When Cari meets a mysterious stranger on a beach in Mexico, she learns a life lesson that will impact her for many years to come.
The last thing we did before we jumped, was hold hands.
We looked into each other’s eyes, laughed and dived straight into the clear waters. This was our celebration of new beginnings.
We’d planned a whole thirty days traveling together – me and my newfound love. He wasn’t new. Just our love was new - we’d been friends for years. I was uncertain how this trip to Cabo, Mexico would go. Signing up to travel for a month with anyone is a huge commitment. Let alone someone you just started dating! But I pushed my doubts and fears aside and went for it, not letting what others and society say stop me taking an adventure.
We snorkeled all the way to a private beach that we had eyed from the Catamaran we’d been sailing. As we came up out of the water, we flopped down to rest on the sandy shore.
I was enjoying the scene; the ocean blue, the sound of the water lapping at the shore, when a lady walked into my line of vision. She would have been somewhere in her fifties and she smiled at me warmly. Maybe it was her bright eyes and smiles that drew me to her.
“Hi”, I said. “Beautiful beach. Isn’t it?”
We started chatting and got into a conversation about our trip to Cabo. She had such poise, such confidence, and yet as she spoke, she seemed so kind and humble. This lady looked at me, she looked me deep in the eyes and with a voice of wisdom; someone who has raised kids into adulthood said to me …
“Don’t ever wait too long to do things. My husband and I planned to do so many things once we retired. But he passed away suddenly at the age of 53. We never got to do anything we planned and saved for. Live now and make memories now.”
Live now and make memories now.
I didn’t quite know how to respond. My heart ached for her being unable to create the memories and live the experiences her and her husband had worked so hard for.
Yet, I was somewhat confused. She appeared so much at peace and had one of those smiles on her face that read so clearly that life is beautiful. The woman continued ...
“But guess what? I got engaged this morning!!!” She shouted it out, knowing her plot twist was freakin awesome!
She lifted her hand to show me the gigantic ring on her finger (I mean that thing was huge). In the background I could see her a man, her fiancé smiling ever so slightly at his soon-to-be wife showing her ring off to a total stranger.
My eyes shot open in excitement, I screamed and threw my arms around her like a best friend I’ve known for years, had just broke the news to me! We hugged and giggled like little girls for a bit before we continued in conversation.
“You’re doing it right. I wish I did what you’re doing when I was your age instead of waiting till now to enjoy things. Just remember to keep doing them and don’t get caught up with all the other stuff…”
Don't Wait Too Long: A Beautiful Life Lesson
Life is beautiful, isn’t it? The way it teaches you lessons.
My new love and I had a wonderful time in Cabo. The sites, the scenes were all so special. We were making our memories now.
The words that lady shared with me on the shore that day, is going to impact me my whole life. I have made my list of the things I’ve been waiting to do that I no longer plan to wait on.
I’m ready to scuba dive more again, give back to other personal-trainers on how to serve without burning out, do more 30-day trips (of course), be more vocal about being bi-racial and the identity issues that can happen, try snowboarding, go camping and STEP INTO MY POWER!
And You? What are some of the things you’re going to stop procrastinating, neglecting or denying yourself? Please leave me a comment below.
Meet Cari Li ...
Hi, I’m Cari Li. I am me. I don’t need a label. I don’t need an identity from any person, government, or community. I don’t need stereotyped so that one can be more comfortable in approaching me. I am simply me.
You see, I’ve struggled most my life with trying to fit in. Growing up in Singapore I went to a Chinese school where I looked more like the White girl. When I moved to Ohio, I went to a predominantly Caucasian school where I then became the Asian girl.
Here I was, White and Asian, without fitting into White and Asian. Here I was, with my own, not being one of them. Here I was, being able to be “like” them without them being able to understand me. It’s not anyone's fault and there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m just different.
Being multi ethnic made me feel like I didn’t fit in for the longest time and I so badly yearned for that belonging. A community where I could just sink in and be comfortable. Where I can just squeeze in between two of my kind and snuggle. As hard as I try, I can’t. Not without being true to myself. At the end of the day, I have two very different cultures. However, I am not only these cultures, I am so much more.
I no longer have a need to fit in the White box or the Asian box, but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my heritage. It just means that I can be so much more than that. That I don’t need the comforts of a specific community’s standards to live by. I can live by my personal standards and no one else’s.
Doesn’t matter who you are or what ethnic background you have, you never have to lock yourself to a label. We are simply the human race, colorful and beautiful in every aspect. Color and heritage can be a part of us but doesn’t have to define us and our actions.
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