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A few months ago, I found myself mentally and emotionally run down by my job. It was a combination of not loving what I do and having to deal with the worst kind of people, often on a daily basis.

While I spent my days in a stupor of misery, my roommate threw me a lifeline.

She was going to Hawaii for work, a 4-day shoot at a 5-star resort, and I could come and make it a vacation. My first thought of course was, “Well I cannot NOT go to Hawaii if I have a free, luxurious place to stay.” My second thought was, “I am already out of vacation days for the year so I would have to take three days unpaid, right before Christmas… Can I afford that plus the plane ticket plus expenses like food?”

Naturally, I overthought it, weighing what I wanted against the level of irresponsibility. But when my mom nudged me to go, I knew that I had to take advantage of the opportunity. Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

So, I used points for one of the flights: one expense down. Then, I found out that because I reached my second year of employment at my job in October, I was immediately eligible for more vacation days… so Hawaii would be covered.

It turned out that the fates had decided: I was going to Hawaii, baby!

And go, I did. Spending time in Hawaii had me feeling the most relaxed I have ever felt. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. From the clear, blue ocean to the purple and orange sunsets, I reached the point where I had to ask myself, “Is this a real place?”

Since my roommate was working most of the trip, I spent my time doing my own thing: reading books, swimming around in the ocean like a mermaid, gazing at sunsets from the hot tub, and drinking fresh fruit smoothies as well as frozen alcoholic fruit drinks. I also had a lot of time to think. Do you have any idea how valuable and cathartic it is to just take time to think anymore?

Here is an incomplete and growing list of things that I learned in Hawaii.

  • I am what they call a “strong swimmer”
  • Island time is real
  • Manta rays don’t sleep
  • Manta rays are probably endangered
  • The sun in Hawaii is stronger than the sun anywhere else I have been
  • There is a way to make fruity, blended drinks without them tasting sugary
  • The color scheme of Hawaii doesn’t seem real—a blue sky, deeper blue ocean, varying greens of vegetation juxtaposed with the black of hardened lava—but it is!
  • Once you reach retirement age, communication in marriage can become a series of disengaged, monosyllabic grunts, and that is scary
  • I should go to the beach more
  • Airports can be built to function entirely outdoors
  • It can still feel like Christmas in the tropics (this will be the name of the Hallmark movie based on my trip)
  • I might be a mermaid
  • Stray cats are all over the Hawaiian islands
  • Larry David taste tests the craft services for new seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm like it’s catering for a wedding
  • The Big Island is rebranding to the public as the Island of Hawaii
  • There is nothing quite like juice or a smoothie made from fresh fruit
  • Sand can be as soft as powder
  • Maybe there is hope for a considerate togetherness in middle age marriage after all
  • Snorkeling is best in the early mornings when the sea isn’t awake yet
  • Always get the fish tacos when they’re labeled “fresh catch of the day”
  • Much of the dialogue for Breakfast at Tiffany’s was lifted right from the book; Truman Capote is a fabulous writer
  • I now believe that the natural sounds of Hawaii are what they base sound machines off of
  • You can achieve freedom from anxiety by spending several days completely present at the beach
  • There’s something soothing about swimming in a calm pool while still hearing crashing waves in the distance
  • I can do literally anything by myself, but I don’t have to, and maybe I no longer want to
  • Apparently I like eel
Sydney Mineer

Sydney Mineer believes in Harvey Dent. She is the #1 bull terrier spotter in Los Angeles and is fluent in both Seinfeld and Spongebob references.

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