Life Lesson in Hawaii
Being in Hawaii for work was an interesting experience.
First, it came at a tough time for me in my personal life. We were planning my brother’s wedding celebration and my mom’s house just went on the market for sale. I was feeling a lot of angst about being away for a week from all that was happening, and a little bit guilty that I wasn’t going to be around for all the festivity prep. Plus, while traveling for work is a great perk, there was also a lot of work involved to prepare for it, so the weeks leading up to the occasion where a bit crazed on my part. That being said, for the first time probably ever, I was 90% packed a solid four days before I was to leave.
The various bits of the trip are not all that exciting, but essentially my boss and I were there to research objects for an upcoming exhibition. There was some free time for swimming and exploring, which we were lucky to do, but the workdays were long and even though we were in paradise, it was still a lot of work.
I was also bummed to be in Hawaii without Q, as for a good period of time we talked about him coming along on the trip. Even though I’d be working a lot, it’s freaking Hawaii and he would have been happy as a clam to sit on the beach all day. In hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t end up joining us, as the days were long and between the heat/humidity and the long work hours, I was spent at the end of each day.
I was really consumed by the work and research, which is something I love about my job, but a few days into the trip I realized I was missing a lot of what was going on around me. Honolulu was packed with people, as it was the height of their busy season, but yet I was so in my own head I forgot to look around and take things in. It wasn’t until one night when we were walking to find dinner that I realized I wasn’t really experiencing the place.
As we walked to dinner through a park that was adjacent to our hotel, there were so many people sitting in the park, on the beach wall, or in the sand, just sitting there staring out. It took a few minutes walking to realize they were all waiting for the sunset. I was so consumed by work I didn’t even stop to look at the sunset– or to realize for so many people, this was a bucket list item on their Hawaiian vacation.
After this, I tried to be more aware of what was happening around me and I started noticing amazing things like how there was a wedding either in our hotel or being photographed right outside every single day I was there. Or how different the colors of mangoes are in Hawaii from here in New England.
I might have been in Hawaii, but it definitely made me realize I’m letting myself get so consumed by the various bits of life that I’ve literally had things passing me by– beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring moments all because I’m thinking of the next thing to cross of the to do list. It’s not how I want things to be- and I’m determined to not become defined by work.