The Hawaiian mindset for easy living
By Margaret Matthews, Columnist
A while back, I went to the tropical island of Oahu, a popular travel destination for a good reason. The islanders love life, and live it to the fullest in what we might call an “epicurean’s delight.” Every day is fun-filled, with traditional feasts, music, dancing, smiles, and laughter. The mindset is “live for today, for tomorrow we die.”
I landed in Oahu on an afternoon in early April, and the weather was balmy with tropical breezes blowing. On my way to take in the New Orleans Jazz Festival, I crossed a park where I saw a handsome young American. He was just gorgeous—six feet tall, green eyes, sandy hair, and a perfect physique. My new American friend accompanied me to the jazz show and then took me to dinner. He asked me if I would like him to show me the other sights around the island, since this was my first trip to Hawaii and his schedule was free—this was a golden opportunity that I could not turn down!
We spent the whole week together, and had so much fun. Each day he took me to a different place. Kodak Films hosted a Hawaiian Hula dance, where the dancers wore grass skirts and bras made of coconut shells, adorned with leis of fragrant frangipani flowers around their necks. They later gave tourists free Hawaiian dance lessons. Hanama Bay was a delight, where colourful tropical fish came right to shore and we could actually touch them.
We watched the islanders snorkelling and surfing the high waves on the north side of the island. Dole Pineapple Factory gave us a tour, including tasty samples of pineapple juice. The next day we rented a paddle boat and paddled around the entire island. We went to a dinner and dance on a cruiser which took us to Pearl Harbour, where we saw the historical site where the atomic bomb was dropped. We were invited to a luau where a pig was roasted in a sand pit, and the islanders and tourists enjoyed a barbecue with music and dance.
Everyone I encountered in Hawaii was friendly, always smiling and making tourists feel at home. Their relaxed mindset eventually rubs off on the tourists. After chatting with the islanders, and just before leaving, their goodbye is a smile and always these words: “Take it easy and hang loose”; “You no worry—be happy”; and always accompanied by the classic “hang loose” hand symbol.
My stay in Oahu was leisurely, and fun- and sun-filled, but all too soon my vacation was over and I had to head back to rainy, wet Vancouver. I pondered the advice of the islanders: “Take it easy and hang loose.” Is this advice applicable to bustling Canadian life, with its high-tech jobs that require strenuous study and hard work? Perhaps it is only suitable to life in Hawaii, but how about Barack Obama who spent many of his formative years on the Hawaiian Islands with his grandmother? He clearly had ambition, motivation, and determination, if we look at his series of impressive accomplishments.
Life is not all fun, games, and tropical breezes; there should be a balance between fun and a desire to get ahead in life, which can only be done by hard work and study.