I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and moved to Denver, CO, for physical therapy school in 1998. I met my future husband there, started my career there, and loved Denver. I felt at home there and had created a life for myself. I never had any thoughts of leaving.
My husband had visited Kailua, HI, once before we met and fell in love with it. I had never been to Hawaii and honestly didn’t have a huge need to go. I loved the beach but was more of a Caribbean girl (or so I thought). During a chance encounter out in Denver one night, he ran into an elementary school classmate and discovered she and her family now lived in Kailua! They needed someone to house and dog sit for them for two weeks and could we do it? We were on the next plane out of town.
For the next two years we travelled to Kailua a few times a year to housesit for various friends we met while we were here. We loved to travel and are beach people at heart, so it felt natural. The idea started slowly forming in our heads…did we want to move to Hawaii? We met wonderful people and made some great friends. I visited various physical therapy clinics and Pilates studios to understand the job market and make some connections. We had two dogs but Hawaii no longer had the quarantine so we could move them here fairly easily. Both of us could move our careers and work in Hawaii and we didn’t have kids yet, so schools weren’t a problem. The only thing left to decide? Did we actually want to do it.
I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious 🙂 It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve never regretted it for even a second. We did not come to this decision lightly, though. The path I followed to make that huge life decision is the same I’ve used since when having to make big choices or decisions. Here is some of my advice:
1) Find your “WHY”.
This is what you will fall back on when you start to question a decision or how you feel. For me it was a very specific even that occurred. My husband was coming to Hawaii for 3 weeks and I could only come for 1 week because of vacation time at work. I realized that I never wanted work to hold me back from doing what I wanted to do! So I quit and became an independent contractor so I could set my own hours. I knew I wanted that freedom to travel and try new things. Whenever the idea of moving became overwhelming (and believe me, there were times it was very overwhelming!) I went back to my “why”. I truly wanted to try something new and enjoy the freedom to set my own hours. I would always regret not trying it. You HAVE to have a “why” to remember how important something is during the hard times.
2) What’s the worst that can happen?
This is one of my favorite things to ask when making a hard decision. When moving here the answer was “we move back to Denver.” Denver was a place I loved, so if that was the worst thing, no big deal! It might cost us a lot of money, but we could always move back. When we were deciding to open a second studio I asked “what’s the worst that could happen? We have to make it through a five year lease and pay the bills. Can I at least pay the bills and break even during those five years? Yes.” If the answer was “we don’t pay the bills and go bankrupt” then maybe I would have made another choice, but I knew that wasn’t a possibility. There are very few things (other than having a child) that you can’t change your mind about. If you think of the worst case scenario and it doesn’t seem all that bad, then the decision won’t be as scary!
3) Sit on it
Many people come to Hawaii on vacation, fall in love, call home and quit their jobs and have all their stuff sent here to stay. I don’t recommend making many decisions this way 🙂 Hawaii is a very different place to live than to vacation. If an idea starts to form in your head, let it sit there for a while. Talk to your significant other or one or two close friends. Do a little research, let the thought stew for a bit. After a month if you aren’t even thinking about it anymore, you know it wasn’t important to you. If the thought is still there and you find yourself picturing the future based on this thought, maybe it’s time to explore it a little further. This may not be the most exciting way to make a decision, but you will be happier in the long run for it!
Don’t be scared of making big decisions in life! Whether moving, planning a vacation, changing jobs, having a child, or simply buying a new car. Trust yourself and have some strategies to make the best decisions for you and your family. Life is an adventure so have fun 😀.