At the top of Wailua Falls we weren’t going to climb down. The day before, Kaua’i locals said it was a must do; “while everyone is standing there looking down, you’ll be at the bottom looking up.” It sounded nice, romantic, very honeymoon kissing in a waterfall perfect. It sounded ideal until we were overlooking Wailua Falls. At the top it seemed impossible if not entirely terrifying to make the climb down.
We were going to content ourselves with selfies before driving on to the next beautiful scene until we saw two teenagers appear from behind a metal fence, covered in mud, smiles wide, excited to share their adventure with waiting family members.
If they could do it maybe we could too.
But then we’d be dirty and tired the rest of the day.
“We’ll come back.”
Walking to the car we passed a family of 5 (3 teenage girls and their parents) getting ready to make the journey down, getting some hiking tips from locals selling homemade goods.
If they could do it maybe we could too.
When we passed a family with two young children (maybe 5 and 7 years old) getting ready to go on the hike that would involve muddy slopes and propelling yourself with ropes in parts that were too slippery to go without, there was no doubt about it.
We could do it.
Four days later we were on our plane ride home. After 4 hours and 20 minutes in the air it was time to land in Oakland Ca.
Just as the plane should have touched the ground it switched directions and went back into the air. When we should have been landing we were taking off.
In general, even when things go right and planes take-off and land the way they are supposed to, I’m not a good flier. Every sound a plane makes is surely both engines failing and if the flight attendants aren’t smiling I assume it’s because they know something is wrong and they aren’t sharing.
When the plane went back into the air and started circling the airport I KNEW that the landing gear was broken. No one made an announcement over the loud speaker and the ONLY explanation for this had to be that we were about to die; they weren’t making an announcement because they couldn’t figure out a good way to tell us we weren’t going to make it without evoking mass chaos and panic.
As Ryan sat calmly reading his magazine I was envisioning airport workers drawing straws to see who would be the one to drive the truck the plane would try to land on (something I saw on the news years before…as I’m writing this I’m realizing that what I thought was the news was really an AD for Nissan).
We made it home.
We were home but Ryan’s car that was parked on the street before we left was not.
A quick phone call to the Sheriff’s department let us know that the car had been towed 5 days prior when the city repaved the street in front of our apartment.
We knew it was going to be a big bill to get that car out of W2 Towing, while driving to the impound yard I asked if he was ready for one of my motivational soap box moments or if he would prefer silence. He chose the soap box.
I’ve been reading Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden, a self-improvement book on achieving success.
Right before the plane was supposed to land the first time I was reading a chapter on faith. In this chapter Vaden talks about perspective. Here’s what he says,
“I’ve noticed that almost always in my life when I’m frustrated, depressed or disappointed, my perspective has been reduced to the here and now. To help me see the bigger picture I’ve developed a silly physical reminder that I pull out whenever I’m discouraged. I simply hold the pen up to my eye and stare directly down its barrel. But then I pull the pen away from my eye and look at its entirety, and it reminds me that I need to look at my life the same way. I need to recalibrate my perspective in order to find peace.”
In the same chapter Vaden describes the Tape Measure Timeline. I may butcher this now but the timeline goes something like this:
Roll out a tape measure 80 inches. Once rolled out each inch represents a year in your life. Within the inch you have all 365 days of the year. The point is that if you only focus on the circumstance you’re going through right now it can seem overwhelming but if you look at it as one dot, smaller than a millimeter, on the tape measure of your life it may not be that bad.
Yes, we had to pay an insane amount of money that we would have rather used elsewhere to get a car out of impound but money is something we can get more of. And over the course of our lives together we’ll save, spend and lose much more than what we charged on our Southwest card that day.
An hour before we realized his car was missing I was 60 seconds away from calling my mom to say my last goodbye.
And four days before that I was swimming in the lake of a gorgeous waterfall overwhelmed by the beauty of this world, by the love I felt for the man who helped me make the climb and by the pride in my accomplishment.
Three millimeters of time; all are different but all are a part of me.
I’m glad we didn’t wait to hike the waterfall because there is a good chance we would not have gone back and that ended up being one of my favorite moments from the honeymoon. If you have something you want to do, something you’re afraid of, my encouragement to you today is don’t wait.
And whatever moment you’re in today remember it’s just a millimeter of time.
If you’re happy be present and be fully happy, enjoy the conversations, the moments, the memories you’re making while they’re here. And if things aren’t going the way you planned stop staring down the barrel of your pen, change your perspective, look up instead of down and remember that these moments will pass too.