Have you ever wanted something so badly but then when it’s given to you, you freeze up. Doubts begin to flood your mind and all of a sudden, what you thought you wanted no longer seems like the right option anymore. Most of life’s gifts are given as a choice and the ones that have the capability of changing your life, are absolutely terrifying. Are we willing to peak behind the mystery curtain and see how our story unfolds or should we stay in our comfort zones where what we know is familiar? Our comfort zone where we know things aren’t that bad but they’re really not that good either. It’s a hard decision.
I opened up my work app on my phone to casually check the transfer list for my request to move to Honolulu. I’ve been so eager for this life change yet when I opened the small blue tab, my stomach sank as I saw my name on the list. I’ve moved up to #2. “I’m not ready for this. Not yet. I wanted it to happen after the holidays. I’m going to miss Christmas, and thanksgiving. I miss my parents already. What will I do about my car? No more flights to Europe. I haven’t gotten enough time with my friends. Maybe this is why I’m meant to visit my sister in L.A…” These are all the thoughts that immediately flood my mind as the negative voice inside tries to convince me that taking the transfer isn’t a good idea.
The wildest part about this is I’ve dealt with this nasty, negative voice before. Ohhhhh no, this isn’t our first encounter together. This negative voice has talked me out of so many things before, things that I still wonder what my life would have been if I had taken that chance and said yes.
To this day, I’ve been given three major curve balls in life that had the capability of changing my life around completely. The first one was chosen out of panic, the second one was turned down out of fear and the third will be chosen because it’s fate. At 21 years old, I found myself living inside of a nightmare. I felt like a robot just going through the motions. I worked double shifts at work and on my off days I pulled all nighters studying for nursing school. I had a boyfriend who wasn’t loyal and a best friend that wasn’t truthful. Put the two of those together and it felt like my entire world was crumbling apart. Overnight I lost my boyfriend, my best friend and my job. I was furloughed with a one month notice and the next morning I received a letter in the mail telling me I failed nursing school by .5 of a point but “please apply for next year.” Doors were slamming in my face. I felt trapped and this was my way out. I threw the letter from nursing school away and applied to be a flight attendant. I was desperate in my interview and if you couldn’t hear it in my voice, surely the recruiter must have seen it in my eyes. “Are you willing to relocate if the company needs you to?” I immediately blurted out, “Please! Take me anywhere other than Richmond, Virginia.” That first curveball thrown my way didn’t include any doubts. I was 100% confident that was the right choice. Yes, everything changed. Within weeks I graduated in Houston and began my new career outside of New York City. Three years and 35 countries later, I decided it was time to put a transfer in for Guam. I had never been but I heard it was similar to Hawaii and since I was number #697 on the list for Honolulu I figured Guam was as good as it was going to get. I figured I would be closer to New Zealand, Indonesia, The Philippines and all the other countries I had not yet explored. I pushed submit, thinking I had months before the transfer would go through but it came sooner than expected. Doubts rushed around my head and just as I did when I opened the transfer list for Honolulu this morning, I felt paralyzed. I had a boyfriend in Houston at the time. Was he the one? At the time I thought it was a possibility and to my surprise he encouraged me to go. I knew if I did I would never see him again. My seniority was amazing after transferring to Washington DC and I would be committing career suicide if I traded my flexibility for reserve status in Guam. Yes it was a “poor man’s Hawaii” but with $3,000 on my credit card left to pay off I couldn’t make sense of it. I couldn’t think of any good reasons to go yet I still couldn’t bring myself to push the decline button. Instead I just let it sit in the computer until the deadline approached as I let fate decide for me. If I just ignore it, will it automatically approve the transfer or automatically decline it? I didn’t know so I sat on the 2nd curveball thrown at me and let the opportunity slip away. Him & I broke up six months after that opportunity was presented to me and as much as I convinced myself I didn’t stay for him, if I’m being honest with myself I think did. My credit card was paid off by the next month so that was a lame excuse but it was nice to experience life with an actual schedule rather than constantly being on call. Everything happens for a reason and within the year, lockdowns began and the company closed its base down in Guam. I heard the news and thought I missed an opportunity I would never have the chance to get back but in reality, I couldn’t imagine being trapped on an island on the other side of the world, alone, away from my friends and family and in the middle of a pandemic. Hindsight everything unfolded just how it was meant to.
I saved my money to get my dive masters for scuba diving but just as I was about to leave for Honduras, my car broke down. All of my saved up money went towards my car and I accepted a job as a nanny for two months to help pay the rest off. Then new tires were needed, a transmission, the clutch needed to be replaced… the list goes on and on but I’m stubborn and diving was what I wanted to do so that’s where I was going. I applied for a leave from work to go live on an island off the coast of Honduras while I completed my dive masters. I was so sure this is what I wanted and that Utila is where I wanted it but while I was there I started having those doubts again. I completed my advanced but hesitated when it came to starting my rescue course. “What’s the point of me doing this? Why spend the money if I’m not going to use it?” That negative voice was pushing my goals further and further away enough to where it scared me off the island. I took a break from the water and went hiking in Colombia to clear my mind and think about what it was I truly wanted.
Rumors were going around that the Honolulu list was finally starting to move, something that had not happened in the past five years. People were starting to retire and the people who were originally on the transfer list were declining it. My status went from #697 to #89. I came back to Utila to complete my Rescue course but again, I was having a difficult time committing to the 6 week course that would come after it. I confided in the instructors there and talked to close friends but nothing was giving me peace. “Why am I having doubts now? I was so certain this is what I wanted when I arrived.” I couldn’t make it make sense to me. I started to question if the problem was me… do I not know how to be content? Was I just looking for the next best thing? One of the instructors told me, “hey, you’re overthinking it. Just go with the flow and do what feels right.” So I packed my things up after my Rescue course was over but I intentionally left a backpack to ensure that I would be back, whether it was just to visit or to begin my classes I wasn’t sure.
I went back home to Virginia at the end of July and booked my flight back to Utila for the 2nd week of August so I could begin my dive masters. I bought all the necessary items needed for the course and was completely packed up but then it hit me again. Waves of doubt but this time it was loud and very upsetting because I wanted to return so badly. I needed a negative covid test in order to enter Honduras and all of the testing centers around me were booked out for the next week. Other personal reasons were holding me back and I figured I needed to stay home and take care of my business before returning to work in September. I put my head down and started to tackle through my to-do list. As I opened the app on my phone to sort through my work emails, I clicked the transfer tab to see if the list had moved at all. I was #22. My shoulders immediately relaxed. Ahhh this is why I’m not meant to go. This transfer could go through any day now and I would have felt overwhelmed with everything at home and then starting a six week commitment outside of the country.
Energy is all around us and when things feel off or uncomfortable, I encourage you to pause. Take a deep breath and observe where it’s coming from. Is it just stress from within or are outside circumstances trying to get your attention? I could sit here all day long and fight with myself on why taking this transfer to Honolulu would not be a good idea but there’s two things I’ve been taught that occupy space in my mind daily. The first one was from my mom, “it’s just time! Do it, if you don’t like it you’ll end up back where you are.” That’s true. You’ve come this far already wherever that may be and you have the knowledge and tools to get there again. The other quote is from my best friend Jessie, “money comes and goes.” I would have missed out on so much if I always let money get in the way. Is living in Hawaii going to help my savings account any? I won’t even answer that because whatever negative answer popped into your head while reading that surely popped into mine. Life is busy, chaotic, and sometimes depressing. Is living in Hawaii going to take that away from me? No. The grass is only greener where you water it and for me living in Hawaii is the perfect place to teach myself how to be content with the little that I do have and to make the best out of any situation. Will I be trading my seniority for the stressful reserve life? Yes, but there comes a time and place for everything in life and maybe this is my do-over from saying no to Guam.