The fact that aloha means both hello and goodbye seems accurate right about now — these past few weeks have included waves of both, peppered with joy in anticipation for the new and the next, yet coupled with the nostalgic ache for what is now past. Friends, it is true. Finally, ten years after a dream was born in a little sunkissed blonde girl’s heart and buried in the sand of Poipu Beach, Kauai, it’s a reality:
Hawaii, here I come. Aloha, my new island home.
When preparing for my shoulder surgery and a solid month away from work and 3-4 months away from my spin studio, I received an encouraging text from my dear friend Dom after I frantically texted her while in a panic about my life being put “on hold” for a few months:
“You’re being forced to turn off, look inward, spend time with God. Get to know yourself deeply. And really truly turn off, unplug, and recover,” she wrote.
That’s exactly what I had to do. For once, walking down the hall was an excursion requiring super-human strength. My morning power-shower turned to baths, hair washed by my sister or my aunt. I slept nearly 18+ hours a day. I watched 3 seasons of Vikings in a scary-short amount of time. I lived off of toast and water for the first two weeks. I celebrated my 27th birthday in a drive from Santa Cruz to Sacramento, post-op doctor’s appointment and falling asleep during a movie marathon. I started (but have yet to finish) four different books.
Lanakai Beach, my new home beach
It was during this time my heart began to change. My mind said enough is enough! to all the dreams and the maybes and the one days and instead began whispering, now now now. And then God slipped under my skin and cracked my heart open back home in Colorado over Thanksgiving. Before I knew it my fingers were skittering across the keys of my keyboard researching flights and facebook-posting a room for rent.
It all happened so fast: A one-way ticket to Honolulu on December 30. An inbox of house-hunters eager to begin their SF journey in the bay-windowed bedroom that saw me through so much. A gentle goodbye to my love from the past year, filled with hope and encouragement and nothing but the best wishes for one another. A two-week notice to the agency full of some of the most talented (and hilarious and amazing) people I know.
Excited to be auntie to this fur baby for a few months!
Furniture is sold, books and knicknacks are in bags. Clothes are sorted and awaiting donation. An assortment of swimsuits, a couple t-shirts, 2 pairs cutoff shorts and the only pair of sandals I own make a pile on my floor. Many goodbyes have been said, yet others await for hugs after Christmas or big aloha snuggles with already-booked visits to see me on the island.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what to expect. My timeline is open as I walk barefoot steps to trust the Big Guy with whatever comes next. I’m grateful for my sister and a room to myself in her home, a furry companion to look after while she is away, and a car to drive. My computer and notebooks will accompany me, along with copious amounts of time to just write, finally freeing the words swimming deep down somewhere behind my bellybutton, pulling them to the surface once again.
2018, I am SO ready for you!
It’s been a tough year wrought with trials that knocked me off my feet and left me gasping for air — but finally I am slowly crawling back to standing. Writing is the way I not only continue my journey past these demons, but allows me to spread awareness that mental illness is a very real thing — but there is hope, oh so much hope, of brighter tomorrows. One just may have to take a step out of the ordinary to find it.
So yes — I’m back. I’ll be here weekly (#goals) and on Instagram @averykjohnson sharing my adventures from the land of aloha. It’s time for a new year, a fresh start, and a new chapter on an island where very few know my name. Through it all I am consistently reminded God didn’t give me a spirit of fear — so across the ocean I go.