Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

maui 2

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Life and its uncertainty: What’s next?

I am back in New York this week. Yeah I know it seems like I was just here, what can I say I like to travel. Unfortunately traveling is   expensive 😦 so, I can not always do it as much as I would like. However, I must always find the time and money to return to my home state. When I come back to the big city it feels like I never left. The city looks the same, smells the same, and still has that same city feel that says welcome to New York! New York will always be my home. It is familiar to me. A city of memories. Good and bad, each memory will always have a special place in my life. New York is full of experiences, and those experiences have made me the person I am today. As always, mentally I do have to adjust to the mainland. I have to constantly remember that there is no spirit of Aloha over here. Put on your best New York attitude and keep it moving! In New York I have to remind myself to slow down, take a moment, and continue to enjoy life.

I must say I love summer in New York. With the heat and humidity, it really does feel like hell on earth, and you may melt if you stay outside too long, but in my mind there is nothing like a New York summer. So I am glad that I have the opportunity to be in the city right in the heart of summer, ideally I want to go to summer stage this weekend, or a street fair in the village. If you haven’t experienced a New York summer, trust me it is something you must do. At least once in your life. Don’t worry about the heat too much, just drink lots of water! 🙂

Since I have been back on the mainland I have been thinking, I am ready for my next power move! My next life changing moment. I have ambition to do better, reach for something higher and I want that next opportunity to again set myself in a new life position. The problem: I haven’t really grasped in my mind what my next power move will look like. Such as what do I want to do next? Where do I want to live? What do I want to experience? Or more importantly, where does God need me to be? I have asked God, what’s next? Where do I go? What am I supposed to do now? Still waiting for those answers. I know they will come in time, so I will wait patiently until it is time to make that power move.

When I am on the mainland, it does not feel like I really live in Hawaii. For some reason it feels like life on the island is a big dream, and suddenly I have woke up back in my bed, in my house, with my family. Yet, I know I will return, and my reality is my island life. I feel like one girl, living in two different worlds. I wonder if I can connect them somehow. Maybe that is what God needs me too figure out next. How can I connect both my worlds, to make one reality. The reality that is essentially my life. Challenging? Maybe, but I know I can do it. Once I have that figured out, then maybe I will be ready to make my next power move. And trust me, the next move will defiantly be a life changing moment.

Why Not Be The Best Version Of Yourself!

S0 here it is: In a few weeks I will be turning 29! Yup 29. (I am silently wondering if I should be having a brief panic attack) Since I am entering my last year in my twenties, I have decided to do a little bit of self-reflection.

While in my twenties I would say that I almost met all of the societal expectations of girls in their twenties. I graduated from college, entered the professional world, learned how to balance a check book, and dated a variety of men. Where did I go wrong? Well I didn’t get married, and I have no children. In my thirties, if I stay on this track  I will be considered a social leper by the standards of some.  Apparently marriage and babies is the icing on the cake for women in their twenties. Therefore, when women reach their thirties they will be complete with a family, or divorced, take your pick. As a woman, if you are still or newly single in your thirties, you continue to go on what may seem like endless dates, continue to look for Mr. Right, or maybe just Mr. Right now, oh and  you even get the wonderful added pity of people who feel so sorry for you life of singledom that they go out of their way to offer to find you Mr. Right now. Do women ever get the chance to just be happy with themselves, by themselves, and love it?

I spent the majority of my early to mid twenties involved in serious relationships. When I was around the age of 24, I was dating a man who I just knew I wanted to marry. For some strange reason I wanted a husband right then. My boyfriend at the time was cute, and he had a job, he took care of me, so he was perfect to marry right? Well no it was not that simple. I wanted to get married yes, but not because I actually wanted to be a wife or understood what it actually meant to be a wife, at the time I just thought the idea of having a husband would be nice. I would have someone to take care of me, and we would just automatically become one. I must give the credit to God on that one, he knew exactly what he was doing with that didn’t work.

At 24 I would have made a horrible wife. I’ll admit it, just horrible. I was selfish, egocentric, bratty, spoiled, and had no idea of what it meant to be a wife, or how to treat a husband. Marriage was just a word in my vocabulary. I truly wanted the wedding and not the marriage. Looking back life worked out exactly the way life was supposed to work.  However, if I did get married the advantage was then I would not have to face life alone. I could go from living with my parents, to living with my husband. When I was younger I remember my mother telling me that I needed to find a husband so he can take me away. To my mom, she could just marry me off so she wouldn’t have to support me anymore. What a silly idea that was. When the marriage plan didn’t work out, I created a new plan, my own plan. My plan actually turned out to be the right plan. I would live life for me, and figure out how to be the best version of me first before I tried to share my life with someone else.

Around the age of 25, I once heard Oprah and Mya Angelou say that life gets better at 50. So being the me that I am, I figured that I only have to wait 25 more years, then life will start to get good. I will feel free, and living my best days…but at 50, which seems like an eternity away. Did I really want to wait that long? No. I have a huge problem with impatience. So my next thought was how do I make today my best day. I can make life start right now, today, and really live. The advantage had been that I could figure that out all by myself. I had no one to answer to. It was my life, and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Suddenly I realized the bright side of not getting married, and being a horrible wife at the age of 24. I was given the opportunity to grow, to learn, to love me for who I am, to learn to love other people exactly for who they are, and to learn how to be a good wife. With growth, I learned compromise, I learned the joys of giving, and to be happy seeing other people happy.  I found my own personal happiness, and no one could take that away from me.

During my twenties I feel my biggest accomplishment has been becoming the a better version of myself. With time spent alone, I have learned to love myself first as an individual. Doing small things on my own, has helped me to learn to appreciate my own company.  I am content in knowing what I love and what I don’t love. What I want and what I don’t want.  I used to have fears of going to eat alone, going to the movies alone, or vacationing alone. In the past few years I have overcome all of those fears, and many more. So as I turn 29 do I feel like I have life figured out? Oh no, far from it. But I do know that I am now living life at my best, I appreciate everything that I have to offer to the world. Most importantly, I know that I do not have to wait another 20 years for life to start, because I am ready to start living  life at my best everyday.

Running With Aloha!

Just so you know I am not a runner. In fact I really hate running. When I was a child I despised running, in high school I wanted to play basketball so I was forced to run.  Finally, in my adult life I love to workout, but running has never been my workout of choice. With that said, I must tell you that I decided to get up take on the challenge and run. Not only run, but actually complete a full running event consisting of 8.15 miles.  A run that I thought I would never do, turned out to be a run that I can not wait to do again.  I did it, I completed the Great Aloha Run.

Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run

Every Year on President’s Day, what seems to be like all of Honolulu and then some, come out to run The Great Aloha Run. Thousands of people gather together to run from Aloha Tower, to Aloha Stadium (the site of the NFL Probowl). This year I was fortunate enough to be one of those people. I must say I decided to run with some hesitation. Up until today I never ran more than 3 full miles, so how did I think that I would be able to do 8? To make matters worse my friend who had signed up to run with me came down with the flu a few days before race day. Up until the last hour I did not think that she would be able to make it. However, this girl was a pure trooper, she came out to run still feeling under the weather. Although I could not find her until the end of the race due to the massive crowd, I was impressed that she actually ran and finished in an impressive time with flu like symptoms.

Today the whole state of  Hawaii came together just to run. From babies in strollers, to the elderly, military and civilians, all were out running. Overall the experience was great, and I am ready to keep on running. I will continue to practice my running so I can stay in shape, and hopefully acquire a love for running. Would I do a full marathon? Well probably not, I get bored easily. But I would go a longer distance. Next challenge, preparing for a half marathon. Yeah now lets see how that goes.

Bikram Yoga: I wonder if this is what Hell feels like?

I recently started practicing Bikram Yoga. I must say that it is awfully hot in that room. Yoga in a room that is at least 100+ degrees may not sound too appealing at first. It is actually kind of crazy when you think about it. 90 minutes in a room of pure heat and sweat. Not only your sweat, but watching other people sweat also. Lesson 1: You must be comfortable with standing in your own sweat! All while trying to focus on yoga poses. Crazy, Yes! But since I have come to realize that I am anything but sane, I put my mind and body to the challenge and signed up for Hot Yoga!

Now don’t get me wrong, you will survive the yoga room. It is hot, but bearable. As long as you don’t have heart problems you should be good to go from start to finish. Lesson 2: You probably will feel sick, light-headed, nauseated, and want to just want to run out of the room. But don’t run. Stick it out. Challenge yourself, you will defiantly be surprised how soon the 90 minute class is over.

While I was living in New York I had wanted to try Bikram Yoga. I thought it would be good to do in the winter while it was freezing outside. At least I could be overheat myself for 90 minutes while there was snow on the ground. I never got around to going in NYC, so when I found a studio in Hawaii, I figured why not try it out. Initially I had only wanted to try it out  for seven days and then I would be done. But soon that seven days turned to thirty, and then those thirty days turned into just having a full on membership. Yes I must admit I am addicted to torturing myself with Hot Yoga. I enjoy standing in a heated room that feels like it can be a version of Hell on earth.  Or actually, Hell may be just a few degrees cooler. Anyway oddly enough I like it! Three days out of each week I choose to stand in 90 minutes of heat, repeating the same 26 poses, hoping just to stretch just a little bit further, lift my leg a little bit higher, and balance for just a second longer each time. I see progress and I love it!

So is Bikram Yoga still torture, Yes, most days it is. It is HOT! Drink lots of water! But the plus side is that it is also fun. It is a mind-body challenge that is an experience all in itself. It helps my muscles to relax, and it helps me to focus on getting better with everything I do in life. What more can I ask for. So bring on that 90 minutes of heat! I am ready to push harder, bend further, and go longer!

Hawaii- The state where a Gym Membership is not needed!

The best part to living in Hawaii…Not needing to have a gym membership! No matter the day or time you can always find a way to do a free workout. It is either right in front of your face, or you can create your very own. So for those people who love to workout, but there is no gym budget, In Hawaii you can stay fit and keep money in your pocket at the same time.

I think Hawaii is the best state to workout in, you can workout year round and, avoid the hostile heat waves or frigid cold that may prevent you from wanting to go workout outside. In Hawaii no equipment is needed! Just you and your desire to stay in shape. The scenery is beautiful, serene, movie like. It is an experience that most people can only dream of. You can always run on the beach close to the ocean to add intensity, or take a run on the concrete.

The favorite is hiking up the human stair master otherwise known as Koko Head. Walking up those 1000+ stairs is sure to give you a good workout any day! Walking is never a problem if you are looking for a low-key workout, and if you are adventure go for a hike in the mountains with amazing postcard like views. Hiking is sure to give you a full body workout as you will feel each body part hurt the next day. Trust me I know.

If  you want to change up your routine and go for a swim, the ocean is always available. Paddling will give you a great back and tone up those arms, and surfing will force you to use every part of your body.

For the athlete in you, beach volleyball is always on whenever the sun is out. Try heading over to the beach just to play, with the spirit of Aloha of course they will let you play!

If you don’t like working out alone and are looking for that group motivation,  there are many beach boot camps around at low cost. Nothing like an intense beach workout to start or end your day!  On the island there is practically a group for every type of workout, and new ones pop up on a daily basis.  There is even FREE Yoga at sunrise! So do you need to be confined to the walls of a gym with the hard body types to get a good workout?  Nope! Just take a stroll outside.