An Imperfectly Perfect 50th Year on Island Time

Stacy Hope Small
5 min readNov 2, 2020

So, this time last year I was drinking a few margaritas at local Maui restaurant Frida’s and laughing with close friends who’d flown out to my favorite island for the weekend. Not just any weekend, the weekend of my 50th birthday which I’d been planning for months to celebrate in epic-style here in the 50th state. And celebrate we did. It was one of the most fun nights of my life, as I celebrated surviving 49 (!) in a very healthy way, and started to think about making Maui my permanent home.

It was a birthday weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua filled with eating delicious food, drinking, dancing and being very merry without a care in the world about who was sitting in the cabana next to us poolside or in the breakfast buffet line (NOT 6-feet apart, NO masks).

Crazy to think just how different life was the eve of my 50th from how it is tonight on the eve of my 51st. The only similarity is my location thanks to a very intuitive hit I got telling me to move to Maui ASAP. I did so without thinking twice and put my San Diego house on the market, sold most of my fancy things, packed up my three most important possessions (Mikey, Romeo and Pono my rescue pups) and flew us here like it was not an option.

We’ve been on Maui since January 26, and have zero plans to leave anytime soon. We all survived a pretty traumatic car crash back in April, stayed home a lot (!) and enjoyed the forced time out from my 24/7 previous type of business life. It was a LOT of peace and quiet…the kind I think I’ve always secretly fantasized about! If I had to choose a place to ride-out a global pandemic, Maui would always be my choice. This is the island I’ve been coming to for many years to find peace and break from the chaos that always accompanied being the CEO of a very busy luxury travel business. 1

They say “be careful what you wish for” and looking back, I think my biggest wish when blowing out the candles on last year’s gluten-free coconut cake was for MORE peace, MORE joy, MORE time on Maui. While I wouldn’t wish an actual pandemic on anyone, I don’t regret wishing for things that I really did need and want more of in my life.

Fast forward to today, the night before my 51st birthday. So much to be grateful for despite SO much uncertainty. Grateful for the strength to have let go of toxic friendships and business relationships that were draining my energy. Grateful for the spiritual muscles that help me find peace and stay calm amidst the chaos, and the practice I’ve had this year in the art of PATTERN BREAKING. Yes, finally…made serious progress on that front. It was time to STOP doing things the same old way and expecting different results. The peace that comes with recognizing when we are doing something differently is HUGE. More of that is my wish for year 51.

What else am I wishing for in what’s sure to be another year of lots of perfectly imperfect days? Acceptance of myself for doing the best I can with the tools I have right now…those in the spiritual toolkit I’ve created for myself and love to share with others who have sought out my intuitive spiritual healing and distance reiki energy shifting (such fun turning these magic gifts into a business helping others!). A highlight of year 50 on Maui was launching a beautiful new website at that encapsulates all that I offer from VIP travel services to spiritual coaching/reiki healing and….GLUTEN FREE VEGAN cookies that are the bomb (according to many who’ve taste-tested!).

Watch this space for exciting updates as the cookie business is feeling ready to explode and it’s really fun to being sparking “HEALTHY” Joy one gluten-free vegan reiki-infused cookie at a time.

Having more FUN feels really important going into year 51. Not worrying about the unimportant things I cannot control or people who aren’t on the same high-vibe energetic channel where I choose to thrive. It’s easy to get caught into the cross-fire of all the drama but it’s also ALWAYS an option to be grateful for my health, my ohana (friends who are like family), my creative entrepreneurial spirit that fuels my daily desire to live my best life and inspire others to do the same.

I’ve set a few intentions for this upcoming year starting with this post, as writing is my God-given gift and I’ve been too focused on “living my story” to sit down and write about it as I’d hope to do by now for Book #2 which is very much alive in my head. I’ll be writing a lot more starting tomorrow. I have a LOT of stories to share from this year “locked down” on an island in the Pacific. It was pretty memorable and at times a bit surreal, but I wouldn’t take a “do-over” for year 50 if it were on offer.

Tomorrow is promised to no one. So, worry less about what may or may not happen, and focus on choosing to do what you truly enjoy. Be discerning with who you spend your time and energy with, but don’t be afraid to take risks and give people a chance to surprise you. That’s where my head and heart are heading into year 51. There won’t be any “epic” birthday parties like last year, as they simply aren’t allowed! But, there will be gluten-free coconut cake, sushi, sake and good laughs with a few close friends. Who could want for more? It’s imperfectly perfect. xo SS



Stacy Hope Small

Founder & CEO: Elite Travel Club | Author: Why Not Me?!? | Now Bay Area-based and writing the sequel: A Little Bit Spiritual, A Little Bit CEO.