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🏝 Letter 77: Why Hawaii, Traditions, Introspection

6 min

What can you do today that your future self would be grateful for?

Aloha fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Kaimuki, Hawai'i 🌺

The sunsets here never get old. Every night I wish I was a painter and could attempt at mirroring the different shades I see across the night sky. The moon has been peaking in through the day pretty early. It'll be full soon enough and I cannot wait to try my hand at doing a full moon surf.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, let’s dive into letter 77 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

👩🏻‍🏫 Write of Passage Launch

Write of Passage cohort 7 launched last week. I am returning back as a mentor to support writers from across the world in becoming citizens of the Internet to create serendipitous opportunities and ultimately transform their lives.

This is my fifth time taking this course, second time as a mentor, and it makes me feel all types of ways. To name a few: grateful, inspired, motivated, courageous, connected

At the start of the last cohort’s launch in Letter 49, I wrote about why I signed up Write of Passage in the first place in October 2019. Of the many reasons, here were the top ones:

  1. Courage to share online and find my voice
  2. To move from a passive consumer → a creator in the arena
  3. To make friends.

Writing is one helluva lonely pastime. Especially for an extrovert. Staying up during the wee hours of the night was farrrrr from the norm of anyone else I knew in my life.

I needed the support network that I wasn’t crazy for my yearning desire in me to keep writing. I didn’t know why I was writing. I just knew I needed to.

Without this community, I don’t know where I’d be in my life.  I surely would not be writing you my 77th letter. Heck, I wouldn’t even be writing you at all.

As a mentor I lead a weekly writing group took off. This week, we reflected on how the first week went to build momentum for the rest. We each  wrote personal contracts aligned with our goals. I signed and dated it after writing that I would write four articles, makes some new friends and have fun. This is an exercise that I first did while reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Later I realized that it is something that many creatives do as a promise to themself, including Hugh Jackman and Matthew McConaughey.

🖊 Writing

The first assignment for Write of Passage is to answer a commonly asked questions. I decided to answer "Why Are You In Hawaii?"

The date was August 14th. I was supposed to fly back to the mainland on August 31st.

I did what any overthinking analytical professional does: a decision tree.

I needed to rationalize the reasons in order to stay. I listed out pros and cons as bubbles attached to “stay in Hawaii ''. I was creating proof on paper that I didn’t just want to stay but  I needed to stay.

To read the rest:

🎧 Listening

I listened to a conversation of Shit You Don't Learn in School with Steph Smith and Cal. It was answering questions around Does Marriage, Retirement, or the 40-Hour Work Week Still Make Sense?

My five top nuggets

  1. We readily inherit systems and processes from others before ever thinking to adapt them.
  2. Rushing to retirement will probably leave you feeling restless because work gives us a sense of purpose. Without work, something else will need to fill that gap.
  3. Set arbitrary dates of deadlines for yourself to make a decision around how you are feeling. If you don't, then you might trap years of your life in a job you don't life merely because of falling into a sunk cost fallacy frame of mind.
  4. Experiment to figure out what your preferred working style is. If it is to have autonomy with a remote job, embrace that and lean into it.
  5. To change your identity you have to go about destroying other pieces of you Identity which may relationships. it can cause an identity crises. It can feel like self destruction to have reinvention.

Four questions to get you thinking

  1. What traditions in your life have you mindlessly inherited without questioning?
  2. How can you better balance today with tomorrow?
  3. What would you take the time to invest in yourself while taking a sabbatical?
  4. What does love mean to you?

🏖 Hawaii Update

I've been thinking more about how I can get a better feeling of belonging in Hawaii.

The Dutch would call this feeling "gezellig" (defined in letter 26 where I wrote about made up words).

As I am on this quest some steps, I took this past week. I received a local library card. I can now rent as many books as I can carry. Also ukuleles! You best believe I am taking advantage of this.

I also went wandering around the town I've been living in. I went into some small businesses just to say "hey". My mom always told me to do this while growing up. No harm in that. That’s what choochkas do.

I found myself walking into a sugary pink cake store. I don’t own a pet but I went I to the dog food store in hopes of getting slobbered by some dogs.

It's a weird nut to crack: what is the antidote to feeling more at home?

🔎 Word to define

Introspection: the examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes

A view of the inside or interior. The act or process of self-examination, or inspection of one's own thoughts and feelings. The cognition which the mind has of its own acts and states. Self-consciousness. Reflection.


From the Latin stem  introspicere "to look into, look at, examine, observe attentively," from intro- "inward “ + specere "to look at" in the 1670s. The meaning of the "action of searching one's feelings or thoughts" is from 1807.


As I have been thinking more and more about why I started writing, it has been for introspection. No one else in my life ever challenges me to probe as much as a pen, paper, and a question.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." -Charles Swindoll

❓ Question to think about

What can you do today that your future self would be grateful for?

📷 Photo of the Week

The Kona-Kailua half marathon, on the Big Island I signed up for is about T- 7 weeks away.

I've been ramping up my training. Last October, I was also training for a race and the farthest I trained was 8 miles before my injury involving a collisions with a pinecone in the park. This past week I reached 8 miles, so every step I go past that distance is a new PR. How exciting right?!

Kind of crazy to think about that our bodies can keep moving and grooving for that long. The runner's high makes it worth it each time.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home.

Never stop learning 😁

Mahalo 🌺


👣 Footnotes

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