Toby lives in Hawaii and she not only keeps us up to date on life outside the mainland, but she also writes mysteries set on the islands. In this particular newsletter, she had included pictures that reflected the beauty of Maui in such a way that for a moment or two, I was there with her family, smiling up at the sun and breathing in the salty air. My messy life with all of its problems dropped away, and my soul was free to wander through paradise. When I returned to my bedroom in New York, I ignored the howling wind tossing the snow around outside my window. I stared at my laptop screen and thought, It looks so peaceful in Hawaii. I'd really like to go there one day.
|It's as beautiful as it seems. Even more so.|
And just like that, I let the thought go. I went back to enjoying Toby's pictures and musings, all the while appreciating that she had shared her experience. Two weeks later, when I saw a Facebook post about a timeshare that was available, my heart skipped a beat, but I wasn’t surprised. A quiet ding went off inside of me as if I were checking off a task I had every intention of completing. The timeshare in the post was cheap and close to the beach. In Hawaii.
|This was the view from my room!|
But as the vacation approached, life happened. I ran into a few snags and had to cancel my initial plans. I was disappointed on the surface, but strangely, underneath, I was also calm. Sad or not, something told me that I needed to ride this wave wherever it took me.
Unfortunately, it didn't take me to anywhere like Hawaii, but I visited a life lesson or two and licked a few ego wounds. In the meantime, my new friend refused to give up. She worked behind the scenes to reschedule my trip, keeping my dream of visiting Hawaii alive, even though neither of us was sure that I could pull it off.
With her in my corner, I learned how much individuals can gain from having a strong support system. I felt like my happiness mattered, and after years of pushing my own wants and needs to the side for my kids, it was nice. I kept slogging along, determined to see the light (and hopefully the beach!) at the end of this dark time.
It was almost a year later, and only a month before we were supposed to go, when finally, and without any effort on my part, everything fell into place. In April, during one of the longest, coldest winters New York has seen in a long time, Max, Bella, and I got on a plane and took the thirteen hour flight to Honolulu.
|Max made sure we'd find our bags easily|
It wasn't until we were there for a two days that it really hit me. Each morning, I got up at 5 am without an alarm and walked around the corner to Starbucks. I enjoyed the sunrise and my coffee on the outside patio and said a silent thanks to the Universe for making that warm, beautiful vacation possible. But on Day Two, I realized that there was more at play here than a getaway in paradise.
|Some of my favorite things|
If I had taken the trip when we originally planned, I wouldn't have bonded as much with my new friend. And I don't think I would have appreciated the gift of waking up each morning because I wanted to--not because I had to. At home I was a single mother of three, working multiple jobs to get by. Trips like this were considered impossible. Not having to be tied to a schedule or my usual responsibilities meant more to me, especially after the dark period I had just come out of.
|My relaxed face|
We made sure to venture outside of the pretty tourist area of Waikiki and hiked through the rural area of Honolulu. We passed small schools and crowded yards with barking dogs. We saw signs pleading with developers to stop destroying the land. And in the urban areas, just outside blocks and blocks of upscale chains like Coach and Cheesecake Factory, there was homelessness and poverty that made me wonder what the locals really thought about us being there.
|Someone's bed and belongings|
|Fireworks on the beach. Sorry about the flash!|
Since the trip, I have relaxed more and worried less. Things have gotten easier for me, and I am more excited about what is in store for me each day. I still have problems, but now they are just another piece of the path I am traveling on--one that always seems to lead to something better.
|Paddle boarding in the lagoon|
I often look back on my time in Hawaii and the magic that led me to it. I inhale love and exhale gratitude, and look forward to making more memories and seeing what other amazing experiences the Universe has in store for me. And I wish you all the same.
|I'd do it again in a minute|
CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.
You can now order SUKI in paperback at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at email@example.com Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE.
Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.
FOLLOW me on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and CF_Winn on Instagram.