It is midway through December. The Christmas tree is up, and that combined with the smell of pine and fallen leaves outside the house has me in a nostalgic mood. It has me thinking about the past year. God, so much has changed. This time last year, I lived in Kailua, the most gorgeous place on the planet. I dare you to tell me different. I lived a mile away from a beautiful beach. My best friends lived in walking distance from me. On a Saturday morning I had a dozen people I could call at the drop of a hat to invite to a last minute hike or walk on the beach. I knew my neighbors, and I had healthy, active people surrounding me. I could walk to Crossfit and my work was a mere 15 minutes away.
Why then does it feel so right that I’ve moved to this out of the way place, where we are surrounded by squirrels, deer, bugs and birds? Where Walmart is the best option for produce? Where the beach (which in no way compares to Kailua) is a half hour drive away? Where we are afraid to let our dogs run loose because they might get eaten by alligators or snatched up by large predatory birds?
One major answer is family. I am missing my best friends like hell, and I am going to have to figure out how to visit soon, but now I feel like I live on the same planet as my family. When I call them in the morning, it is also morning for them. I don’t get the news 6 hours later than they do. I saw my family and Nathan’s family in July. Then I drove to New York for Thanksgiving. Twice. I am going to see
them again over the Christmas break. I think Nathan said it most eloquently when we spoke of it in the car the other night. He said, “This last time we drove away from the house, I was sad, because I would miss them, but I wasn’t thinking Is this the last time I am going to see them?”
How shitty is that question? This is why I moved from Hawaii. If someone in my family gets sick, or a family member gets married, or a family member has a baby, those things matter to me. And living in Hawaii, you start to question whether you can afford to go see them. That’s screwed up. My mother-in-law had a liver transplant. My sister-in-law gave her half of her own liver. That’s freaking amazing. And when we got married, they couldn’t come to Hawaii, because traveling when you’ve gotten a liver transplant is pretty freaking difficult, especially at first. That sucked. Big time.
Living so close feels amazing. I feel like I am getting to know them again. And it’s not like I didn’t talk to my siblings or my parents. We kept and still do keep up a pretty good conversation via facebook
and email and I was able to have Skype conversations with them on most of the holidays over the years.
But, let’s be honest. It’s not the same. It’s not the same as trying to sleep on the top bunk at your parents’ house when your oldest sister is sleeping on the bottom bunk and you’ve got years of catching up to do. It’s not the same as being able to clear your crap out of your parents’ house for them. It’s not the same as having a cup of coffee with them across the island in the kitchen or building a bonfire or playing Pandemic or talking about the Dragonriders of Pern books or simply being in their presence. It’s not the same as spending time with your nieces and nephews and the dogs. And it’s definitely not the same as being able to give them a hug.
I feel like I missed a lot over the years, but at the same time, I grew up in Hawaii. I became a big girl there. I learned how to be a kind, loving, healthy, individual. I learned how to love myself and I found friends there that became my family.
So how, in 2016 do I find what I had in Hawaii (not the beaches, but the friends and the lifestyle) and stay close to my family? How do I find that connection somewhere close enough to New York?
I haven’t found the answer yet. My husband and I are looking for employment possibly near Asheville, NC or in Colorado. I need to find a group of people who are interested in health and wellness like I am. We need to find a place that doesn’t have an undercurrent of discrimination. And I need a place to be able to hike and work out, but this place can’t cost as much as Hawaii did. I refuse to be a slave to the price of a plane ticket home.
Any ideas? Comment below! Where do you think the best place to live is?