Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day!!!

True stories about what happens when a girl from the big city moves to a rock in the pacific without a life raft

Archive for the ‘Twenties’ Category

No expectations, no regrets, A life worth living

Posted by Jenni C. on November 18, 2013

The best things in life are often the most unexpected.

I love moments of self-reflection. Looking back on life’s moments always offers me greater insight into what I am fully capable of accomplishing in life. Life always has a way of working out if we choose to let it work. For that I am eternally grateful. Moments of self-reflection help me to realize how far I have come in my own personal growth, and remind constantly that life is a journey. At times that journey is slow, at times it moves faster than I can ever imagine, but I am always evolving on this journey.

The exciting part; you never know where the journey will take you. The scary part; you never know where the journey will take you. But you feel the need to go. I like to go fast.  In February of 2009 I packed up everything I had, left everything I knew, left everyone I knew, and moved to an island in the middle of the pacific. Having no idea where I was going, and vague plans that I could only hope would work out I began a new journey.  I had no idea of what I would find, no idea who I would meet, and had no expectations. It felt right, so I ran with it. Scary? Well, yes maybe a little. Was it needed? Yes most definitely.

In September of 2013  it was time to close my Hawaiian chapter, a bitter-sweet ending to an unbelievable journey. I arrived on the island emotionally empty. To be honest, I had hit life’s emotional rock bottom. Nothing mattered. To be in a state of going through the motions just because you have to, felt like a state of not living. My life needed more, my challenge was to find it.

I spent the last 4 and a half years of my life on the island of Oahu.  Wow writing this from a Washington DC coffee shop, it’s still hard to believe that it was not all a dream. I arrived with nothing, I left with more than I could have ever imaged. I was happy.  How did that happen? My emotionally empty glass was suddenly full.   I gained a new family or Ohana as they say in Hawaiian. I never thought I would meet people who would overwhelm me with a sense of Aloha. I was embraced by an amazing level of kindness from day one.  Friendships were formed. People cared about me. Strangers grew to love me, and will always have a place in my heart for them. I always thought the only people who would ever care about me lived on the east coast. I was never alone on the island in the middle of the pacific. I had people who loved me. Why is that so hard for me to believe? Even as I sit here and write, it seems like a dream. A false reality that never existed. A made up adventure of my life. But it really happened. I lived it. A  time in my life when I was able to let go and live. To prove to myself that I could live. Living was OK, I gave myself permission to just live.

When I was packing up all my belongings to leave Hawaii, I wondered to myself how did I get here. Seriously, I felt like I was in a fog when I left New York on that cold February morning in 2009. I cried all the way to my first layover in LAX. It was a day I will never forget. That force of knowing that my life needed change, gave me the strength to leave. When I was packing up my apartment in Honolulu, many times I wanted to cry. I had that part of me that wanted to stay. I had built a new life. Fearful that I would have to start over again. Fearing what the east coast would now hold for me. I was leaving different. I wasn’t the same girl who arrived on the rock in 2009. In essence I had changed. That’s what life is about, changing. I could never have lasted as long so far away from familiarity if I had remained the same. Somewhere along the line I grew up. I found hobbies. I fell in love. I fell in love with the island, with adventure, with mountains, with the ocean, with the culture. In my mind, shoot I was local. Even though I could never master the art of speaking pigeon, and still would never attempt to pronounce many of the Hawaiian street names, I still felt a sense of local flavor.

I went with no expectations, and gained more than I could ever imagine. I made new friends. My newfound extended ohana took care of me.  Those friends  pulled me through the bad days, and made good days all the more exciting. It worked. Life worked the way it was supposed to. I learned lessons. Even though I wanted to figure out if I could really cut my own safety net of my family and friends in New York while managing alone, that was impossible. I learned that no matter where I am in the world life can never be done alone. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. I found friends. Friends that helped me adapt. Friends that cared, friends that loved me, and made me feel at home. Friends that would miss me when I’m gone.

As each day passes here in the east, it all continues to feel like a dream. Was that time a brief intermission in life a time solely for me to recollect myself? Or maybe it serves a greater purpose that I am yet to find out. Not sure what is up next. All I know now is that as I begin to settle in again on the east coast, and embrace winter, God is always at work, and He always has a plan. I just can’t wait to see what happens next, but until then I will continue to live.

Advertisements

Posted in Black women, Finding meaning, Goals, Hawaii, New York, random, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help, single girl, Turning 30, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10 years ago I was 21

Posted by Jenni C. on April 4, 2013

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.

Posted in Finding meaning, Life, random, Relocation, Self Discovery, Turning 30, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

29 and counting…part 3 Getting over the defeat

Posted by Jenni C. on October 16, 2011

5 months, 3 days away from turning 30

A few weeks ago I was feeling really defeated. I just wanted to quit. I wanted to quit everything. I was done. I felt tired of trying and not getting any results. What was I trying to do? Well now that I’m over my feeling of defeat, I am re-examining exactly what it is that I want to do. I start to ask myself, What am I really looking for?

At the end of my twenties, I feel like I followed the path of life that I supposed to go on. At least the plan that my parents may have had for me. I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated from college, even graduated from grad school at NYU! I started working for employers in my field, made a career for myself, moved to the other side of the world, survived in Hawaii, and now I wonder: What’s supposed to come next!

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

What is my next move, and how do I start to make it. I feel like the person in the Robert Frost poem, The Road not taken. I am at a crossroads of two diverging roads, so obviously I should take the road less traveled by. The problem is I don’t even have a sense of which road has been less traveled.

In actuality I always have taken the road less traveled. My life is a representation of taking that chance to make the difference. However, today as I move closer to 30 it appears that life has hit me with uncertainty. Uncertainty about if  that road that few go down is really the right road. I wonder about my career. I love my job, but do I want to do this forever. Should I get a Ph.D. to excel in my career, or do I just want a Ph. D. so people can call me Doctor. I can’t let my ego make life decisions for me, in the end I will just end up in a never-ending battle with my own self.  When I have accomplished everything that was on my “to do” list, what am I really supposed to do next.  Make a new list possibly? Okay, what do I put on it.  The plan that I had at 19 once seemed that it would last  for the rest of my life. At 29 I wonder how long my next plan will last. I really don’t want this feeling again at 39.

There are days when I want to hide, I want to disappear, so I don’t have to make decisions for my own life. I tell myself “WAKE UP!” this is adulthood, accept responsibility for your own life. I wonder if I should try a new career, but what would I do? Would I even like it? I guess I won’t know until I make an attempt. I wonder if I should move to a new city, but will I be happy there?  I need to stop wondering and just do something, anything.  So here it goes, I will set out again on that road less traveled by. I’m going to enter 30 with at new plan, a new outlook, complete bigger and better accomplishments. To fight the feeling of uncertainty I will remember: My best days are ahead of me, and I just have to live for today.

 Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Posted in Finding meaning, Goals, Life, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

29 and counting part 2

Posted by Jenni C. on August 21, 2011

 

Presently 6 months and 28 days away from 30!              

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Something happens as you get older.  Time starts to fade, and outsiders are suddenly more interested in your personal life than they really should be. Lately I have noticed that more and more people actually have expectations for where I should be in my life. Not career wise because they see that I love my job, and I am independent enough to support myself, but they have a strong interest in my love life. I don’t think I care as much about my own love life as other people do. Why do they care so much? Sometimes I wonder what is so wrong with their own life that they seem to take so much time caring about mine. Yeah, I do go against the grain. I have never been a normal chick anyway. I prefer to march to the beat of my own drum, that way I don’t have to adjust to a new beat when I hate the song anyway. I live my life my way, and it works for me.

In my pre-phase for 30, I already go into each week knowing that at least three people are going to ask me if I am married, do I have a boyfriend, or do I have kids. The follow-up question being, why not? With a comment of, “you are so pretty”.  I have been asked these questions so much that the answers no to all of them, and it just hasn’t happened,  roll off my tongue in the same manner as if someone were to ask me my first name.

As I get older societal expectations grow. Some days it can be overwhelming. In true form, I ignore them. Independence is an anomaly, and to be connected to something, or someone is a 30 something  must have.

I on the other hand look at the glass half full. News flash #1: It is not hard to get married. Believe it or not there are men who want to get married. So sure I could have been married by now.  Would I have been happy? Probably not. Marriage does not guarantee love or happiness. So where would that leave me, 7 months away from 30 and possibly on the road to my first divorce. Yeah, I’ll pass on that one. 30 and divorced does not sound like much fun.

The subject of kids. Yeah, I guess I want them one day. News flash #2, It is not hard to make a baby! So sure I could have had kids by now. My life plan just worked out a little bit differently.  I have more to learn about myself before kids enters the plan.  I love kids, but I also love returning them back to their parents after a few hours.

At 30 people may wonder more than ever when I will settle down, and adjust to what is expected of me. Not sure.  But, I know that I am just where I need to be in life and so life is good.

A daily reminder to myself,  in actuality I am happy where I am at. I went through a lot to get here, so why not enjoy the moment. Five years ago the thought of being able to watch a sunset in Waikiki was an impossible dream that would never happen. Today it is my reality. My life did not happen by accident, it comes with purpose.

A  good friend of mine always tells me not to allow someone to enter my life who is going to take away my happiness. If I allow myself to fall to the pressures of society before the time is right, the end result may be a sacrifice of my happiness. Today I choose to own my happy.

 

To be continued…

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Posted in Finding meaning, Life, Love, Relocation, self help, single girl, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

29 and counting….Part 1

Posted by Jenni C. on August 9, 2011

I once heard someone say what is the point of being 29 if all you do is think about turning 30. I agree!

Presently I am 7 months and 10 days away from my 30th birthday. I have decided to document my journey through the dark cloud that encompasses the last days of my twenties. This is Part 1.

I am starting to think that being 29 is probably the worst age ever. I used to think being 15 was bad. At 15 all the talk was about turning 16. I had envisioned my life magically changing at 16. It didn’t. It was the same. Same school, same friends, same life, same me.

Now, I think being 29 is worse. I know better since I am older. I know my life will not magically change on my 30th birthday. It will be the same life. Of course, I will be the same person. Yet, why does it feel so scary when I think about turning 30? I never imagined what my life would be like at 30, I always thought it was too far away to think about. Now it’s coming up, and coming up quick. Inside I want to just run away, but I have to face it in full force. Life at 30, no turning back.

When I first turned 29 it wasn’t so bad. Another year of life. I still felt like I was 22. Somedays I still think I am 22. But I’m not 22, I’m 29! When people ask me my age, I often forget that I am 29. I want to say 22 or 24 or 26, then it hits me, I am really 29. When the response is “wow, you don’t look 29!”,  implying that I must be much younger, unfortunately I am not flattered. I do feel that I have a youthful essence. However, I think I really must be old if the response sends someone into a state of shock. Though I know being 29 or 30 are not really “old” ages, these are ages that take on a lot of responsibility. Responsibilities that I don’t want some days. I can’t go socially embarrass myself in public, or on Facebook, or Twitter, and blame it on my young age. I can’t sleep all day and blow off work like they are classes in college. I hate to drink during the week because the hangover is miserable.  I have to think seriously about retirement, and have invested interest in the debt ceiling crisis, all because I realize that congressional decisions affect my livelihood. I am forced to be an adult every day I wake up. I am turning 30.

One of my best friend’s turned 30 a few weeks ago. In her true extroverted fashion she had a foam party. Why not? It’s fun and reminds us even at 30 we are still young. She asked me what we are going to do for my 30th birthday. My response, sit around and cry. I can’t help it, I am really not looking forward to this. Her response was, no I am not going to let that happen. And I know if she can help it, she won’t let me mope around with pity because I am a day older than I was the day before. I will have to take 30 like a true champion, with a smile.

At 29 I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis. I feel the need to kick start my life into gear before I turn 30. It’s time to step up to life. It is my go hard, or go home moment. I have questions for my life. I question my choices in dating, which dates I should go on, and which ones I should just outwardly reject.  I question my career frequently. Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life? What if I want to do something else? A career where I can allow my true self and talents to shine. How would I go about doing that? I have invested a lot of time and money into my current career. Am I allowed to just throw that all away out of indecisiveness and moments of boredom? Have I set myself up for a successful life, or is there much more I need to work on?

To be continued….

Posted in dating, Fears, Finding meaning, Life, New York, Paradise, random, Relocation, Self Discovery, self help, single girl, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Happy Soundtrack- I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too

Posted by Jenni C. on August 3, 2011

Honolulu from Diamond Head.

Image via Wikipedia

Back in Honolulu!

I wake up and  it is another beautiful day in Honolulu. The sun is shining, I look over my balcony at the mountains going towards the Pali, and my day starts off with a smile. How could it not? I already know that I am alive, I feel healthy (well most of the time), and I have a lot to look forward to. So each day I tell myself, “I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too”, as sung by Leona Lewis.

Flashback to a few years ago. I remember a time when I didn’t smile as much. I would wake up in New York sad. Unhappy with my job, my personal life, nothing seemed to be where I needed it to be in life. Life for me was out of place. I would wonder, where did my happy go? During that time I had a sad soundtrack. You know that soundtrack we have for moments of self pity. Those times when we want to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves and just cry (or maybe I am the only one who has one of those). My sad soundtrack was a running playlist of songs on my ipod that I would play over and over again. I would go into a deeper feeling of self-pity each time I listened to these songs. The problem? The only person who knew I was sad was me! I would be sad to myself. So obviously the only person able to get me off the sad train to nowhere was me.

In case you need a soundtrack for moments of brief sadness (keep them brief!), I can help you out. I know a great list of songs that really fit the mood. As much as I listened to them, I could say in some strange way they did catapult me out of those moments of sadness. My advice to you: don’t stay on your pity pot too long, it us fine to sit on it sometimes. But, try not to do it too often, and bounce off of it as fast as you can. If you sit too long you may get stuck.  Being happy is a whole lot easier than loathing in self-pity.

Better in Time

Image via Wikipedia

My sad soundtrack was most used for those post breakup moments (of course, I’m a girl!) Those moments when love was lost, and I felt my world was about to come to a crashing halt, with no plan how I will get out of it. The more I listened to each song, I thought maybe it will put a stitch back in my heart one by one, but no it didn’t. Eventually only time did that. But my sad playlist did offer me some comfort while riding on the NY city subway!

In case you were wondering, here are some of my favorites for my past of sadness:

  1. Usher-Burn
  2. Chris Brown- Say Goodbye
  3. Leona Lewis- Better in Time
  4. India Arie- This too shall pass- *Favorite*
  5. Mariah Carey- I stay in love
  6. Boyz II Men- Doing just fine, or Seasons of Loneliness
  7. Alicia Keys- Sleeping with a broken heart
Wow those songs are sad,
My Happy soundtrack is much better, it’s motivating, inspirational, and keeps me on my daily vote of confidence that, I am That Chick! It keeps me smiling, keeps me positive, and reminds me through moments of sadness, life always get’s so much better.
These are my favorites from my Happy Soundtrack:
  1. Brandy- Camouflage
  2. Just Stand up!- Various female artist including, Mariah Carey,  Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna
  3. Beyonce- Ego
  4. Bruno Mars- Just the way you are
  5. Fabolous- You be killin em
  6. Ace Hood, Rick Ross, Jasmine Sullivan- Champion- *Favorite*
  7. Flo Rida- Who Dat Girl
  8. Pink- F**kin’ Perfect
  9. Keri Hilson- Pretty Girl Rock
  10. Natasha Bedingfield- Unwritten
  11. Kelly Rowland- Heaven and Earth

What’s included on your Happy Soundtrack?
*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

Posted in Fears, Finding meaning, Life, Love, Moving, Relocation, Twenties | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »