Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

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2014: The year of focus and personal accomplishments

Today is the first day of 2014. Happy New Year! Wow now what happened to 2013 again? I feel like a lot has happened in the year the last. It was another year of transition. A year of memories. A year of saying goodbye to old friends, and once again saying hello to lifetime friends. It was year of meeting new friends, it was a year that is worth remembering.

Exactly one year ago I would have never imagined that I would be once again living on the east coast. I would have never imagined that I would be permanently living in the an area with freezing cold winter nights, cleaning snow off my car, and wearing layers of winter clothes. Life again has worked out in an unexpected way. In 2013 I learned more about myself. I learned that I am in control of my life, no matter how chaotic it may seem, ultimately I have control. 2013 was a year of personal accomplishments, I ran my first half marathon! I learned to accept my love-hate relationship with running. I laughed a lot in 2013. Life was good. I smiled even in those times when there was little to nothing to smile about. I learned to appreciate me. I took risks, and I fell back in love with me.

I feel like 2013 was the year of me. When I look back over the year I feel like I spent a lot of time alone, yet I hardly ever had times of feeling lonely. I was able to enjoy the things I loved, not do the things I didn’t, and somewhere along the line I feel like I grew into a better version of myself. I hope that growth continues in 2014.

Life changed over the last few months. Adjusting back to the mainland after living on a rock in the middle of the pacific is not easy. I feel like I was thrown a curveball even though I know what is expected from life on the mainland. Yet it still remains slightly difficult some days to get used to. A challenge yes, but a necessary challenge indeed. 2013 you were a year with unexpected surprises, new friends, new home, and new job. Life is always changing, here is another change to overcome.

2014 will be my year of adjustment, always working on me, continuing to grow, learn, and accomplish something that is truly amazing. My personal theme for 2014 will be focus. To focus on all aspects of life a little more. Take in each moment and remember that life moments are always changing so enjoy them while I can. 2014 will be my year! My year to stop saying what I want to do and just do. Go for it. I feel the need for increased motivation, internal fulfillment, and to remember to live a life worth living. Personally I think 2014 will be a big year, and as always the best is yet to come! And finally I am ready.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Self torture continued, my road to running in a half marathon

inspration

I despise running so I signed up to run a half marathon. I know what your thinking, yes I am a walking oxymoron. Me and running have a hate-hate relationship. There is no room for love in that equation, and I seriously doubt that running has any love for me, so the mutual hate between myself and running is the perfect complement to this relationship.

So why run 13.1 miles for no good reason if you hate running so much?

Ahhh, good question. Why run 13.1 miles. To be honest some days 13. 1 miles seems like an incredibly far distance to drive, let alone run. Why run then? I wish I had one of those overly inspirational stories for you, like an example of how my life will forever be changed, or that I am running to raise money for a good cause, or I almost died and this is my chance to prove that I am alive and better than ever. Well, lucky for me I have not had a near death experience, my life will most likely be exactly the same the first minute after I reach the finish line, and I probably could be raising money for a really good cause, but I’m not. Maybe I should look into that one.

In reality, I am running just to say that I can complete a 13 mile run, and to win this competition that I am having solely with myself to prove that I can finish a half marathon in 2 hours or, at least 2 hours and 5 minutes.

I have never run 13 miles before. I don’t know if I will ever run it again. All I know is that in 25 days, I will be running. And I will finish. Whenever I run I constantly repeat to myself the saying: “finish stronger than you started”. I hope that kicks in around mile 11, because by that time I will just want to finish.

I have no intention of ever running a full marathon. 26.2 miles, now that is wayyyyy too many miles. For all who have completed one or multiple full marathons, much congrats! Today I drove 26 miles. I felt like that was too long. To run that distance, well not in my foreseeable future.

13.1. The magic number. I will take all wishes of luck starting now.

My life is full of surprises. Who knew that at 31 I would be running my first half marathon. At age 15, I hated to run 1 mile. At 15 if someone had told me that I would be running a half marathon in 16 years I would have laughed. At 15 I was the fat kid. I hated exercise because it hurt. I was 15 and nearly 200 pounds, wearing a size 16-18. Yeah I hated shopping, and health was at the bottom of my priority list.  At 15 I thought that I would never be attractive, I thought I would never have a boyfriend, and I had never imagined what life would be like at less than 200 pounds. Plus size was my life.

At age 31, well lets just say that I have lost about 40 pounds along the way, no more plus size clothing, and without running, or yoga, or crossfit,  my day feels incomplete.

Wait! I think I found it. The inspiration!

For that sad 15-year-old girl who is living inside of me, I am going to kick the ass of these 13.1 miles. To prove to her that she can do anything. To prove to her that she has always been pretty no matter what size she is, that she can have any life she so chooses, and  just because she can’t do something now, well it doesn’t mean she won’t be able to demolish it 16 years from now.

I hate running, but I love life’s accomplishments. My 13.1 is about so much more than running. That good cause that I was looking for earlier, well call me selfish but the cause is all about me. It’s about everything that defines living, and taking back my life. To prove that I can do what I thought was severely impossible just a few years ago is truly an accomplishment. Although I will probably never (actually maybe I shouldn’t  say never), but probably never run a 26.2, that 13.1 will still make all the difference. Life is worth living, live it!

Also, as I run, I will remember closely the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Those individuals who set out to accomplish a goal, and the family members who came out to watch. Sadly tragedy has overtaken their personal accomplishments. Lets always remember Boston, and spread a message of peace on a daily basis.

 

 

positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences. 

 

 

My mother: Over 50, Fabulous, Fearless, and ready to take on the world!

When I was child I thought my mother was superwoman, she always knew everything and had all the answers. When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to move out and get far away from mom because obviously, I knew everything and parents were no longer needed after the age of 14 (except for money). Between the ages of 14 and 21,  I just knew that I had all the answers. Now as a 31-year-old woman, I know with absolute certainty that mom is a mix of superwoman, combined with a woman who does not always have all the answers. The best part; she is not to afraid to admit that she does not have as many answers as I once thought. Therefore, my 31-year-old self can just say that my mother is truly amazing.

A few days ago mom celebrated her 59th birthday. As she reaches her final year in her 50’s, and prepares for her 60th birthday week bash next year, I must say that mom is truly an inspiration, the epitome of the woman who I desire to become. She is over 50, Fabulous, Fearless, and more ready than ever to take on the world.

While I was growing up I strived to make mom proud. Looking back as an adult I appreciate her approach to parenting. She allowed me to make my own mistakes and develop my own life path. If and when I messed up, she allowed me to learn how to fix it, always offering help when she saw that help was needed. It’s funny how life happens and how times change. As an adult, I am watching mom grow into the woman who she was always meant to be. She is meeting the strong, confident, driven woman who has been living inside of her, yet she had always feared letting her out. Day by day as I watch mom grow, and learn I smile. For all those years of her being proud of me, now I am the one who is proud of her.

On the refrigerator at our house in Queens there is a quote by Joel Osteen, it says “your best days are yet to come”. When I go home I always look at that quote and think to myself, wow, mom is actually living that way. I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life begins after 50. I don’t know what happens after 50 because I’m still tying to figure out my 30’s however, when I think about what mom has accomplished over the past decade, then life must be great after 50. My mom has started to live. Sure she had a life before 50, she is married with 3 kids. She had a life that consisted of taking care of other people, hardly taking care of herself. I grew up watching her give all of her to everyone around her, leaving little to noting left for her as an individual. She frequently put her needs aside to be the best mother for our family. However, today at 59 she can put her needs first to be the best person to herself. She has finally started to show herself that she matters, and with that comes a sense of peace and happiness.

A few years ago mom started going back to school. Taking one to two classes a semester, she has the determination and the heart to earn a college degree. That makes me proud. She pushed me to earn a college degree, I actually did not believe I had a choice to do anything else. Now I can push her to earn her very own college degree, leading her to believe that she has no other option. I tell her not to stop at an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree, to keep going for that master’s or Ph.D. I know she can do it, so why give up.

Being a woman over 50, mom has conquered many fears. She used to be afraid of the classroom, now she has the passion to learn. With the desire to know more information, she is no longer intimated by not being smart enough. She knows she can push through it, and succeed.

Mom was raised as a country girl in the south. She tells the story of when she first arrived in New York City at the age of 18, she was afraid to get on the escalator and ride it to the top of the bus station to meet her uncle who was picking her up that day. For a small town girl, the city was a huge scary place. However through fears, and doubts,  she ended up staying in New York, and made the big city her new home. She never trusted that she could conquer the city life, go to a museum, a restaurant, or a broadway play alone. Yet today, she is able to go anywhere in the city alone, and actually love it!

Mommy at Pearl Harbor

When I moved to Hawaii, mom supported my decision to move to an island in the middle of the pacific, where I have never been before, and knew absolutely no one but myself. She didn’t try to talk me out of it, or ask why. To my amazement she thought it was a good idea. Previously to my move, she had never travelled away from the east coast. Within a year of my move, she had made her first plane trip out to Hawaii. I quickly realized that my crazy, overly impulsive life decision, not only changed my life, but also affected a major change in mom’s life, and that change is very good.

The first time mom made her journey to Honolulu, she was overly fearful. Her first experience of taking a plane for over 10 hours, and having to fly for a full five and a half hours directly over the pacific ocean. Mom has a passionate fear of large bodies of water. Yet through it all, she made it and managed to return to Honolulu the following year. Currently she is preparing for her third trip out to the middle of the pacific, obviously she is filled with excitement.

For the small town girl from the south, mom has grown to appreciate life and what the world has to offer. On her last visit, we traveled to Maui. Many people spend their whole lives dreaming about what it would be like to actually be on the island of Maui, many die never knowing. At the age of 58 mom got her first experience at taking Maui by storm, and that experience was far better than what she had ever imagined.

Now if anyone ever travels with me, trust me, we will do any and everything possible in the least amount of time, probably getting the least amount of sleep. With mom it was no different. We were on Maui, and we were going to explore all of Maui. Mom is afraid of the water, yet she got on a boat to travel to the island of Lanai. Mom is afraid of heights, however without hesitation she went with my idea of taking a tour to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. That is a volcanic crater over 10,000 feet high, and it was about 30 degrees up there. To see God’s work as the sun rises over the clouds is definitely worth facing all fears, and taking in the freezing cold air. Such sights in life should never be missed, that is truly one of them.

Maui maui 2

On Oahu, I took mom to climb Diamond Head crater. Mom was still afraid of heights, and had never hiked up a volcano before in life. I was taking her on a hike that was 762 feet up a crater. Once we entered the park area, I pointed to where our end point was at the top of the mountain. She laughed, called me crazy, and adamantly said that she was not going up there. Her mind was set and she knew that she was not going to the top of that very large volcanic crater. I nicely convinced her to start walking, we started on the trail, one step at a time, and just kept going. Mom complained, cursed me, and I think she even yelled at me a few times while walking on the trail, then suddenly she could see the top. She could see the motivation to keep going. When she wanted to turn around, I reminded her that she could keep going, one step at a time, she was almost there. In my mind it was too late to turn around, she was so close to the end, why stop now. As she came upon on the final stairway to the top, she was more motivated than ever, other tourist gave her encouragement, and she was able to make it all the way to the top of the mountain. While we were at the top I pointed out to her where she started, and where she was when she finished. She finally saw how far had come just because she kept moving forward, she didn’t turn around, and despite all the odds due to being tired, and hot, she did not give up on herself.  A true metaphor for life. She was literally looking down on Waikiki. The fearful southern girl, who moved to New York at age 18,  now was over 50 experiencing life while looking down on the beaches of Waikiki. It may have seemed like a dream, but no that was mom’s reality.

Mom thought that she would never make it to the top, but she preserved and broke though her own self-doubt. On her journey she proved to herself  that she could do things that she would  have never thought were possible 10 or 20 years ago. It’s funny because now she can’t wait to climb Diamond Head again, and even wants to time herself to see how fast she can climb to the top. Yes, I have created a monster. But all I can do is sit back and smile, like the proud daughter that I have become.

Life is for living your dreams, and making those dreams come true. To talk to mom, puts my own life in perspective. Life is short, we have to live it today, life happens quick then its gone. Mom has found love in treating herself, finally. She takes herself on spa dates. Last month while I was in New York we went to the spa at the Trump hotel in lower Manhattan, she was reading a travel magazine which had an article on the Big Island. Now imagine the irony in that since we will be traveling to the Big Island in a few weeks. Just a few years ago, mom would have picked up that magazine and only have dreams of what it would be like to visit Kona, well that day she was able to plan what she would do, what she will see, and what she will eat, WHEN she arrives on Kona.

At 31, mom still is able to teach me so many lessons about life, and growing into a woman. I have realized that you can start living life at any age. Whenever you are ready, life is ready to have you live it. When I look at the 59-year-old woman my mom has become, I am so happy to see that she is more excited than ever as she ages. Her youthful spirit gives her the energy to keep going, he desire to learn gives her the will to grow, and her renewed sense of confidence gives her the ability the face the things she has feared all her life. Through my mom, I have learned how to live. Mom truly sets the example because, like mom, in 29 years as I am approaching the age of 60, I also want to be fabulous, fearless, and ready to take on the world!

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Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

10 years ago I was 21

Hello April, wow I feel like I went to sleep and I woke up and it was April 1st. Ok maybe it just has been a really long time since I have written anything new. I blame…procrastination.

Well a little over two weeks ago I turned 31. Not as exciting as turning 30, but I come back to you a year older.

31 is somewhat of a weird age for me. I am not sure if I should start crying now, or if I should be excited that I am growing in wisdom. What happens at 31? In the last two weeks since my 31st birthday, well I can honestly say that I feel no different from when I was 29 or 30. I just know that on my 31st birthday my mother so nicely told me that I was falling behind and needed to get on the ball because when she was 31 she was already married with two kids. My brother was 6 and I was 3. Is that where my life should be at this point? Could I see myself married with two kids at this time in my life? Well a part of me wants to laugh loudly at that thought. I have a feeling that a husband and a set of kids would cramp my entire style of free spiritness.

Well that’s not totally true, there are those days when I do wish I had a husband to do everything for me (that is what husband’s do right?). I would like to have kids who bear my resemblance so I could look at how cute they are, and have them follow me around because I am so awesome. Ok, maybe it is not that simple, but a family sometimes is a nice thought, that will come with time.

It feels slightly strange at 31 to be 10 years removed from 21. When I was 21 I felt like time stood still, I never really thought of what life would be like at 31. At 21 I knew that age 31 was ancient, and it was a far off age that would not find a place in my reality.

Where was I at 21? Well I was a senior in college, I knew I would go to graduate school, so I guess I had envisioned a future    up to age 25. My birthday was during spring break, so I celebrated it as a college spring breaker in South Beach, Miami. Oh memories. The days of reckless behaviors and irresponsible drinking, oh wait I still do the irresponsible drinking at times, but I will admit that the frequency has significantly decreased.

At 21 I felt like a child. At 31 I am a full-fledged adult. I wish there was a manual on how to be an adult, because I frequently wonder if I am doing it right. I am human, I make mistakes, I wish there was a way to avoid those mistakes.

As an adult I have responsibilities. Responsibilities not only to myself, but to my employer, to my clients, and to my family. Sometimes I miss the days of being a care free college student, although some college students have responsibilities to others, I sure wasn’t one of them. At 21 I felt life was hard, it wasn’t. I thought I knew all the answers, well I didn’t. I thought I had a perfectly thought out plan of what my life would be like, it didn’t work out that way. Life happens, plans change, daily.

At 31 I am not the same person that I was when I was 21. I consider that a very good thing. I have grown, learned more about myself, and can’t wait to grow some more. However, some days at 31 I still feel uncertain about life. At times I am unsure about plans, I question myself more than ever, I am on overdrive most days, and I feel like my life map has been thrown out the window. Direction would be nice at 31. At 21 I hated direction, at 31 I am begging for a clear planned out map. I guess I will start working on that now.

Life moves fast at 31. At 21, years moved at a snail’s pace, and  time took forever to jump forward. At 31, well I blink my eyes and suddenly its April. Time moves fast, I need to make the most out of being 31 before it’s over, and suddenly I will be crying for real at 32.

A small moment in time: Waking up in Honolulu

I woke up today back in Honolulu, back from my holiday vacation. What in reality was only a two week long east coast getaway, or vacation if you look at it that way, seemed like a much longer period of time. I feel like time stops in Honolulu whenever I leave. When I come back, I hit play and pick up where I left off.

I woke up this morning back in Honolulu. It was raining, and a bit windy. Eventually the clouds semi cleared up, of course it is a nice day. Whether it is rainy, voggy, cloudy, or sunny, it is a nice day in Honolulu. I felt refreshed when I woke up, although it took me a minute to readjust because I still thought I was in my parents house, in my room, and in my bed in New York. How did I know I was in Honolulu, well I wasn’t freezing because my mom had turned down the heat before she went to work. I didn’t have layers of 5-6 sheets on top of me and under my very thick blanket. I slept in shorts and not sweatpants, I was excited to get out of bed because I knew I would not be freezing as I made my way to the shower, no fear of getting out of the shower due to the thought that the whole house was cold. I woke up this morning in Honolulu, and I felt blessed. As I wake up I say, “Thank you God”, not just because I am in Honolulu, but because I am alive, I am healthy, I am ready to face another day, except today that day is in Honolulu.

Yesterday, I woke up in New York, went to the airport, and got on the plane to return to Honolulu. Now, I love with a passion being able to travel back and forth from New York to Honolulu, however, the plane ride can get annoying at times. Yesterday it was annoying. A straight flight from New York to Honolulu will take from 10-11 hours, that is a very long time. This blog is titled, “Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day” because it literally takes a whole day to travel from NYC to Honolulu. When my plane left Honolulu it was 10 am est, I arrived at 6:15 pm pst, which is 11:15 pm est standard time. The whole day was spent in transit. I did not fly direct, well I sorta did. See I few on United, which does have a direct flight to Honolulu from NYC, I didn’t take that flight.  The first leg of my flight was from NYC to Dulles International Airport in D.C. (less than an hour of flight time), My next leg was from D.C. to Honolulu ( a little over 10 hours of flight time), sound fun? No I didn’t think so.

10 hours on a plane. At least there were some free movies, I stress free movies because there certainly was no free food. Shame on you United Airlines, how do you have a flight that is traveling for 10 hours and not serve free food. I was upset because my ticket did say that they served dinner, silly me to think that the dinner was free. Instead they had meals for purchase. That is the biggest hustle if I have ever seen a hustle. Smart for the airline, bad for the stupid passenger that pays 600 dollars for the plane ticket. Really I am up in the air for 10 hours, you know at some point hunger will set in and the only food on board is the overpriced snack box and your 10 dollar cheese burger. What ever happened to the days of having free meals on long flights, are times really that hard? No chips, no peanuts, well I guess I am lucky the beverages are still free, for now.

Traveling from NY to Honolulu will never be fun, well maybe when I am able to afford a first class ticket it may get a little bit better, at least I can eat worry free on the plane.  There is a small silver lining however, as the plane prepares to land in Honolulu the view from the top of the clouds in priceless. The serene look above the clouds makes you want to just lay on them, as the sun sets it feels like earth is face to face with Heaven, and God is saying,  “be still, I got this”. As the plane goes into the Honolulu  airport, a moment of calmness passes while flying on the pacific, it seems so close yet you hope that the plane does not get any closer to the ocean (not sure how many pilots have perfected that water landing yet). Life seems to stop for a moment while in the air, the noise and chaos of what happens on land is non existent. Above it all, life is good.

Then suddenly you remember why you hate flying.   From the long security lines, to the overly annoying TSA agent checking your bag, your body, and every crack in between, to the flights that are constantly oversold, flying is not fun, ever. But since the only way to get from NY to Honolulu is by air, then I must fly, and sometimes starve.

I woke up today in Honolulu, but I also miss east coast life. I miss the fast paced, overly driven world of the east coast. some days in Honolulu I feel slow, I feel like my drive is gone, motivation lacking. When I go east it all comes back, I am excited to get back on my grind. With that feeling, I feel my days in Honolulu slowly coming to an end. My story may be done here, it may be time to start a new book. Honolulu has a life, a spirit, that I don’t feel can be matched anywhere else, but I came to Honolulu to grow, and now I may have out grown Honolulu. I will always be that girl from the east, and each day I feel the east coast calling me back louder.

So as I wake up tomorrow in Honolulu, I will remember to cherish the day, enjoy the moment, and take in the Aloha spirit  because I know that one day I will longer be waking up in Honolulu.