Aloha FB Friends!

Aloha FB Friends!

Heading out to dinner at the Mauna Lani Bay Resorts, Big Island, Hawaii.

I’m back in Kona, Big Island-Hawaii. One of my favorite places in the whole world. I intentionally came alone on this trip. I didn’t ask any girlfriends or family members to accompany me. Why? I love my friends and family of course but I believe that it’s imperative to spend quality time with yourself. This is the gift you can give yourself and become more spiritual and truly reflect on your life. Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished? Where are you headed? What do you have planned? Do you have a 5 year or 10 year plan? What do you want from life? Are you preparing for retirement?

I know it may seem at first that these are self-indulgent questions. But I don’t think so. It’s only when you learn about yourself that you can in return give yourself back to your loved ones. Take caring of number one (you yourself) is the best gift you can sometimes do for your family or significant other.

Of course some people make this a lifestyle choice of self-indulgent selfish ambitions. That’s not what I’m talking about and this excerpt is not for them. It’s for the people who have sacrificed time, money, resources, life goals to either raise a family, support loved ones, and/or been stuck in a situation where you could not make yourself come first.

I grew up in a family where sacrifice was just another word for love. My parents came to this country with the equivalent of $500 US dollars each as that was the maximum allowed for immigrants to bring from foreign countries in the early 1980’s. As you can imagine with their limited English skills and with two small children (myself and my older brother) it was a struggle for them to put food on the table. I grew up in poverty alongside so many others at this time. My parents sacrificed their status and their respected jobs in Korea to start anew in America with the hopes of their version of the American dream.

I was raised with the notion that everything I do, everything I want, everything I become will have to be put back in the family ‘pot’ as we all have sacrificed so much to make it in America. I didn’t choose my hobbies. My mother chose my extracurricular activities for me that ensured a successful acceptance to the best colleges in the US. My Father with multiple jobs still managed to put aside money each month for my brother and my tutoring. It was all about education, hard work, no summer vacations, zero extravagance, sacrifice then more sacrifice.

Fast forward 30 some odd years later and I am here now sipping on a ‘skinny’ margarita, tapping away on my designer laptop, at one of the most expensive and luxurious resorts in Big Island, Hawaii. So far sounds like the American dream has been realized, right?

My dearest friends, the reality of it is that looks can be so deceiving. I may have achieved a certain ‘success’ but can you believe I don’t know what my hobbies are? I have sacrificed my life to my family and to the betterment of all of us my entire life that I do not even know what I REALLY enjoy doing. When I go on vacation with ANYONE, I defer to their wishes because I was raised to have no goals, ambitions, or desires of my very own. In my family, the good, dutiful, loyal daughter always comes LAST.

But this is unhealthy, unfulfilling and wrong.

Therefore, I feel blessed that I have this time and means to be able to seek such an extravagance of learning more about ME. Learning about myself and the childhood I missed out on is so therapeutic and uplifting. I thank God each day. It may have come a little bit later than I expected or hoped for, but at long last it is here!

There are days I have to admit, where I wallow in self-pity about all the things I didn’t have. Real summer vacations, toys and clothes that were not hand me downs from my Brother (who was the golden child in our family), a sweet sixteen birthday party and my list goes on and on. But I have come to the conclusion that life was never meant to be a breeze. It is construed to be tough, character building and a training process to get us ready for something far better and greater when we all leave this place.

Currently, I am in my 7th year in cancer remission. Each year that I am cancer free, I feel like every moment is a second chance, another way to start over. And sometimes I feel like I’m almost not good enough for this second chance because I need to do more with my life. I need to push even harder to showcase to everyone and to my one and only redeemer … God that I made it, I’m grateful, and I want to make a difference with my life. There were some harrowing times during the cancer therapies I had to undergo that I really thought I wouldn’t make it both physically and mentally. Now that I have overcome such trying times, how do I live my life to the fullest? Why did I fight so hard to live? What was it all for?

As I gaze into the northern Pacific Ocean lulling me with its warm salty brine in the wind, the hypnotic soft crashing of the waves into the sand and the overwhelming beauty of the sun ray as it breaks into the glistening horizon… I am reminded that life is a journey. It’s never about the destination. So don’t get caught up in what you don’t have, why you didn’t get or have what you should have had. Perhaps we were supposed to be lacking in those areas to build our inner strength. Because in the end my friends, as I have seen the end many times, it’s all about what you are INSIDE, what kind of person you are, and what you’re made of that counts. Not the diplomas on your wall, the zeroes in your bank accounts, or your popularity and success.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

As I am figuring out my hobbies, how to praise God for all his blessings in my life, and how to reach more people with my story and my journey… I am honored that you have chosen me to share this time with you. So far on this trip, I have discovered that I enjoy taking pictures. Yes on the other side… as the photographer. Go figure! smile emoticon

God bless you my friends!

Always your pin up girl,
Esther Hwang


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