Issue 28: The Good Life

Cover image by Bryce Johnson.

The good life isn’t found by chasing the Hawai‘i that so many seek, with its endless days of sun and beach, but rather, by relentlessly pursuing a particular passion.

Editor’s Letter: In May 2016, I had the perfect springtime wedding, set beneath clear skies and amid breezy tradewinds. The next day, Sunday, followed with a boozy brunch on a lānai overlooking Sans Souci Beach along Waikīkī’s balmy Gold Coast. We took the following day off from work, and toward its end, while discussing what to do on Tuesday, my now lifelong beau turned to me and said with a shrug, “I think I’ll go back to work.”

My partner (who is featured on page 82) and I both own our businesses. We’ve never been good at vacations, or holidays, or weekends in general. When Sundays roll around, we look at each other dumbly, unable to come up with activities to consume the off-hours. In fact, I am writing this on Sunday morning. A few months back, I started gardening, hoping the plants would be needy enough to fill my nights and weekends. But mostly, like my husband, I work.

Both residents and visitors call Hawai‘i paradise, and it is. A quick perusal of social media reveals beaches that sparkle, waterfalls that tumble, and hikes that soar. But life in Hawai‘i is tough, too. Here, cost of living climbs, median wage (after being adjusted for inflation) declines, and traffic drags. About half of Hawai‘i residents live paycheck to paycheck.

Still, for all our misgivings, life in Hawai‘i is good. Like the people featured in this issue, I am determined to make it work in what is called one of the worst states in the country to do business. After all, the good life isn’t found by chasing the Hawai‘i that so many seek, with its endless days of sun and beach, but rather, by relentlessly pursuing a singular, purposeful passion. We islanders have dug in, committing long, often unglamorous hours at the office—whether that is a kitchen with boiling pots of seafood, or a farm saturated with the scent of manure—to create our own pieces of paradise.

Older, wiser individuals warn my husband and me of burning out, and perhaps one day we will. Maybe then I’ll expand my garden. But for now, we whistle while we work.

Lisa Yamada-Son

Click here to purchase a past issue of Flux.

Featured Stories:

Hawaiian Shochu Company
Image by John Hook

Drinking in the Moments
Ken and Yumiko Hirata make shochu on O‘ahu’s North Shore.

Protectors of Paradise FLUX Hawaii
Image by John Hook

Keepers of Mākua
Micah Doane and his small band of volunteers help protect what so many others enjoy as paradise.

What Makes Them Tick Breadbox
Image by John Hook

What Makes Them Tick?
Twenty-four hours in the lives of three local entrepreneurs show what it means to make a good life in Hawai‘i.

The Living Projects
Some call themselves intentional communities. Others are considered alternative spiritualities. At times, they have been labeled cults.

Image by John Hook

Living Well
Experience the art of living well in Hawai‘i. In this special section, read a survey of contemporary housing, discover tips for making over your space, and learn about a few artisans and businesses who can help you do so.

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