Tag Archive | French Polynesia

Life on Tahiti Time

This funny thing happened in Tahiti where time stopped. We were ensconced in a tropical paradise bubble where the sun rose and set but time didn’t actually move forward. I don’t think we aged the 10 days we were island-bound. Really, quantum physicists should check this out. It’s weird.

You see, time in my life has always been in relation to my goals. I’ve felt the clock ticking feverishly since I was a child.

How many days until Christmas?

How many days until school gets out?

I want to lose weight. How much time do I have before prom to do that?

I want to be an actress. How much time do I have? Let me stalk IMDB and see what age other actresses were when they got their breaks and I’ll compare myself until I’m satisfied.

I want to run a marathon. How much time do I have to train?

I want to get to the weekend. How many days until the weekend?

I want to leave work. What hand is on what number on that clock?

I want to be a writer. How much time will it take me to finish this manuscript? How early do I have to get up to get decent writing time in before I have to leave for work? How long will it take me to write 10,000 words. How long do I have to wait before I can resubmit to a different publisher. How long should I wait before I follow up about my submission? How long does it take for a manuscript to make it through the editorial pipeline and onto a bookshelf? How much time do I have left to do all of these things? Do I have enough time? Am I running out of time?

Oh screw it. *Goes on Facebook*

On October 5 I stepped onto the soil of Moorea. Time faded away. No change of seasons. No change of tides. No weekends. No happy hours. No deadlines. No race days. No age limits. No pipelines. No time. Just peace. Quiet. Adventure. Fun. Experience.

Here’s the thing though. I missed time. After 10 days I looked forward to stepping back onto my matrix of timelines. I didn’t want to leave paradise but like some sort of junkie I wanted the pressure of a clock ticking toward something, even if that something was just Halloween in two weeks. Am I crazy? Maybe it’s my Western-wired overly ambitious American brain. Probably. I left Tahiti grateful and rejuvenated by the extended pause. Now I’m ready to start the clock with a healthy perspective that my timelines are made up, they are relative, and they can change in an instant.

Tahiti gave my imagination an oasis to which I can always retreat. When time moves too quickly I will close my eyes and fly away to our beach of coral bones, and our Polynesian pups, and the night-light water and wise manta rays. I will go there and I will feel the clock slow. Thank goodness.

So I’m 31 and I’m not a published author yet. I will adjust my timeline. So it’s Tuesday and I’m facing four more days until the weekend. It’s just a day in time and space and the weekend is made up. I will do one thing today completely for myself that makes me feel free and suddenly I’ve turned Tuesday into a weekend. I’ve let time feel like the enemy in my life. I had to run 4,000 miles to discover that he was a villain of my own creation. Aren’t they always?

Our second to last day in French Polynesia I experienced a perfect moment. The sun sat low in the sky on the other side of the lagoon, shining a glorious warm pink light on the main island of Maupiti. It stood there, the mountain, basking in the warm pinkness of the sunset. Brad snorkeled by the reef, beyond where I could see him. I had just finished a good book. The Polynesian pups slept by my feet and roused as I stood to watch the sun go down. I could not see or hear another living human anywhere. For a brief moment I stood alone on this island with my Polynesian pups and the water and the mountain smiling into the sun. Everything felt warm in a sleepy ember sort of way. A perfect moment. The spirit moved me and I sang Never Never Land to the pups and to the mountain and to my husband out in the sea beyond where he could hear me. I stood there and sang at the top of my lungs as the sun set on our last day. It slipped behind a cloud, into the ocean, and as if on cue I felt the clock start ticking once again. Tick. Tock. Suddenly I understood what sort of vicious creature that Captain Hook was really running from. Brad came in from the sea. My siren song worked. He grabbed my hand and we retreated into our bungalow. Time to go home.

I have a place where dreams are born,
And time is never planned.
It’s not on any chart,
You must find it with your heart.
Never Never Land.

It might be miles beyond the moon,
Or right there where you stand.
Just keep an open mind,
And then suddenly you’ll find
Never Never Land.

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A Major Milestone

I have some very exciting news to announce everyone! Although we haven’t quite stayed on track in terms of the timing of our journey to Tahiti (we originally planned a schedule that would get us there by Spring 2013, which, as you can see, didn’t happen at all), we are definitely still on our way. Very much so. We’ve been “running in the Pacific” a bit longer than expected, but hey, the water is warm and there have been lots of interesting stories to collect along the way. So what is the news?

As of July 2013, Brad and I are halfway to Tahiti!!

Now, that may sound pretty lame considering I just reminded you that we originally hoped to be there 5 months ago, but reserve your judgement and join us in the celebration. There are nuggets of wisdom here.

Goals matter. They drive us. They make us DO things, and not just dream about doing them. I read a really sharp article last year on Cracked.com that has stuck with me for a long time. To sum up, the writer illustrates in several different ways the uselessness of the well-intentioned, and the power of action. Being a good person, caring about the less fortunate, having dreams and aspirations. None of it means squat if you don’t DO anything about it. It’s a simple concept but somehow this article laid down a few metaphors that really hit the message home.

In thinking about the thesis mentioned in the previous paragraph, I can honestly say that I’m proud of us. We rock. Yes we’re only halfway to Tahiti by the date we intended to be ON Tahiti; but that only means one thing to me, WE’RE HALFWAY TO TAHITI!!! We’ve run 2,054 miles between the two of us and saved as much money. We rock.

Nothing goes as planned. If you have an example of a goal or life event that went EXACTLY as planned, by all means, share in the comments. Prove me wrong. In my experience, life always mixes things up a bit. The trick is to not let life’s minor or major detours derail you completely from what is truly important to you. So yes, it has been harder than expected to meet our weekly mileage goals. We could have let that discourage us and we could have turned around and headed back to shore. Nope. When my stint on the AMC took up two years of my life, when Brad’s massive understudying gig at the Geffen made running time impossible, when we got colds or flus or injuries, or when we fell during a race and and sprained our ankle for a month, you know what we did?

Nobody said it would be an easy run. We didn’t give up.

And here’s the final nugget of wisdom I take from this milestone. We’ve come too far to turn back. Once you pass that halfway point, the cost benefit becomes more worthwhile to just keep heading towards your goal instead of turning around and going back. We are stuck out in the middle of the Pacific surrounded by sharks and jellyfish, and it’s literally going to hurt just as much to MAKE it to our destination as it would to give up and go home, which makes the choice pretty clear. That’s an exciting feeling, and it motivates me to keep going until we get there. Do or die. I can’t help but feel that all goals, even ones that don’t involve running to a tropical island, have a similar halfway point. I think it’s just harder to determine what that point is. Mileage between point A and point B provides tangible and quantifiable benchmarks for progress. The halfway mark to becoming a successful artist, or starting your own business, or writing a novel, or becoming an astronaut, or ANY dream, may be harder to pinpoint, but I believe it’s there. I believe we reach a point in all of our endeavors where it’s easier to finish than it is to give up. This running goal, Running to Tahiti, has taught me to believe in that; to believe that by putting one foot in front of the other, we first begin, then we get a 1/3 of the way out, then we’re halfway there, then we see the goal in sight, then we reach for it it, and touch it, and smell it, and love it, and dance with it, and sing about it, and we HAVE it. We did it.

We can’t see the shore yet, but from this moment on, we know we are closer to Tahiti than we are to Los Angeles. We’ll be there soon, and we’ll send you a postcard.

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Tahiti

 

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boat-Tahiti

 

Tahiti 2

 

in complete awe of the massive surf

we can almost see it!