Smile, and the Whole World Smiles With You

A year ago I wasn’t smiling on the inside, but I smiled on the outside when I parted ways with my confining corporate cube. I was worried, but I never let it show. My friends congratulated me on my leap of faith, which felt more like a free fall, a shove off the top floor.

I am so grateful for those of you who continued to give me support. It wasn’t an easy time.

A year later, I’m still breathing. I let the anniversary pass with just a comment to my husband. I was glad it was on a weekend. I didn’t give it much thought. I was busy preparing for my Lanikai Triathlon, in which I scored a personal record, a personal victory, a slam-dunk and nail-that-coffin-shut-for-good sense of closure.

On the bright side, last Fall I took the state’s substitute teaching certification course and have been spending time with public school students K-12 on any given day. I love the hours and I love that someone else makes a teaching plan for me so they can take a personal day.

On another bright side, the freelance writing assignments continue. I wasn’t sure how much writing I would get, but my assignments at Hawaii Business Magazine have kept me busy and relevant in the local market. I am having stories published by Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University, and am talking now with four more entities about writing for them. Freelance writing takes a lot of discipline. I can’t chuck it all for a bike ride, run or a go in the kayak if I have a looming deadline. And if I need to reach sources, I have to connect with them during normal business hours. With each article written the bonds of trust between an editor and I are reinforced. That’s important if I want more work!

Finally, the flexibility of freelancing and substitute teaching gives me more time with my family and it has given me more time to train for triathlons. I signed on with Boca Hawaii for training not only to challenge my body, but for encouragement when I’m feeling fragile on the inside. Last night one of my coaches asked me how I was doing. I told him I was tired. He said he could tell, gave me a little shoulder rub and a few encouraging words. The afterglow of a workout is uplifting, and I’m always glad when I go. There are about 40 of us in the Endurance Triathlon Training group and I know I’m not the only one feeling wiped out this week, but it’s all part of a great plan that will come to fruition on the Big Island next month for Ironman 70.3.

I am so fortunate. I have a supportive and loving husband, two brilliant daughters who remind me of my true worth each day, friends who welcome me flaws and all, and a growing queue of editors who take a chance on me and like what they see.

A year later my inside smile matches my outside smile.





By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. It’s amazing the difference a year makes on perspective and become whole. (I interviewed in Portland one year ago this week!)

  2. You are so awesome! You know I’ll be rooting for you when you are doing Ironman, and all the way through your journey there! XOXO

  3. Awesome! I’ll be spectating for the Honu 70.3. You’ll be another person to cheer for. Woot!!

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