I don’t relax easily. I wish I did, and I’ve gotten better about it, but after a lifetime of being told that I take things too seriously, that I’m too hard on myself, and that I don’t have to take on every cause that presents itself to me, I’m resigned to the fact that I will always be a little high-strung.
Thankfully, Hawaii exists.
I first visited Hawaii about 10 years ago, to attend a professional conference. I didn’t know what to expect, and – not having been much of a beach person up until then – I wasn’t overly excited. I carried my insecurities with me, packing them onto the plane like a particular piece of luggage, bulky and unwanted, and worried about how comfortable I’d be in a swimsuit.
But, again: Hawaii.
I learned on that trip that there is an island magic that resonates deeply with my soul. It isn’t unique, of course; there’s a reason why this 50th state is so beloved. For me, though, I’ve found an unparalleled sense of calm in Hawaii: somewhere between the warm waters of the Pacific, and the easy approach of the people I’ve encountered here, I am able to let go of the things I worry about, and relax.
I am ending my fourth trip here, this one a surprise birthday trip for my husband. We are in Maui, leaving tomorrow, and have so far accomplished what I can only assume is a fairly standard visit for any tourist: the road to Hana, a Haleakala sunrise, mai tais and fish tacos. It has all been wonderful.
I will always look forward to my next trip here. In the meantime, as always, mahalo to this amazing piece of the world: you help me forget who I am supposed to be, and help me remember, instead, who I really am.