My Hawaiian Fork in the Road

In a series of cascading events beginning with a trip to the North Shore of Oahu, I find myself standing at the precipice of an unpredictable life, half of me trying to keep my footing solidly on the path I came from, and the other foot twitching to leap off into the unknown. As much as I have sought adventure and new experiences in my life, I have always made sure to stay well within reach of the comfortable and predictable life path that I envisioned for myself. That life involved living at my house in Southern California, holding down a software engineering job and settling down into a rhythm by age 30 to start a family. However since coming to Hawaii I have noticed that with each choice I am not only moving farther away from my predictable life, but accelerating the pace at which I’m veering off onto the unknown.

The sequence of events that has accelerated me to this fork in the road went something like this:

1. I took a trip to the North Shore of Oahu and lived with friends for a week. It was a welcome escape after 3 years of living alone, and 1 year of covid.

2. I met a friend who told me how she initially came here intending to be on the island a short term but decided to stay. I was already thinking about staying and hearing her story pushed me over the edge. I canceled my return flight and booked a place for 3 months.

3. I then decided that work from home is a dealbreaker for me in my job and talked with my manager about it. We agreed that I could work from home indefinitely.

4. I put a lot of effort into finding community and making friends in Hawaii and it gave me some new perspectives on my own life. I have been living alone for the past 3 years, plus a year during covid, it’s been an amazing period of personal growth, I figured out how to be happy and what’s important in my life but it’s been terrible for connection and relationship building. I love the city that I lived in but it isn’t great for meeting people who are in the same stage of life as me and I didn’t realize how nice it was to live in a place with tons of peers. I realized that I have the ability to make friends and connections in a new place, it takes a lot of energy but it’s worth every drop and I’m pretty good at it.

5. I leased out my house for a year. It’s the one decision I made that I can’t easily take back. It forces me to live differently and not simply return to my life as it was for at least a year.

This series of events makes it evident that I am headed towards an unpredictable future, but I am acutely aware of the risks of exploring the unknown. I realize that I have been fortunate that things have turned out so positively life changing the last few times I took leaps of faith. Are there usually good things waiting on the other side of the veil or have I just been lucky? How many times can I strike gold?

This inner conflict between the explorer and the homebody, the daredevil and the insurance agent, is not new. In fact it’s become clear to me that the most significant choices I’ve made in my adult life have revolved around balancing these opposing forces and it has been a reoccurring theme in my life.

Me excited at home playing with my food on a lazy weekend, versus me excited to take a train across India to "I'm not exactly sure where".

The first sentence in my about section that I wrote over 3 years ago was that “I’ve always felt a bit of friction between how much I enjoy being a homebody and how much I wanted to go out and explore the world for myself”. Since then I have found so much joy and meaning from exploring the unknown, I quit my comfortable dream job, traveled on the other side of the world for 6 months with just a backpack and no set plans, and started my own business from complete scratch. Yet I have also discovered the happiness and peace that comes from the comforts of a predictable routine. I spent a year loving my daily routine of slow walking around the neighborhood, cleaning my house, cooking, reading, frequenting the same taco spots, dance venues, surf breaks and enjoying time in person with my friends and family.

Perhaps I enjoy exploring after a period of routine, and then enjoy my periods of routine after a leap of faith into the unknown. My life has recently come out of a period of routine, and maybe I unconsciously recognize that it’s time once again to take off into the unknown.

I’m not sure if I’m writing this to try and come to my senses and stop myself or to bolster myself into committing to exploring the unknown. I do know that I feel like I am standing at a fork in the road. On one side the path is smooth, straight, and I can see my destination albeit far in the distance. The other path is rugged, obscured by possibility and suspended in a superposition waiting for me to collapse the path into reality.

I know that happiness will bloom on either path, and I’m itching to explore.