It’s pretty hard for me to believe that Hawaii’s mistake missile alert happened two years ago. I guess time is weird like that, because all at once it seems like it was just yesterday and 100 lifetimes ago. But, two years ago today, Dane and I woke up the day after my 29th birthday to a text that said there was an inbound missile to Hawaii and it was not a drill.
The events of that day still sort of make me catch my breath and I wrote a blog post detailing our morning and how the day transpired if you’re interested.
Hawaii’s Mistake Missile Alert – 2 Years Later
Lots of people reacted lots of different ways that day, but for us, it felt very, very real. And in the days that followed, Dane and I agree that our perspective on life flipped entirely. In those moments, we didn’t care about what was in our bank account or how successful we were at work. We cared about two things — 1. our families and 2. what we wish we would have been able to do that we had always put off for one reason or another.
After we realized that everything had been a mistake, we both felt like we were in a daze. When you’ve been sitting waiting to die for 40ish minutes, it’s kind of difficult to just ease back into a normal Saturday. We grabbed our beach chairs, a cooler and headed up to the North Shore.
We plopped our chairs into the sand at one of our favorite pull-off alcoves and I remember thinking it was so odd that literally not a single other person was there. January in Hawaii can get pretty crowded on Oahu thanks to the waves on the North Shore, but it was just us on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Dane and I sat for a long time just staring at the water, because frankly I think we both needed time to settle ourselves.
That day, we talked a lot about how we wanted to live our life going forward and the general consensus was to live without regrets. We had always traveled, but from that day forward, we started living our bucket list.
Why were we sitting around waiting to travel when we had more money “one day” or start enjoying more sunsets when we had “more time”? There are so many situations where “one day” and “more time” just do not pan out.
In 2018, we traveled to Maui, Italy, Moorea, Tahaa, Alaska, Canada, Kenya, Iceland and NYC. We rounded out 2018 with our families in Pennsylvania. In 2019, we set off for Las Vegas, Morocco, and Lanai. I took a solo trip (my first!) to London and we headed back to what has become our favorite place in the world, Kenya. I don’t remember
When we weren’t traveling, we were making sure to carve out time for family and friends. We’ve felt a pull for arranging more get togethers with neighbors and friends, more impromptu sunset happy hours at the pier near our house, and more time spent putting our phones down and engaging in conversation.
From a realistic perspective, we’ve also updated our wills, organized financial documents and laid out a plan should a “worst case scenario” situation arise that would help our families move forward with our wishes and personal belongings.
Moreover, we’ve found gratitude in the everyday. There is more joy in the small things and happiness in the tiniest of moments. Finding contentment in the here and now comes more quickly.
They say that the smallest change in perspective can completely transform your life and that the way we view things/life from a distance helps us appreciate them/it. For 40 or so minutes two years ago, I wasn’t thinking about the bullshit of daily life. I wasn’t letting something small upset me or ruin my day. I wasn’t thinking about social media, or responding to e-mails, or how much laundry I needed to get done. I couldn’t have cared less about what the scale said, or going to the grocery store. None of it mattered.
The reality for any of us is that life can change in an instant. What we have today could be gone tomorrow and the people we love in life can be snatched away in an instant. None of us are promised tomorrow, which is why living today is not just important, but crucial.
I ended the post I wrote the day the false missile alert happened with the following and I still feel so strongly about these words…
“If you know your life could be ending in 11-13 minutes what do you do? Who do you call? Is there even an adequate answer this question? In my mind – no. You can say a lot of different things about what you would do, what you would say, how you could prepare…but the reality is that when you’re staring at that stopwatch ticking away…nothing matters except the people you love in this world.”