As a kid I remember wanting to grow up. I always wanted to be old — a real adult. I remember playing Sims (without any cheats) pretending that is how my life would be. I would reside in a small, nicely decorated house living on a waitress salary.
Months ago I had made plans to sublease from a woman in a perfect house with a view of Diamond Head and Waikiki. Everything was panning out perfectly until I received a text from the new landlord that had taken over. She explained to me that she gave the room to someone else.
So, here I am. Moving out of the dorms in two weeks, scrambling to find a place in the rare freetime I have between classes, work and studying for finals. Right now, being an adult is not fun. It is not the ideal life my Sims would have lived, that is for sure.
I have this new mentality here, though: whenever I have one negative thought, one thing to complain about, I always make sure to look around at what I have. Yes, I might be couchsurfing for a few weeks until I can find a place, but I’ll be couchsurfing in Hawai’i. I’ll be couchsurfing on all of my best friends’ cozy couches. And when you think about it like that, it really doesn’t sound that bad after all.
That is the thing about being an adult. There are so many downsides, but all of those downsides have major upsides. Between work and class, finding time to hang out with my friends is a challenge. But when I do have that free time, it makes our moments on the beach watching the sunset that much more important to me.
Being an adult also means paying for a bunch of things like rent, electricity and laundry. While that money could be unrealistically spent on dolphin diving tours and booze cruises, it has to go to the important things. That is the epitome of adulthood.
What they don’t tell you about being an adult, though, is how rewarding it is to be able to pay for your survival. For my 21st birthday my family gave me Target gift cards. I did the adult thing and bought sheets with them instead of a collection of Christmas decorations that I don’t even need. At least I know that those sheets are my sheets. And that those sheets are on my bed. And that my bed is in Hawai’i.
I cannot put into words how much living in Hawai’i has taught me. In these four short months I have learned how to effectively apply for apartments, bargain to secure a deal on a moped and save my money instead of spending it on clothes and iced coffee. Well, if I am being honest, I am still working on the last bit.
I have learned the value of hard work. This moment in my life is no doubt the most stressed I have ever been. But it’s a productive stress. It is teaching me how to balance social life, schoolwork and work. And that is the thing about stress, it is motivational because you just have to deal with it, figure it out.
The Hawaiians swear that the ocean cures all. Sick? Dunk your head in the ocean. Tired? Dunk your head. Stressed? Dunk your head in that salty, frosty blue, magical body of water. Then after you’ve dunked your head, float. While you float, look up at the massive sky and the distant mountains and realize how lucky you are to be living here. When you live in Hawai’i, everything can be cured by thinking “yeah, but, I live in Hawai’i.”
If I were to be shriveling up due to the inevitable stresses of becoming an adult, I would not want it to be anywhere but here. I am surrounded by an island that gives me adventure and my friends who show me endless love and laughter.
Here I am, thriving. Now the Sims want to be me.
Cipriano can be reached at [email protected]