Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Finding your passion...Hawaiian style!

Sometimes good things happen to good people. I'd like to think that is what happened to me a few weeks ago when trying to plan a trip with my 14-year-old daughter. What started out as the idea (hers) of a road trip to L.A. turned into a week's stay in Hawaii after a spontaneous suggestion by my husband. Our neighbor's condo just happened to be available and we had some mileage to help cover one plane ticket. We shopped for shorts, sunscreen and sun dresses (not really needed in the Northwest -- summer or no). Getting out the door was a bit harried as travel anxiety runs in our family but I only had to go back to the house twice for forgotten "maybe we'll need this" items, including a total of 7 books between us.

Once on the plane safely, I realized I had booked our seats apart -- not next to -- each other. I knew this was probably a relief to my daughter, who had listened to my constant "did you do this?" for the last two days of packing. I found myself on the aisle with a baby behind me and two quiet men next to me who I first mistook as father and sun. As the flight took off I saw them holding hands complete with gold bands and was touched. Not being able to keep my mouth shut on long plane rides, I eventually struck up a conversation with the younger gent who I discovered was a writer, poet, teacher and...magician! For the first couple hours I watched him work on a poem with old-fashioned pencil and paper. When our meal came, which included a salad the guys shared -- again this was so sweet to me though I still don't know why exactly  --  I pestered him with a few more "I used to be a reporter" questions which he graciously answered.

The next few hours flew of those conversations that leaves you feeling very connected to your fellow man, or in this case "men." Their relationship reminded me that one should pursue his her or their passion, be it magic, art, acting or music. These soulmates lived in a 300 square-foot yurt, devoid of television and internet, and few possessions. As they described their cozy home and how they worked together to respect each other's need to pursue their respective work in a such a small space, I felt a light bulb go off about my own life. What the hell was my passion? It used to be writing. Then it was my husband and travels. Then my children. More lately though it was advocacy for gay youth and their families.The conversation took a turn to these issues and -- no surprise -- my new plane buddies shared my passion. David, the older gent, had done his share of talks to his local high school and some theatre around the issues of coming out. Tom had tutored a trans youth like my son. I was actually sorry when the pilot announced we were approaching Maui but bold enough to ask for their emails.

On descent, they again held hands. I wonder if they knew how much they had inspired me in just a few hours? The question was, what was I going to do with that inspiration?

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