So I did it: I picked up my life and moved to the Bay Area, got a new job within 2 months, bought a car, and am on my way to finding an apartment. Why don’t I feel as great as I thought I would? I didn’t expect it to be this hard, but I suppose if I knew, I would have never made such a drastic change. My memory is lost on whether I had such a hard time adjusting to Hawaii – I’m trying to find a frame of reference for how I’m feeling. DC…definitely even worse since I knew almost no one and it was COLD.
I miss Hawaii horribly: often, when I close my eyes, I see the gorgeous blue water, clean waves, sunshine and see me laughing with my people. My people. It’s something I don’t quite have yet here and can’t expect to yet. I have childhood and college friends here, along with other Hawaii transplants, but they don’t feel like “my people”. I question if I ever will have the friendships I did in Hawaii. I recognize the luxury of time, access to recreation and the culture of Ohana (family/friends) coming before work, is not the norm here on the mainland – or at least for the East Bay. I knew this moving here. I knew all of this was true. Yet the sadness of letting go is no less of a shock to my core.
What I may find is a good group of friends and colleagues who are close but our time together is penciled into our planners (more like iPhones). We will go to dinner or a bar instead of hanging out at the beach. I do know I can find friends who surf and enjoy a similar lifestyle that I’m used to. This I do believe, despite feeling discouraged and cynical right now. Though instead of this being the norm it will be an exception to the rule. But I’ve never been one to follow the societal rules to begin with.
What I do hold on to is the understanding that my experience in Hawaii and the memories I created are still mine to keep. They have not gone away but live within me and always will. I can carry those memories and experiences with me every day and let them shape who I am today and forever.
I question why I’m here almost every day, sometimes several times a day. Is the lifestyle change, traffic, fast-paced life and high cost of living worth it? I can’t answer this question yet, though I wish I could. I want to say, “yes”, but I fear my answer will be “no”. I strongly feel I am meant to be here – I feel it in my soul – but for how long, I am not sure. So I need to take each day, each moment, as it comes and remember this to shall pass, I’ll find a home wherever I go (and within myself) and the answer to my question will eventually reveal itself.
It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I moved and I’m dealing with a lot of grief. I would say I’m in the denial stage at the moment, but slowly coming out of it. The fun and excitement of something new has been interweaved with the realities of getting settled, feeling homeless, carless, jobless…and often feeling alone. I’ve done this before and I know it will pass, but what seems most challenging is adjusting to a new reality. My life at the moment does not include daily surf sessions, gorgeous weather every day and a life full with amazing friendships. I am in the middle of a city, feeling slightly trapped and lost. How I spend my days will differ for now. What I value is being outside, nature and friends – I know that awaits me, perhaps just not at the moment. I can and will find that again it may just look different.
I try to tell myself this is part of the transition process and to take it day by day. I am not where I want to be and I’m not sure when I will be but I got to have faith. I came here to find love and career inspiration – when I remember this it brings me comfort and reminds me of why I made such an abrupt move. All this takes courage and strength and a willing to take risks. I trust my desires will be honored and come to fruition.
I know Hawaii waits for me, as I wait for it. The sacrifices I’ve made seem overwhelming right now but I trust this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, without a doubt. I take it day by day, trusting in myself and the process of letting go and being open to new experiences.
I think the idea (and reality) of me leaving has hit. I had my last day in the office Thursday to distract me, then my going away BBQ yesterday. Now it’s just me and half-filled boxes spread around the apartment, waiting to be packed and sealed. I feel overwhelmed which is expected though I was hoping to stay zen until I stepped on the plane (and hopefully after). I don’t feel ready for this. So I’ll go through the motions as I need to and slowly get there, though I don’t have much time. Worst case scenario, I leave it all behind.
I’m getting somewhat exhausted at saying goodbye. I feel appreciated and loved, but in some ways I just want to leave already and get it over with. It’s a little bit like a bandaid slowly getting pulled off. Then I feel awkward about it all: the attention, the sadness, the guilt over leaving, the “nice to know you’s”, “we’ll be in touch”, “let me know how you’re doing”, and so on. Simultaneously I’m trying to process and navigate through the feelings I’m experiencing, as they fluctuate from moment to moment. And where is there space for grief? I am no stranger to grief and the pit in my stomach, heaviness and a deep sense of sadness is all there, waiting to have the attention it needs.
How do I leave behind all the memories here? So much has happened, so much has changed. Will I be the same person when I leave? I am not the same person who came here over 5 years ago. I’ve learned to slow down and really enjoy life in a way I never knew how. I’ve learned to value quality of life over career and status and to see people for who they are versus what they do. I have shed some of the seriousness I have carried with me my entire life and learned to laugh unabashedly. I found and lost love, became motherless, and experienced one of the greater losses in my life. I’m older and wiser, and have weathered storms I could’ve never imagined to have rained down on me.
Yet I move on, trying to be brave as I start over in a place I call home, even though it’s been 15 years since I’ve lived there. Will it still feel like home? I don’t know. I don’t know what is ahead of me and I’m scared but thrilled about the opportunities that have already arisen.
So much of me wishes I didn’t have to go, but everything within me knows it’s time. I will back, even if just as a visitor.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned while here is that “aloha” is not only real, it’s a state of mind. Hawaii will always have a place in my heart. It always has.