If I Had My Life (in Kona) To Live Over

Kona sunset

 

Thanks for the Memories

This month marks our 8th year anniversary that our family came to Kona for the first time. We impetuously decided we wanted to live on an island for a year and leave Silicon Valley and its traffic far behind. My husband and I were standing in the sand watching the sunset at Kua Bay last Sunday remembering when we first stood in that same space in 2005. They had just opened the road to Kua Bay at that point and we were giddy with how lucky we were to be on that beach when our friends were freezing in Los Gatos.

Now after moving here full time almost three years ago, we find ourselves taking it all for granted. I sit in my condo over 30 hours a week inside working on my computer as a small business owner. The light will start to turn a beautiful orange-red glowing behind me as the sun is setting and I think, “I should go out there and see it”. But I don’t.

When we were playing in the waves at Kua with our kids and my son was having a ball in a tide pool full of sand, I realized that at 8 1/2, he won’t be doing this much longer with us. My daughter, who came here at 4, is now almost a teenager, and thank goodness, still enjoys a good game of “sand fight” with us and her brother. We used to play on the beach at least three times a week when we first got here. I did not go in the ocean for almost six weeks at the beginning of this year.

I have been posting stories of Hawaii for 2 1/2 years on my blogs and now I have friends thinking they want to move here and give island life a shot. I’d have to tell anyone moving here to beware of “Paradise Burnout”. When you start ignoring the sunsets, spending more time working to pay the energy bills than soaking in the sunshine, and frequently forgetting that there is a whole other world under the water just down the street, then you need to re-evaluate and pretend you’re a tourist again.

I had the pleasure of hosting a young man, Pasquale, from Italy who is a friend of some family back in Arizona. He’d never been to a tropical island before. Seeing my community through his awestruck eyes, made me realize just how much I had been taking this all for granted lately. We stopped at the scenic outlook off of Kam III Rd and he was amazed at how the Pacific Ocean stretched forever in front of him. I took him down to the Keauhou Bay and we walked on the pier. He saw a fish ball and some tropical fish and the guy was in heaven. I’ll never forget his face when I offered him an apple banana and he tasted it for the first time. He truly savored it, and smiled that goofy way you do when you find something luscious.

I’m looking around a bit more now with the eye of a tourist again. And I am remembering to enjoy this tropical location that our family is so blessed to live in. A few minutes ago, my mom, who turns 78 today,  sent me an essay that Erma Bombeck wrote after she was diagnosed with cancer and knew she would pass soon. I am sharing it here, to remind myself and my readers about life and where we put our priorities. I will watch more sunsets with my kids, sit at the ocean with my feet in the sand at least once a week and remember to savor every day the way that Pasquale savored that banana.

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck*

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted
in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained,
or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much
less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t
show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every
moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only
chance in life to assist God in a miracle..

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later… Now
go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s,
more ‘I’m sorry’s.’ *

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute; look at
it and really see it; live it and never give it back.. STOP SWEATING THE
SMALL STUFF!*

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love
us…

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • noel says:

    Aloha Julie

    Kua bay, yes that is an amazing beach to hang out in and enjoy the day. It is nice having visitors come and see this beautiful island and also rediscover the magical places and lifestyle that we always take for granted.

    Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

    noel

  • Julie Z says:

    Thanks ladies so much for taking the time to read the article and leave such thoughtful responses. Glad I struck a chord here..;-)

  • Julie Z says:

    Thanks ladies so much for taking the time to read the article and leave such thoughtful responses. Glad I struck a chord here..;-)

  • Nancy says:

    Sweet Julie! When I arrived 18 years ago I asked the question, is there “Paradise Burnout”? My friend answered me “Never” – how can you miss the stunning beauty we awake to each morning and the crystal blue of the ocean, the joy of the dolphins and the magic of the tropical fish. We are the lucky ones… when I am tired and rocking on the boat feeling blah about my amazing life… I think of the person in Chicago, New York, in a cubicle – who walked through the slush and ice to a subway or bus to get to work in the dark and will return home in the dark – after a day of a cranky boss pestering them all day….. I say Thank You God for my Amazing Life and once again I am on my knees in gratefulness to be living in Hawaii Nai! 18 years after moving here, I am still awe-inspired. :0

  • Nancy says:

    Sweet Julie! When I arrived 18 years ago I asked the question, is there “Paradise Burnout”? My friend answered me “Never” – how can you miss the stunning beauty we awake to each morning and the crystal blue of the ocean, the joy of the dolphins and the magic of the tropical fish. We are the lucky ones… when I am tired and rocking on the boat feeling blah about my amazing life… I think of the person in Chicago, New York, in a cubicle – who walked through the slush and ice to a subway or bus to get to work in the dark and will return home in the dark – after a day of a cranky boss pestering them all day….. I say Thank You God for my Amazing Life and once again I am on my knees in gratefulness to be living in Hawaii Nai! 18 years after moving here, I am still awe-inspired. :0

  • Lynnie says:

    Julie such sweet sentiments that I too share as a returny from Oregon of 1 year. I too lived this life you talk about for 9 years and even when I went into the bay time kept going and somehow I got by. My children are now grown and explore their worlds differently then mine. I am blessed and a better mother just for this. So lift up your coconut shell mai tai and cheers to memories and to becoming awake again and get off the computer.! LOL

  • Colleen Listro says:

    just remember three words…. family, faith and work… in that order… always and forever!!

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