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The gift of jet lag

City Slicker

The gift of jet lag


 I'm not a morning person. I prefer staying up late, sleeping late -- and on vacations, I'm highly unlikely to be seen before 10 am. But in March 2017, I was able to visit Oahu - my first time staying on the island, but a long awaited return to Hawaii, which I haven't seen for three decades. As a child, with a father who worked for World Airways, I had great memories of school holidays in Maui and Kawaii, places none of my Michigan classmates had visited, despite their economic advantages. But even moving to Los Angeles as an adult, with flights to Hawaii more affordable than I knew I would ever see again, I could not find the funds to return. Making rent in those years was a monthly struggle, and luxury meant real Parmesan cheese.

This past March, a friend having a destination wedding gave me the push I needed to put in the effort. A deadline, a savings goal, a reason that didn't sound "selfish." I made it happen...and was a bit concerned on my first day when I could not sleep, and was wide awake, blinking, at 4 am.

But the sound of the waves on the Oahu point, filtering in my room through the shutters (how amazing to leave the glass doors to the lanai open all night!), suggested that insomnia on the beach, with no obligations or schedules, is not a curse at all.

I pulled on a dress and sandals, and ventured out into the unknown -- the pre-dawn beach. It was empty, the ocean louder than it seems midday. The air was soft like only tropical air can be. I took a few photos, explored a bit, but mostly, mostly, I just looked, and listened, and breathed, and allowed myself to be awake, with no agenda.

I never did reset to "normal" time that week. I was up every morning, and made my way down to the beach at least for a few minutes each day. My Oahu trip was so exquisite for so many reasons, but one of them is this photo, from my first dawn on the beach, letting go of how I thought the trip would be to delight in what it had to teach me about the joy of not getting your own way.