It’s up to us to take the leap and start the journey. But we also need to learn to relax a little, and enjoy the ride.

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