Island Remedy

I don’t know about the rest of you, but as a traveler, each journey into a new land seems to have a special way of opening my heart to new possibilities. Everything seems to lie at my fingertips when I’m on that flight back home.

Before I proceed let me take a minute to say that it is my observation that there are two different types of people who leave their homes to visit places that are not their homes:

  1. People who take trips
  2. People who travel

People who take trips are those who bring far too many suitcases on airplanes for no other reason than that they “might need something” or they “need a way to transport souvenirs.” These vacationers often dress like tourists and spend a vast amount of their journey taking thousands of pictures of the exact same scene and the remaining time complaining about why the particular location is not like their home.

People who travel bring along only what they need to eliminate the stress of lugging and/or keeping track of and/or caring for and/or repacking their belongings (since this detracts from the intended experience). They dress attractively, functionally, and according to the weather without drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. They spend a vast amount of time during their visit completely absorbed in the sights, smells, sounds, and experiences of their trip and any remaining time recovering from jet lag.

I just got back from a 10 day trip on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. If that sounds like a dream to you, it really was. My younger brother has lived on the island off and on, so a year ago I put my foot down when I said, “I don’t care what it takes – I’m going to that island.” Eleven months later I never would have imagined I would be unemployed and officially living in a different state when I boarded that plane to LAX a couple weeks ago.

The island life is something you have to see to believe. Kauai is tiny. Population of about 65,000. 25 miles long by 33 miles wide at its furthest points. Tiny. And if you look at it on a map you realize that most of it is comprised of gigantic uninhabited mountains and that little of the island contains paved roads.

Six days before I boarded the plane for Hawaii I was struck with some sort of stomach bug. Maybe it was the fever or maybe it was that I hadn’t eaten in a few days – I don’t know – but some strange depression fell over me that week. From the time Bulk Herb Store announced their closing on March 12th of this year (which, by the way, they have now “decided not to close”) I have been searching for a job. I have applied for jobs as far away as Oregon and as close as 45 minutes away (there aren’t any job opportunities in the same city as the Bulk Herb Store, so I didn’t plan to look there) and didn’t even get a nibble until May. I then started interviewing with Dave Ramsey Solutions for a sales position and then transferred to interviewing for a marking coordinator position. I made it to the 5th interview before the company decided not to hire for the position at all…

I was back to square one. No job. My housing at the time was rocky since it was tied to my employment at Bulk Herb Store – a job that was becoming increasingly unbearable since on May 4th I became the ONLY full-time employee running the entire business. That job could have been my dream job. But what wasn’t my dream job was working 12 hour days in both a warehouse and an office by myself for $15/hr in a town of 900 people while customers were becoming increasingly angry at “our team” aka me. Not my dream job. Not my dream job at all.

But I digress…

All of that was to say that this year has been rough in so many ways, so now that it’s October and I have only gotten one job offer (a retail job, which I accepted because…duh) it has a special way of getting to you. What was really the cherry on top of the depression was the phone call I got while being sick from a hiring manager who was “concerned” about the number of places I have lived and the number of jobs that I have held in the past 5 years. I told him the truth as clearly and as professionally as I could and left the rest up to fate. I have been told that it is likely that hiring managers are throwing out my resumes due to my history. Is it crazy of me to feel like I am being penalized for the fact that my life has been tumultuous?

Do you think I WANTED to move and change jobs as many times as I have? Nope. Do you think I wanted to waitress to get by? I like to work, but nope…waitressing is not one of my strong suits. Do you think I wanted to leave a big city, pack my belongings, quit my stable job with benefits, so that I could live with my parents, and work at a greenhouse because that was the only job that I could get immediately? Nope. Do you think I like being rejected for job after job after job because they choose someone with more experience? Of course not!!! I’m just trying to make lemonade outta the lemons I’ve been given. I have taken to emailing hiring managers so that I know exactly – and in plain, written English – why I was not selected for the job because I need that written proof. I cannot believe that finding a steady, decent paying job in something other than administrative work is so freaking hard.

So there I was… sitting on the floor being sick. I had just hung up the phone after talking to the hiring manager with “concerns” wondering how in the world I was going to recover from this. I felt like a failure. Like everything I had been doing – all the hours, the  professional resume reviews, the mentorships, the meetings, the emails, the connections – none of it mattered anyway. Because clearly none of it was good enough. None of them wanted me. I’m not exactly sure what God is trying to teach me, but He sure has been giving me a lot of lessons in the past 6 years so apparently I’m not a very good student…

With that half-starved half-depressed feeling weighing on my chest I packed for Hawaii (thanking the heavens that I have a solid emergency fund) and resorted to my usual distaste for the way things are in the world.

Island time is a quirky way of saying that time is simply a fluid state of mind and I will be there, or do that thing, or help you with that —- when I get there. I don’t know exactly when that might be, but it will most likely be sometime within these hours. It’s a very slack attitude towards the clock, but it also refers to time that was well spent.

On the island…they believe in putting your feet up.

I talked to some of the locals of Kauai and they said that it is often hard to find local workers who are willing to work consistent hours. They will often show up late or want to leave early, which can be difficult for employers who want steady consistent workers. I was told that locals often care more about family and nature than they will ever care about a job, so as long as they have the money for food on the table and clothes on their backs they are probably not going to pursue any more working hours than they need.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting new people. People who grew up in a different world than me. People who don’t think like me. New ideas. Different world views.

The moment I met Dara I knew that I instantly adored her. It was like she knew exactly how to speak to my soul. Have you ever met someone like this? Because I rarely meet people like this and when I do I am completely blown away and immediately want to know how they were possibly formed into such a perfect person. When you converse with an *average* person – it’s an exchange of information. But when you converse with a *special person* – it’s like an infusion of life. Dara left the mainland 9 years ago to be with her mother. Some time after that she determined what she wanted to see the world and so she chose a profession that would allow her that freedom.

During this trip it was solidified in me that my pursuit of a job in marketing is dead. And I am the one who killed it, stuffed it into a coffin, and danced on its grave. I don’t care. I don’t care about my business degree. I don’t care that I wasted 6 years pursuing something so unfulfilling and vapid. I don’t care about marketing and what all those other business women are doing that I’m not. I am so the opposite of a typical consumer. I wish all of my belonging could fit in my Honda Accord. So why I earth did I think I would love convincing people to buy things?

Have you noticed that one of the first things we ask (maybe THE first thing we ask) a new person is, “What do you do for a living?” WHY DO WE DO THIS?!?! Maybe it’s only to find common ground. Or is it so that we can find an easy way to rank them unconsciously in our minds? “Oh, you’re a doctor? That’s nice.” Success. “Oh, you’re a janitor? That’s nice.” Should have tried harder in life.

When I told my brother (the one living on Kauai) that the only job offer I had received was one in retail he laughed for a solid 5 mins because he knew. He knew I would be working with high school students. And that I have a bachelors degree. And that I graduated Summa Cum Laude. And that I’m working a job fit for a 16 year old. What am I doing with my life? I have no idea. I didn’t call this blog “Unsteady as she goes” for nothing.

Dara made an encouraging point when she said that she dropped her need to identify with work or make it “mean” anything other than her ticket to a more relaxed life. She went on to say that “when we choose things that free up our creative energy and challenge us in new ways, the positivity we gain emanates out in the world and allows us to ‘be of service'” Yes, this.

Now I know what I don’t want. And I think I know what I do want. And I’m seeing all sorts of obstacles and some of them are saying I might have to wait…and I really don’t want to wait. But! As they are teaching me in meditation – I am acknowledging each obstacle for what it is. So, Obstacles, prepare to be vanquished.

Anyway, not sure what kind of content you all like to see up here, but I will tell you that this blog is soon to be transitioning to an actual webpage (woot) instead of just a WordPress, and soon I’ll be switching up my content a bit more so that you don’t get bored with my life rants. I’ll definitely be including more recipes and health and lifestyle articles so super excited about that!

If the Lord wills I will do this or that.


Unsteady Girl

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