I used to have this perfect picture in my mind of what my life would be like when I was in my twenties. I planned on being married by 21 (I know, crazy). I thought I would graduate from a four year college, have a Bachelor’s degree in *whatever* and have a career by the time I was 22. I always wanted kids by the time I was 23, and I wanted them to grow up in Greenville, S.C. just like I had. I pictured myself happy, healthy, and having it all together. I had a plan and I thought that was the life I was supposed to have. I quickly learned that plans are not always meant to be kept.
2017 simply put – not my year. Bad things were constantly happening. Every time I thought that things were starting to turn around, something else would happen that took me further away from myself. I lost so much of who I was in one year. I had lost a significant amount of weight due to not taking care of myself, lost all motivation for continuing my education, and I had started to distance myself from family and friends just because I wasn’t myself anymore. I was not who I wanted to be or where I wanted to be in life. One night I simply decided I was going to change that. I started looking for one way tickets to Maui. About two months later I was on my flight to start my adventure. There were plenty of moments where I questioned if I was doing the right thing. Putting a halt to my education, something I had worked long and hard to achieve. Leaving my family, friends, and the home where I had grown up, pretty much everything I knew. Timing just didn’t seem right. It was safe to stay home, it was my comfort zone. All my friends and family (although sad that I was going to be so far away) were supportive of my decision. My heart knew that I was going to regret not taking this chance of a lifetime. So I went.
Here is a small collection of the things I have learned since moving:
- There are no bad beaches
- I say ‘ya’ll’ too much
- Saving money is very important – I think I moved here with $100? The only thing I would tell my past self is to budget a little better before moving to one of the most expensive places in the U.S.
- I am very bad at keeping my cool when meeting celebrities
- Family and friends are essential for survival – honestly believe that no one can get through life alone.
- Landlock is real – you can really start to feel how small an island is when you can see the north and south shore from your lanai (porch)
- Everyone comes to Hawaii for their honeymoon
- Visitors are sacred and also a rarity – when anyone gets the chance to visit, use every moment you have to enjoy the time together.
- FOMO is real – the hardest thing to accept is missing moments with friends and family back home. Birthdays, graduatations, concerts, and reunions. It never gets easier missing out on those moments. If anything, it has taught me to cherish every moment that I get with those I love, because they are rare.
So here I am, an almost 22 year old with no plans for marriage ANYTIME soon, a career on hold, and living far away from where I thought I would be at this age. Although my plans were altered and I don’t have anything I thought I would when I was a teenager, I have so much more than I ever could have planned. There is this newfound confidence I have in myself that I’m not sure I would have ever found if I hadn’t taken this chance. I am so happy, full of life and enjoying every moment. I have grown so much as a person this year by simply following my heart. Moving to Maui, although extremely challenging, has been completely worth it. I can truly say that my life has been forever changed by living on this beautiful little island. This place has taught me so much about myself, love, and life. A leap out of my comfort zone, leaving everything I knew behind. I wish I could go back and tell my 20-year-old self that everything will be okay again. That life does not go as planned, and to trust myself. I want to thank my past self for making the tough choice to get here. For showing me what I am capable of and for introducing me to a new version of me.
If I can give any advice to someone who is struggling with feeling lost it’s this: There are no guidelines that you have to follow with your life. Your life, is your life. It’s going to be messy, and there are times where it’s going to get tough. But it’s also going to be filled with love and adventure, and moments you’ll never forget. It’s totally and completely okay to not have a clue what you are doing! Do as you’d like to! Move where your heart pulls you, be who you want to be, because as cheesy as it sounds, if you follow your heart – you won’t regret it. Trust yourself, believe that you can do whatever it is you want to achieve. There is never going to be a ‘perfect’ time to do something, you just have to trust yourself and do it.
Follow your heart,