The day was January 13th, 2018 and I was on a solo trip on the island of Maui in need of rest and relaxation before the semester started.

7:00 am: After a solid and restful night’s sleep, I naturally woke up without an alarm to start my day. My favorite way to wake up while on the islands is a sunrise run alongside the beach in Kaanapali. I noticed that my phone did not charge the night before, so I started my run at 20% battery life on low power mode.

7:20 am: Finally made it out the door. Phone in hand, music playing and Fitbit tracking my every move and heartbeat. With each step I grew stronger, and lost myself in my bliss. The sun peaking up over the hills and the water glistening as I passed. The early morning is for the movers, for the people who want to start their day on the right foot. It takes will power and strength to make the move and start the day, but once I do I never regret it.

7:50 am: I stopped for a mid-run coffee refuel at the Starbucks on my route. I have been doing this since I was in high school and would frequent the island with my family. I am by no means a runner. In fact, most people run way faster than I do but I love to run when I am on vacation and it is the only way I see constant change in my body the way I like to see. I order my Starbucks and appreciate the view of the beach. When you are from Alaska, just being in the sun and experiencing the feeling of the calm ocean is a big deal.

8:06 am: I threw away my coffee cup, and was setting my devices up for the run back to my hotel. Little did I know that everything was about the change.

8:07 am: Sirens are blasting. It sounds like a tsunami is on it’s way and everyone panics. I see people looking at their phones. My phone did not get anything and I had no idea what was going on. I ask around and someone shows me their phone. missile threat

8:10 am: I am not at my hotel. I am on a trip to the islands alone and I have 10% battery life on my phone. Following the crowd at the hotel nearest to me, I seek shelter. As the emergency alert and the sirens blasting instruct. As we huddle in the cafeteria at the hotel there are children crying, parents comforting their children, people praying and a whole host of different fear reactions. What would you do if you knew it was your last few minutes on earth? Do you regret anything? Who would you contact?

I knew that if there was no missile and I managed to stay alive I would need my phone, so I made a choice. I sent my brother a text message and it read: ” Check into missile heading toward Hawaii.” that was it. Simple and to the point. I knew that he was at home and would be searching for the information. After that, I waited. I was alone with my thoughts.

When you are about to die, or at least think you are, your life truly flashes before your eyes. You have some moments of clarity amidst the terror. I reviewed my life. Was there anything that I regret? I came to the conclusion that I had lived my life the way I wanted to, with no regrets. At the same time I felt that I had more of my life to live and that I was not done with my time on this earth. There are still things that I wanted to accomplish. At 24 I was not a child anymore, but I still felt that it was not my time.

8:31 am: I receive a text message from my brother, and all it read was “mistake”. I let the people around me know about the message, with the assurance that my brother was a reliable source in another part of the country. The room was overwhelmed with relief, as they knew that if we had been hit there was simply no surviving the strike.

8:38 am: Emergency Alerts were received confirming the message that my brother had sent. Everyone started hugging the person next to them, and a different kind of tears were heard. We were released into the open and almost instantly life on Maui returned to normal. At least that is what an outsider would say. I know that every single one of use who experienced that threat, had our lives flashing before our eyes and our outlook has forever been changed.

I now know that I am on the right path, if you ask yourself right now: If I died tomorrow, would I have any regrets? Would I change anything? I hope the answer is no. I believe that we should live a life with purpose and without regrets. We are in charge of our own decisions and our own destiny.

My challenge to you is this: Live a life that you can be proud of, free of regret and self doubt. Ellie 2018.01.10 | Maui Maka-29-X3

Photo: Maui Maka Photography



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