Returning Home: Exploring Hana, Maui

I had been away from my childhood town of Hana, Maui for nearly 26 years.  That was the last time I visited back in June 1993 with two of my close friends from church, Eva and Keolani and a close friend of Keolani’s named Evie.  Eva and I were in our mid-20s and starting our careers – for her, it was nursing. For me, I was just starting out as an executive assistant for an up and coming financial advisor.  My second friend, Keolani, was just finishing junior high and entering her last year in high school. She and Evie grew up going to school together, so it was probably good there were four of us in case me and Eva wanted to hang out somewhere that was for 18 and older.

Traveling to the neighboring island of Maui created excitement for all because we hadn’t traveled together like this before, nor stayed away from home longer than an overnight stay, let alone another island.  But I had worked for a publishing company that had a travel section so I was quite familiar how to do research on where to stay for travelers on a budget.  I told my friends that staying in Kahului was very convenient to access everything: the airport, shopping malls, dining, supermarkets and even nearby tourist attractions in Wailuku.  Visits to Upcountry Maui in towns like Haiku, Paia and Makawao were relatively short rides of 20 minutes or so.

The big “road trip” was driving the Hana road and visiting the town as well as other historical landmarks outside the town and great beach sites. So I was not only the designated driver but I was also the travel agent and personal concierge for the other three who said they would leave everything in my capable hands since I was the one that was raised there and knew where to go – but that had been nearly 15 years prior.  I was curious how much it changed.  Ironically, Hana had not changed much in 1993 from 1977.  It certainly appeared the same years later when I visited it again.

Fast-track to 2016 and as newlyweds, my husband and I included a visit to Maui during our two-week vacation in Hawaii in the month of November.  Like my friends, he lay everything in my hands to plan out an itinerary for us to explore as much of the entire island in the six days we were there.  So once again, I used my travel skills and researched the internet to figure out what activities would spark interest.  What was really nice was that we didn’t need to worry about lodgings. As a honeymoon gift, my Dad had booked our stay at Maui Seaside in Kahului for the entire time we were on Maui.  We just rented a car and would holo-holo (cruise) about the island.

Hana is a rural, coastal town of about 1300 in population since it happens to be one of the most isolated communities on the island.  But driving into it, I could see there was a newly painted welcome sign that hadn’t been there before when I was a kid.  The roads were the same: one way in, and one way out but it split to a lower and upper Hana road but both lead right back to the main center of town.

Prior to entering Hana, we stopped off at a place not too well-known to the public unless you do some research. Surprisingly, my husband found this natural sanctuary online called Kahanu Gardens a tropical Botanical Garden site that featured a temple site called Pi’ilanihale Heaiu.  It was not only listed as a National Historical Landmark, but it was also the largest ancient man-made structure in all of Polynesia.  An aerial view of the entire park is depicted in the picture above.  I think I was showing my age because I honestly could not recall this place growing up nearby.

Closer to the center of town was the famous Hotel Hana Maui now known as Travaasa Hotel Hana.  To stay there meant a year’s salary to the average consumer.  But if you can afford $400-$500 a night or more depending if it was a standard room or a seaside cottage, you were treated and pampered like the only person in the world.  The renovations were very nice and it was obvious there were major physical changes to the outside property as well.

The town remained relatively the same and even driving by my former childhood home showed some really nice updates to structure and the yard. One of the noticeable changes was the famous Hasegawa General store.  It is reputed to be Hawaii’s oldest general store establishing itself in 1910.  The place had relocated to the former Hana theatre (my first movie I saw there was “Jaws” and that summer I didn’t swim in the ocean) due to a fire that destroyed the previous location.  It re-established itself a few years later to be one of the most popular local landmarks for residents and visitors alike.

The old Hasegawa General Store shown here is where I remember bike-riding to for local style snacks like Maui potato chips and sweet treats like manju, a Japanese steamed bun filled with sweet, red bean filling.  It also had a gas station whereas the new Hasegawa General Store does not.  But the new store has more room though it is filled to the rim with all kinds of products, trinkets, giftables and edible eats.

The new entrance looks like the side entrance to a warehouse, but it had not lost its character or appeal to the first-time visitor or someone who has been living in Hana for years.  Its unique “catch-all” personality will delight those passing through and we spent a good time there re-stocking on beverages, obtaining lunch snacks like spam musubi and teriyaki chicken skewers, futomaki sushi, nuts, cheese and crackers, fresh fruits like guava and apple bananas, trail mix and some candies.

Taking the time to browse through a small town like Hana made me appreciate the place I currently reside in called Dayton located in the beautiful Willamette Valley.  Its population is about twice the size of Hana, but it is still small, quiet and relatively small compared to other towns scattered about the vast state of Oregon.  Hana is coastal while Dayton is in the valley.  One of the things I do miss about living in Hawaii was being so accessible to visit a nearby beach or just take a view of the ocean.  To do that in Oregon, I need to drive at least 2-3 hours depending on the direction I’m heading: Astoria, Seaside, Lincoln City, Coos Bay or even Gold Beach.

Hana Bay is where I first learned to swim and I took my friends there to show them the pier where I was told to jump off the bridge into the water. I was eight years old.  I didn’t know any better and I caught hell from my mom.  Ok, actually my older brother caught hell from my parents.  We just didn’t see the possible consequences – but that’s what it’s like to go head-on into an adventure or an experience.  When we actually stopped at the bay area and walked out to the pier (parts of it were under construction at the time), it looked old, crumbling and unsafe.  Obviously, it was being repaired so we could not walk out onto it all the way to the edge, but viewing it reminded me of more carefree days where I swam and splashed in its waters many, many years ago.

The Seven Sacred Pools in Kipahulu was the place to visit on our agenda.  It would take us another 11 miles outside of town but when we arrived, the views, sounds, and salty air gave us a sense of relaxation and appreciation of real Hawaii with natural beauty still untouched and unchanging from when I first saw it as a child back in 1978.  Even the old bridge remained the same, though the edges were worn and starting to deteriorate.

It was quite a hike to get down to the pools and I felt pretty worn out with all the driving, so I stayed up at the visitor’s center but the place was packed. Fortunately, we found parking and there were a few empty benches outside the center which I happily remained while my husband made his way down to the pools with his camera.  There were many ways to climb up on the rocks to visit the upper pools or go all the way down to the ocean where it ends up, but it is not for the faint-hearted or those with medical conditions.

After spending at least an hour there taking photos, relaxing and trying to figure out where to go next, I told him we would backtrack down to Hamoa Beach.  There is a great website called Hamoabeach.org that shares all about this fantastic, popular spot shared by the Travaasa Hotel though it is a public beach and everyone is welcome to check it out.  There is no lifeguard, so it is wise to make sure you can swim and don’t go too far out because there are strong currents that can easily take inexperienced swimmers to dangerous spots and cause fatalities.

Although there were many other places we visited during our week stay on Maui, going back to my childhood home in Hana created a wave of memories for me that I had not thought about for a very long time.  What was amazing to me is that it had only changed slightly in the last 42 years. Yes, that is how long ago it was when my family  and I first arrived in Hana.  It is definitely a place I will want to return someday soon and definitely a place I will never forget.

Hana is truly one of the last Hawaiian places on earth where time really stands still.

Online Dating After 50: Is It Worth It?

Online dating can be pretty scary the older you get and after age 50 is no exception. I want to share with you some of my experiences I went through in the online dating world and how you can discover it is not as daunting as it may seem.

Tip 1: Online Dating Sites Vary

I was raised in a household to believe in the concept of family, hard work and being kind to your fellow man. When it came to dating, that social scene was usually tied in with either going on a blind date from someone who knew the family, a friend of a friend of a friend or online dating sites. As a late bloomer, I didn’t start online dating until well into my 30s. I was curious about how that all worked out and came across a few early sites like LAVALIFE, e-HARMONY and MATCH. While they all had the common thread of providing potential matches based on profile preferences, each site has various options.

Online dating sites will feature a specific feature to target different audiences. When I first started creating a profile, I found that it can be exhausting trying to make your profile attractive and it was very tempting to create a totally different persona than what I was but that was wrong. It was also misleading.

So I viewed other profiles and finally decided it was just best to be honest, sincere and stick to what I liked in hobbies, a little bit about myself as far as background and even a bit about my career. One of the great things about online dating sites is you could also select what age range you are looking for, gender, and even criteria like location (local, regional, overseas).

You also need to be aware that these sites have rules and don’t allow certain kind of photographs that may depict sexually explicit themes, violence or visual content that are not appropriate or in alignment to the site’s privacy policy and guidelines. So be sensible. Select a photo of yourself or an image that you can identify with so that others can view what you’re all about. You can have a fun, catchy title such as MusicLoverofthe80s or something as corny but romantic like JulietSeeksRomeo. But stay light-hearted and don’t take online dating so seriously. The important thing is to have fun, connect with some great like-minded individuals and also learn more about yourself from how others perceive you.

Tip 2: Read profiles carefully!

Keep in mind that creating a list of traits or attributes on the kind of person you may find of interest actually helps you determine which profiles are closer in alignment to your values, likes, hobbies, dislikes, etc. But you can’t just have expectations of the other person. You also need to be honest about who you are and not start creating a fantasy depiction.

It’s important to take a honest, self-assessment of your own profile. The last thing you want to do is exaggerate about your age, for example. Women and men alike are sensitive about their age but I found it more common among women, even those younger than me. Do not be ashamed of your age, especially if you are older. Part of the delight of learning about oneself is to be at ease with your own identity and be confident in the life experiences you have attained throughout the years.

It took me a few decades to become comfortable with who I was, what I looked like, what I could change about myself and what I couldn’t. I had to also learn to be assertive and stand firm on what I valued and what i wouldn’t compromise on no matter how tempting it was to slack off and take the easy road.

Your self-worth and integrity is important and it is important other people see that as well, especially at online dating sites. Your credability and reputation is important. Respecting yourself will clue people in based on what you write in your profile – so be honest! You don’t have to write your life story – you share that over time with those that you want to meet and feel comfortable with, but don’t lie in your profile. Be clear, concise and considerate. Sooner or later, there will be individuals who will seek you out because your profile will reflect what they are seeking in a person.

At the same time, profiles you find of interest should be scrutinized and reviewed carefully! If the profile sounds too good to be true, and maybe the picture of the person doesn’t look their real age, keep that in mind. Also be aware that you will get silly, sleazy and stupid (yes, stupid) replies at times, often people trying to figure out if your worth scamming. I hate these internet vultures. It takes the fun out of the experience for people who genuinely try to seek friends and it happened a lot to me.

Be vigilant and be smart. Do not respond to those who ask for money, or send obvious photo-shop images of exotic looking beauties or hunks wanting you because they think you are the perfect object of desire. Avoid the bullshit, basically – and hit that DELETE button or see if you can BLOCK them. D&B became my favorite buttons while navlgating thru those sites and they can be yours as well, so use them wisely to filter out the fake profiles.

Tip 3: Understand the Law of Attraction

Simply put: you attract what you focus on. One of my favorite book series was “Chicken Soup For The Soul” by Jack Canfield. He also had put out other books about maximizing one’s potential, motivation for success and many others that more or less use that law of attraction.

If you want to attract success, you focus on things that reflect success. You take action to work on a plan for success. You talk to others who have reached the success you want. Everyone’s definition of success is different but it is the same application when wanting a successful dating relationship.

We all want to be loved, found attractive, admired and respected. Online dating sites are just tools to help you achieve your goal in finding the right person, or seeking a fun dating partner or establishing a new friendship. Whatever the motivation is, you want to focus on having an image, a character and a lifestyle that mirrors what you seek in a mate, partner, spouse and best friend.

Having healthy hygiene habits will definitely help. Being well-groomed, sporting a positive attitude, being open to try different things and having a plan for success in every aspect of one’s life will definitely turn heads your way. This falls in alignment with being self-confident, not being afraid to ask for help or be mentored, not compromising your values and self-worth and being around like-minded people who are success-oriented and share similar life philosophies.

Is online dating worth venturing into? Millions of people have done it as well as myself. Many have had successful and meaningful marriages or long-term relationships established.  I had several dating experiences with various men from various backgrounds.Most were engaging, some more fun than others and others…well, let’s just say after one date, I already knew they were not what I was looking for; and of course, I eventually met the man who I would end up marrying for nearly 10 years. Although the marriage ended, that didn’t sway me from dumping romance altogether. I still believe in happily-ever-after!

Life is meant to be enjoyed – whether you are single or attached. The point is this: give yourself time to develop connections that truly count and will add meaning to your life. Online dating is just one experience and it can certainly add value to your life that can be shared with others seeking the same thing: to love and be loved.

 

Career changes after 50

It’s no secret that finding a good-paying job after the age of 50 is like playing roulette. Your chances of finding a relatively higher or lower fixed source of income is a 50-50 (no pun intended) chance whether you choose a red or black marker (in this case, opportunity). Nine times out of ten, the job pay is actually lower the older you get, especially after 50.

Why is it difficult as one gets older, more mature (for the most part) and more experienced (usually)? Simple. Changes in the job market evolve constantly. The demand to be more service-oriented through technology is the obvious outcome. Companies are looking to streamline the process by utilizing automated services so candidates can post online their job history, resume and references. While this is a much more effective way of handling things, not everyone has good computer skills. Yes, not every generation embraces technological changes and this can pose a problem for us older folks.

If you are more ‘savvy’ with computer skills, more knowledgeable with software or have the technical mind-set to navigate through social media and add value or enhance a client’s business needs, you have a far greater advantage then your competitor vying for the same job opportunity. Keeping up with changes that could impact your career or job is so important, especially for the Generation X crowd and older generations.

Fret not. Career changes do not necessarily equate to seeking after another job. While having a job provides a fixed income, it helps with cost-of-living expenses and provides budgetary guidelines (living within one’s means or living outside one’s means), there are other ways to help you navigate if you are experiencing career changes or not sure if your job will still be there for another ten or twenty years from now.

A part-time job or developing a part-time home-based business can also provide opportunities for other streams of income – passive income for starters, like market affiliation. This type of passive income is when you post ads from various sites like Amazon, BestWigOutlet, Sephora or Wal-Mart on your website, blog or other social media platform.

If a reader sees the ad and clicks on it from your platform and buys something from that site, the company will give you a commission fee. This fee can grow into multiple fees if you post multiple ads and has the potential to pay you a nice side paycheck in your spare time and you don’t have to leave your house or go work somewhere for someone else. Doesn’t that sound pretty enticing?

By now, most of you reading this blog may already be well familiar with this type of passive income. I’m fairly new to the concept and I would encourage you to research it thoroughly along with several other sites offering the same concept. It is also important to look at all other types of passive income ideas. You can get a whole bucket list of those viewing YouTube videos, for example, from those already successfully established as having a market affiliation business or some other online business venture that can be done on a part-time basis and in the comfort of your own home

This doesn’t mean you simply snap your fingers and money starts electronically being transferred to your account from an invisible benefactor. No, you still have to put work into it. Anything worthwhile takes effort. Let me repeat myself: you still have to put work into it. It’s not different from learning a craft, honing a skill or actually gaining hands-on experience.

The first key to adapt to career changes (job or side business venture) is taking the right kind of trainings. Whether you sign up to become a member of a marketing affliation site like www.wealthyaffiliate.com or take decide to take a transcription course online from www.pennfoster.edu or purchase an online course on Excel expertise from www.Udemy.com, training is key if you want to have an edge of your fellow competitor or impress a potential client to contract your services.

A second key is BELIEF. That’s right: believing in yourself. Quite difficult if you struggle with low self-esteem or having a negative, skeptical and critical outlook on yourself and others. Why? Because being a success doesn’t mean you do it all by yourself. Yes, you put the effort it in, but you also learn from those who have gone before you and done the same kind of work for a longer period. There is a wealth of knowledge to be captured by surrounding yourself with success-minded, passionate, determined and service-oriented individuals willing to teach, mentor and add value to your life and skill-set IF you believe that you are worth it.



A third key is to be willing to adapt without losing your focus. Remember your purpose, passion, your motivation for wanting something better for you and your family. If your are content with just being a 9-to-5 person and that provides enough, then make it work and improve upon it by never stop learning. But if you’re aware that someday that position may evolve, be eliminated or changed into the kind of work you no longer are interested in, start looking for other opportunities be flexible but stay focused. It is always highly recommended to stick with your current job while looking for additional ways to supplement that fixed income versus impulsively quitting your job. Build up your skills, invest time in the right training and find a mentor or ask for your help through networking on social media – don’t be afraid to ask questions and directions so you can build upon that success.


So no matter what changes you encounter after 50, embrace them as opportunities for a more positive lifestyle. Meh, so it involves a bit of hard work, persistence, determination and focus – that is no different from when you are working for someone else. Isn’t it time you put those same qualities into working for yourself?

Health Changes After 50

Aloha, All!

We have all heard it before: “As you get older, you need to slow down, eat less, stay active and get enough sleep because you’re not 20 anymore!”  Sound familiar? We are inundated with social media turning out blogs, videos, and endless get-slim-quick schemes so those of us in the “aging” population can keep up with the “youthful” generation.  Sounds like too much work, but it IS important to take care of oneself because let’s face it, we all are getting older.

Are we 50-somethings like fine wine or lukewarm water?

So what can happen to a person after they turn 50?  Health changes for one. For me, I was already experiencing the “symptoms” in my late 30’s and into my 40’s.

Now at 51, I have the pleasure of dealing with pre-menopausal symptoms. Oh, the joys for ya’ll who haven’t reached my age yet!  Turning to diet and exercise had been one of my love-hate relationships since my prepubescent days. Trying to educate myself with all the types of diets out there – I tried most of them: Atkins, low-carb, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and most recently, Keto.  All of them contribute to helping me carve out a more modified eating plan, but for years I’ve struggled with few health hits against me. Family obesity, diabetes and hypertension plus certain cancers have bombarded my family especially, I noticed, after many of us were heading into our fifties and later.

I thought after I hit 50, I’d be maturing like fine wine – admired for the flavor, texture, delicacy and aromatic. Nope. Not quite in my experience. Sometimes, I felt similar to that of tasting lukewarm water – without flavor, intensity, color or LIFE!

How does one combat all of this and still be able to function every day balancing work and home life?

Premium vs. Regular (gasoline, that is)

Perfect example: I drive a 2013 Chevy Camaro.  It’s a RED Chevy Camaro and it looks hot as (you can fill in the blank here) when it is washed and waxed on the outside. I do try my best to keep the inside clean, but on occasion, I have one of my jackets in there, I do keep a box of tissues on the backseat along with a spare throw or jacket when the weather is good. I also keep a container of mints or tic-tac, a couple bottled waters and in the trunk a tire air machine (I believe the correct name is an Ion Air Inflator by Craftsman according to Google).

The car can take either regular or premium unleaded gas. I usually will select the premium though it costs me about $43-$45 a fill-up these days.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.  Premium gas allows the car to perform at its optimum level.   On occasion when the budget gets tight, I pay for regular unleaded. The car still runs okay, but it’s not at optimal performance.

So what’s my point?  Consider yourself like the Camaro.  You can occasionally exercise, eat some whole foods, drink lots of water and try to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep after watching a marathon of your favorite Netlfix or Amazon Prime shows and movies.  But can you still function at your best? and for how long?

Change is inevitable – don’t run from it!

Health changes after 50 do happen. They can occur at ANY age, but for me and my family, it was noticeable after turning 50. The decision to put premium time and effort in taking care of one’s health as one gets older is critical for optimal, quality living. We were not meant to just “get by” and live an “okay” lifestyle.  It is so true that most of us don’t always pay attention until something life-changing occurs like being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at 37, or watching an only older brother go through an aortic aneurysm before he was 40 and the damaging impact it has had on his life, or seeing the fear in a parent’s eyes when told bladder cancer is diagnosed. Health changes are KPI’s (key performance indicators) to inform you it’s time to assess, evaluate and take action.

Consider some really easy steps to giving your health improved functionality:

  1. Consume more “premium” food (whole foods, to be exact – fresh veggies, some fruits, some protein and starch like quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat).
  2. Get moving! Choose a type of exercise/activity you enjoy. I like simply walking and strive for the minimum of 5,000 steps daily and I wear a pedometer
  3. Get to bed a little earlier so your body can optimally renew itself with a 7-8 hr sleep cycle.
  4. Stay hydrated with drinking lots of water throughout the day.
  5. Check in with your doctor at least 1x/year (or more if you have chronic health issues that require monitoring).

Your health is your wealth.  Nothing else can’t happen unless your health is at optimal level and functionality.  My friends, this isn’t rocket science and it’s certainly not brand-new advice. It is a reminder that we have one body and one life.  So why not make give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. It’s never too late to get healthy and embrace the changes that come with life after 50.