Twenty-Four. A couple weeks ago, that is how old I turned. And let me just admit right now that leading up to that day I was dreading it. All these fears and insecurities came creeping in on me as I started some serious self-examination. Fear that I haven’t done enough, seen enough, accomplished enough, or truly experienced enough. Fear that I am not far enough along in my career or if I should be closer to getting married (hi, about four thousand of my friends are getting married right now, and I am just getting closer to becoming a crazy cat lady).
But after I got over myself and actually opened my eyes, I realized all the life that is happening around me; the beautiful life that the Lord has given me. The rolling hills in the valley behind my house; the turquoise water bubbling up all around me; the hikes and adventures awaiting me right outside my door; and the beautiful people I get to experience it all with. Sometimes I miss out on the things and the blessings that I have been given (twenty-four years worth of them) because I am too wrapped up in a skewed perception of where I think I need to be or should be. But if I have learned anything from the Hawaiian lifestyle, it is to be in the moment and enjoy every moment that life gives you. The little things ARE the big things. Walking barefoot in the sand, watching the sunset, or laying in a hammock are free, yet profoundly rewarding experiences.
And it seems that Hawaii just keeps on giving, and gave me a perfect way to start of my 24th year of life. I’ve had some pretty incredible adventures, most notably some spectacular new hikes on the island. As with every hike and adventure I have been on, I was completely blown away by God’s beautiful creation. And hello, there is no reason to waste the opportunity I have been given to explore and appreciate the Lord’s great green earth! Here are some of my latest expeditions:
KA’AU CRATER HIKE
A couple buddies and I headed out into the beautiful lush Manoa Valley, where this hidden gem awaited us. I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time, as I had heard of the numerous waterfalls you have to scale to get to the top. As we drove back into the valley, it began pouring–a typical event back in this area of the island. Lucky for us, this just added to the adventure and made the experience all the more wild… and muddy!
When we made it back to the car, we were all covered in mud and dirty from head to toe. This quickly became my new favorite hike on the island. That is… until I went on the next hike, stairway to heaven.
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
This is a hike you read about online, and see pictures of in almost every post and article about Hawaii. I had seen it long before I had come to the island, and had been eagerly awaiting the day when I would get to tackle it! However seeing as the hike is illegal now, I knew I would need to go with someone who was experienced and knew their way around. Thankfully, a friend of ours took me and my roomie on a spontaneous adventure one night around 9pm, where we found ourselves jumping in ditches, scrambling up cliffs, and fumbling around in the pitch black. Once we finally made our way to the stairs, the real fun began. We climbed those 3,922 steps to the top where we set up our hammocks and waited to descend as the sun rose in the sky. An experience I will never ever forget.
These adventures were great reminders of how small I am and how this life isn’t about me. I am ready to continue this 24th year with appreciation, gratitude, and a spirit full of wonder-ready to explore more of His beautiful creation and fall more in love with Him!