Ten years ago I came home and developed a new philosophy about my life, about the way I wanted to live, and about the type of person I wanted to be. A six-day trip, one day in particular, ultimately changed my life for the next ten years. It lead me on one heck of an adventure, and the path, while difficult at times, was totally worth it. Today I recognize a new path is before me yet again, and a new philosophy is emerging. Perhaps I was naïve to think I’d come here for as long as I have and not form a new mentality and attitude about my life; perhaps it was silly of me to not recognize the power of this place and what it can do for me (and others). Ironically, again, it was a single day that left its mark on me, in perhaps the most unexpected of places; down by the beach at a small bay past Shipwreck on Kauai. But my wife and I experienced that moment together, in tandem, and while I can’t speak for her, for me it was transformational, much like my encounter with Waikamoi Ridge Trail on Maui was over ten years ago.
The evidence of the shift was immediate. I went down to that bay frustrated and perhaps even angry. I was upset our time here was coming to a close and I was frustrated about a many great other things in my life. But when I left, it was as if all of that had melted way. My transformation in 2002 had been life changing, and my new philosophy had worked for many years in my life, but that philosophy, that mentality – had come to a point where it was no longer useful or beneficial for me at this time of my life. So I opened my heart and found something completely new – and I immediately knew it was within me to make change, much like I did the last time. The power of knowing something with such conviction is hard to describe, and these feelings, the emotions, and the empowering logic presented to me here is without comparison or equal. I come here often to ‘recharge’ my ‘batteries’ and two times now I’ve received a whole lot more.
I jokingly call my first transformation, John 2.0. It was perhaps the biggest shift in my life a decade ago. I came back from my trip and within a year had changed quite a bit about my life. Within three years, more had changed than I’d ever imagined. A lot of people think I say that to just say it, but I don’t – a lot did change, and anyone who knew me then knows what the transformation did for me. It greatly improved the quality of my life, for many years.
Looking back I realize now that I took a lot of interesting roads during the years after my first trip. It was definitely one heck of an adventure as I previously noted. But I also realize now that I took some roads I should not have. My first marriage was a tough lesson learned, as was the loss of a job in 2010. Fortunately, in the ashes of the first relationship I found the amazing companionship that is now my heart and soul in my wife Victoria; and in the no-fault loss of my job, I found my current employer that has been rewarding to me beyond any expectations. It’s shown me that even when we make mistakes, or when the misfortunate finds us in life, there is always a way. And for ten years my new mentality worked for me as well as it could. But after a decade, and perhaps much sooner than that, I realized it wasn’t who I really wanted to be, and for a long time I lacked the courage to make the shift to what I am now. The courage takes power and inspiration, and I received both last Tuesday on October 2, 2012.
So, perhaps cheekily I say that now John 3.0 has emerged. And yeah, it sounds cheesy, and perhaps ridiculous to some of you. But quite frankly, I don’t care if you believe me or not. I know one thing, myself, and I knew immediately the shift that occurred in me. Here’s a little bit about who I am now, and who I’ll become is still TBD. I’m a lot more relaxed than I used to be, I’m laid back and I’m not going to sweat the small things; nor some big ones that aren’t really within my control. Life’s too short to worry over sh*t that happens, and I’m not going to get caught up in it anymore. The river of life flows around obstacles and makes it way to the ocean in its own time; I’m just a long for the ride. I’m still the hard worker I was before, I’m still determined and focused – but to the beat of a new drum. I have goals and ambitions, and I’m going to reach them, there’s no doubt about that now. I’m going to put my family first, where it belongs. I’m going to put my family’s dreams first, where they belong. What I do in this life after that will come subsequently to those first two things.
I’ll drive in the slow lane, I’ll work with a relaxed pace to make sure I’m doing thing (whatever) to the best of my abilities, and I won’t rush through things (life included) with the dire pace that never suited me before. I’m not going to be the perfectionist I was, I’m not going to worry about “getting it just right.” I’m just going to do the best I can, always. I’m not going to get caught up in the hoopla of politics or the news or anyone else’s agenda. I know what my convictions are and I know what I believe in – that’s enough for me, and only my closest of friends need to know that about me. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone other than myself. I will love more deeply, I will be more sincere and open with those I care about. I will express myself in a way to those I know best that will reveal my true feelings; I won’t hide behind a shadow of who I once was anymore. I’m not going to lie, to anyone about anything. If the truth troubles people, that’s a reflection on them, not me – there are always two answers in life, the truth and the answer people want to hear. I find the truth more righteous (pono) and honorable.
I’m going to life my life to the beat of this new drum for as long as I need to, for as long as it serves me and my family. And when its time is done, the next phase will begin. For those who knew me before, wash away what you knew – things are different now. You can question or doubt that if you wish, but if you’re still betting on the past instead of the present, you’re going to be surprised. I’m not going to dwell on the past, and I’m not going to obsess over the future – I’m going to enjoy the moment. Few of us really do that – so I’m going to be in the minority for a change. I might respond to your questions a little slower; I’m going to think through my answers. I’m going to give my trust , in full, until and if its taken advantage of; after that, you’ll have to earn it back if you expect to have it. I will be generous and kind – in a way I never have been to all of those around me. But in tune I will be fiery and stand up to those who take advantage of my family or I. I will not be the push-over I have been before; I will take a stand for what’s right and my principles will lead me on said assessments.
For many years now this new philosophy has been itching to get out of me, to shed myself of the old and to bear witness to the new. Finally that time has come. I sincerely hope all of my friends and family will celebrate this new transformation with me. This is a good and positive change for me, in more ways than many of you will ever know.
Finally, my sincerest mahalos (thanks) to my wife for her support and encouragement as this transformation has taken place and as it continues to in the weeks and months to come. Thank you for sharing the originating moment with me, for experiencing the raw and awesome power that is Kauai. May we never forget that moment, and may it transform our lives forever.
Me ke Aloha,