Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

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I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

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i want to be broke

twice in the last 6 or 7 years, i’ve become what i consider overweight. what do i consider overweight? i could see in the mirror that my gut was sticking out, and my pants were getting tighter. to me, that’s overweight. i wasn’t a blimp or anything but i could see that i was starting to pack weight on, and that’s enough for me to want to do something about it.

the scale confirmed my fears, of course. while my adult weight has fluctuated between 180-190 lbs, it was only recently that it crept up to 200 lbs. both times that this happened, i simply cut back on junk food (i have a deep respect for cookies and chips), started eating smaller portions in general, and did a bit more cardio exercise like running and biking than usual. within a few weeks, my body went back to the shape i liked and my weight dropped down to 190. hooray, all is right in my world again.

but i’ve been thinking about why my weight has slowly become a minor issue for me, and i actually think it’s because i’m no longer poor.

hear me out, you treasonous infidels: when i was in my early 20s and first moved out, i didn’t have a lot of money so i bought the cheapest food i could — i learned that fruit was a much cheaper snack than chocolate-coated granola bars or any of the tastier, less healthy options. the same thing applied to cereal so i usually opted for corn flakes or red river — the ultra bland healthier stuff. i never bought cheese because that was WAY too expensive, and on and on. i never overate either, since that would obviously cost more. it’s no surprise i was pretty skinny for all of this.

but as i’ve gotten older and made gradually more money, i’ve gotten into the habit of treating myself to whatever i want, whenever i want. i can now afford whatever guilty pleasure i want when i get groceries, i can buy baked goods every time i work, i can get greasy pizza for a snack when i’m doing errands in town. it doesn’t have a visible impact on my bank account anymore so there has been no incentive to deny myself.

therein lies the problem. i’ve reached a point where i can financially afford to always say ‘yes’ to myself, and it has made me soft.

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not THAT soft

the funny thing is that i frequently think about this idea in terms of artists and how shitty most of them get once they make it big. i think metallica is a perfect example of how a hungry young band can create important, powerful art when they have nothing, and how the success of that art can lead to the band becoming complacent or self-indulgent. artists have to be careful with success because it can be such a double-edged sword. no matter how successful a band becomes, i think it is of utmost importance that they preserve the fire that made them so great to start with — they need to stay lean, stay hungry, so to speak. i think about that all the time.

despite being acutely aware of this idea, i too fell victim to it (in a physical sense, obv). it’s incredible.

the good news though is that i’m aware of all this now; i’m lucky i caught it early, and i’m lucky i’m already back down to my fighting weight. now i just have to learn to live every day like i’m broke again.

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stay lean. stay hungry. stay broke. it’s actually better that way.

shit bit

i don’t get the recent fad of fitbits, iwatches, ‘fitness trackers,’ and the like. they’re so fucking hot right now. why? all the ads i see and all the conversations i have with people about fitbits and whatnot only amount to, “this way i can see what my pulse is while i’m doing stuff!” as if that’s some amazing feat. well guess what, there’s a much cheaper, easier way to check your pulse. it’s this.

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or this.

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are people so fucking lazy and gadget-obsessed that they’d rather spend hundreds of dollars on a goofy watch that is going to break in a year or two or get thrown out in a year when the trend dies down, rather than take a few seconds to learn how to manually check a pulse?

yes, they are. actually, i think it’s worse than that. i think this fad ties in with another thing i’ve bitched about before, where people spend lots of money on exercise clothes and books and shit just so they feel like they’re making real progress on getting fit, even though they aren’t actually using any of that stuff and exercising like they should be.

people don’t need fitbits and other gadgets to get off their fat asses. they just need to get off their fat asses in the first place. and if they really, REALLY want to know what their pulse rate is, just fucking feel it — no special gadget required.

live and let die

i just read an irritating story about phil rudd, the ex-AC/DC drummer. he was recently experiencing chest pain while at home so he went to hospital and got checked out. turned out he had a blockage in one of the arteries in his heart so they got him into surgery and inserted a stent to fix it. they basically saved his life. then he goes on to say

“I sneaked out [of the hospital] to the shop to get some cigarettes, then I realized I had no car, so I walked home to get the Ferrari, and drove back to the hospital.”
this illustrates one of my biggest problems with healthcare: we’re all super eager to save lives even though most of us aren’t willing to prevent our own health problems in the first place.

if phil rudd had a blocked artery, why is he still smoking? it’s common knowledge that smoking contributes to heart disease, among numerous other health problems, like cancer and breathing problems like COPD. and if he just had heart surgery, why is he sneaking out of the hospital to walk around when he was likely supposed to be on bed rest? you don’t have heart surgery and skip out the doors the following day. that risks undoing all the surgery you just had done.

when phil rudd goes to hospital and has surgeons do serious work on his heart and immediately follows that with traipsing around the neighbourhood to buy more smokes, he is effectively saying, “i’m too lazy to keep myself alive. you do it for me.” and that’s fucking bullshit.

but the worst part is that phil rudd is not an exception. he is like most people, people who can’t be bothered to look after their own health yet expect others to. i realize i have very little sympathy for anyone but i don’t care — i think that if someone wants healthcare, they should first prove that they are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. this would ensure that all the costs associated with that care are not wasted. i think people should first get the mental health support they need, quit their harmful addictions, get active, and get fit (or at least show some substantial progress in those areas), or forget about the whole thing and just keep doing what they’re doing until it kills them, and accept it — no bitching, no “please save me” dramatics, etc. because if you don’t care enough to bother, i don’t think anyone else should either.

no free rides for anyone. earn it. and that includes washed up old wannabe bad boy rockers like phil rudd, too.

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it takes a serious badass to disregard the health advice of doctors AND appear publicly without their false teeth in. wow.