I lived what most people think would be the most amazing life in the summer after I graduated college. I moved to Hawaii for 3 months. I was only 10 minutes away from the beach and I could go whenever I felt like it. I got to live that relaxed island life that people dream of. But it wasn’t that. I was in Hawaii because I really didn’t have anywhere else to go. I didn’t get into graduate school so I was not sure what I was going to be doing next year. I had absolutely no plans so I had to suck it up and move in with my grandma. She lives in the middle of Honolulu in a very small apartment. Three months trying to figure out what I needed to do with my life. It was a major shift in my life suddenly which was hard. So here is how it went.
First thing I did was get a job. I knew that if I was staying in Hawaii with not much to do, might as well make some money. I applied at a few stores at the mall that was right down the street where I had been going to my entire life. Gratefully, I got a job pretty quickly at Express. So most of my time was spent going to work. Oh it might be helpful to know that I didn’t have a car in Hawaii. So I did what my grandmother does. I took the bus everywhere I went. Hawaii has a pretty good bus system so it is actually quite common for people to take it. So there I was, riding the bus to work every day. And I ended up working quite a bit, and I got good at it. But I kept quiet and to myself. I didn’t talk to a lot of my coworkers because I just was there for a summer. But I started to get to know people as I got better in the job. And I did what I didn’t think was possible, I made friends! It was nice to have people to talk to and do things outside of work sometimes.
The other big thing I did was get a volunteer position within a forensic anthropology lab. Now this was tough. I went through a lot to go into this program and I didn’t end up working there as much as I wanted. Due to paperwork and such, it took me about a month and a half after being in Hawaii for me to start there and it wasn’t what I thought. I was hoping to do hands on work but I ended up doing data entry for things that had nothing to do with what the mission of the lab was. I rode the bus and hour and a half there and back two to three times a week to stare at a computer. It just wasn’t right for me and doing this made me realize that maybe it isn’t my time to go into forensics. I definitely do not regret working there because I learned a lot and understood that maybe it just wasn’t for me at the moment. But I got to read a lot on the bus.
So even though I had the internship and job, I still had a lot of free time to myself. I didn’t have a ton of friends to do things with, especially in the beginning. I watch A LOT of Netflix, but I knew that if I stayed at home all summer, my mental health would be down in the dumps. I would be so depressed that I wouldn’t be able to make any decisions about my life when it came time. So I had to learn how to do things on my own. I started small for me at least. I would walk down to the grocery store or fast food restaurant to get food so I would get outside at least once or twice a day. I started going to the movies about once a week. I love watching movies and I got to just take some time to go out and do something I enjoy. People may find it weird to go to the movies by yourself, but it was liberating. I didn’t have to worry about anyone talking to me or falling asleep on me. I could just sit and enjoy it to myself. And I tried to be smart. I would watch movies that had been out for like a month so I could be one of the only people in the theater and during the day to get matinee prices. I think I ended up watching like 10 movies that summer. I also went to the zoo, aquarium and beach by myself. I didn’t swim at the beach but I got to just sit by the water and breathe in the salt air. I did things I wanted to do. No pleasing anyone else or worrying about what people would think. I learned to be independent and don’t let things stop me from living.
It’s been a year since I lived in Hawaii but I find myself thinking about it a lot. I was so free and independent then. Now, I’m not as much as I would like to be. So I’m hoping that remembering what I did then can inspire to start making changes now. Understanding that experiences may come into life so you know whether it is for you. Sometimes it takes doing something to know that it is not your purpose in life. And I need to be independent. Go out and do things I want to do. Stop worrying about what people think and just go for it.