Something wonderful happened to me in the last few weeks. I discovered Hawaii.
I went to Maui, and had a wonderful vacation, far, far away from Portland’s 40 degrees and rain, in a place that is so perfect, I find it hard to believe that everyone who ever visited didn’t move there immediately after returning to their real lives, in places probably less warm, and definitely less beautiful. I know a few people who did, and they inevitably left. But I can’t, for the life of me, understand why.
Some other things happened, as a product of this brilliant, sunny vacation away from real life. I started thinking. And while yes, I’m always thinking (much to my own detriment, I might add), I started thinking about the future, in a way that I’d never considered it before. I turn 25 in less than four months. I’m not married, I have no children, and I live 3,054 miles from my parents (and the whole of my extended family, for that matter), and 2,269 miles from my closest and dearest friend. I have a great job, surrounded by people I admire, but I can’t help but think sometimes, that while everything happens for a reason, it’s doesn’t always happen for the reason you believe in. Why can’t I, who never does the irresponsible thing, run off to Maui? Run off to anywhere?
I used to think, at the happy age of 18, or 21, even, I suppose, that I’d be concerned if I weren’t married, and having children, or at least engaged, at my (current) miserable old age. I thought I’d meet a guy in college, for sure. Four years, in one the largest universities in one of the largest states in the U.S., and I’d find a college sweetheart. We’d be married 18 months after graduation, and I’d be pregnant with my first, two years later. And we would live somewhere in Florida, and we’d own a home, and our combined income would be about $125,000. I know a lot of people, who have done exactly that, literally, on that timeline. And they’re perfectly happy. Which makes me think that my idea wasn’t unrealistic, it just didn’t happen that way for me. But then again, I didn’t take the most conventional road through college.
Over the last year, I’ve come to realize that a reason might just be that—a reason—not some divine fulfillment of fate, but just a vehicle to continue you on the path to wherever you’re headed. Maybe, yes, people need to fall hard to learn how to land softly, and make the worst decisions of their lives, so they can actually learn how to make decisions. I know, from experience, that sometimes people have to be bad adults, so they can learn how to be adults. And while I look at my life, and all of the decisions I’ve made, I can’t help but think they’ve been so random and disordered, that there’s something I’m missing.
So, this year, I’m on a mission to figure that out. What am I missing?
(P.S. Photos from Maui to come)