Don’t Wait Too Long by Cari Li Dillard | Inspiring Story #38 - Daily Inspired Life

 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 said, stop me from 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 smile 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 had raised kids into adulthood, she said  …

“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 she 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 was 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 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’d known for years had just broken 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 had done 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 and the scenes were all so special. We were making our memories now.

The words that lady shared with me on the shore that day are 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 won't be stereotyped so that one can be more comfortable in approaching me.  I am simply me.

You see, I’ve struggled most of 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 don’t have to define us and our actions.

Please connect with me here:


Share the Inspiration
  • Karletta Marie says:

    I’ve been wanting to go to Egypt for so long. I’m only a 45 min flight away, and I keep putting it off because of the home reno project we’ve been doing. This story has inspired me to book the tickets and go for it. One outstanding job is to find a cat-sitter – I put that off, thinking the house had to be finished first. I did the exercise, and realised my friend, if I asked would probably be happy to come before the place is finished.

  • Viano Dee says:

    An amazing story. You only have one life— live it well.

  • Karina says:

    I love this! It can be hard to live in the moment when you’re chansing your long-term goals, but it’s so important!

  • James says:

    Great post!

  • Erik the Hungry Traveller says:

    I love the quote Live Now and Make Memories Now. Really speaks a lot about just living in the moment.

  • Kate says:

    What an incredible story and amazing moment to spend with a complete stranger! I’m definitely going to take her advice too and start making memories now. I get so caught up in the day to day stress that I forget to appreciate the right now. This was exactly what I needed to read today.

  • Kalyan Panja says:

    I love to sleep in the earth with the millions of stars shining in the starry skies and a gentle breeze blowing over.

    • kdadmin says:

      That sounds very lovely. Have you ever laid in a body of water, floating looking out into the starry heavens? It’s like you’re flying through the planets.

  • Shayan says:

    That is such a nice short inspiring story. I love moments like this too, meeting people randomly who create these memories. And yes, agree, can’t take too long to follow your dreams and live the life.

  • Nafisa Habib says:

    Yes living in present and the moments are the best thing you can do in life. Very inspiring travel story and motivational too.

  • Totally agree with this. life is just too short… :/

  • Jenny says:

    I am trying to do the same. There are so many things to see and do, the bucket list is endless. But, I keep going and checking them off. So important to live in the moment.

  • Malinda says:

    This is a beautiful story, I love how you wrote it! The woman’s words will stay with me too. There is something special about moments with strangers, isn’t there?

  • jess says:

    your story is inspiring me! so lovely
    i so happy to read this post
    thank you for sharing

  • Flo says:

    ‘Don’t wait for too long get things done’. That lady shared wise words. I mean sometimes we wait for too long until nothing happens. I am learning this every day. Thanks for the incredible piece.

  • Wow! First, you’re a great writer! I could picture everything you wrote about as if I was there with you on that beach. Second, what I am gonna stop putting off is buy an RV that I’ve been dreaming about and take a road trip with my husband and son. Thanks for the read!

  • Sarah says:

    My grandparents said something similar when they were young — we don’t have the money, we don’t have the time, we’ll do it when we retire. Well, in my grandpa’s old age, he began disliking travel and new foods and other cultures. He pulled inward, preferring his bubble. My grandma, on the other hand, still longs to travel. She took an Alaskan cruise at 75 by herself. I took her to Greece at 80. So this woman you met is right, though it can work out like it did with her in terms of getting engaged, you can also change and not do the things you always wanted because you’re too curmudgeonly to do it later. Thanks for sharing!

    • kdadmin says:

      Love that you took your grandma to Greece at 80. What a special experience and memory you have created together.

  • When we went on our first cruise, we saw so many people towing oxygen tanks. We vowed that day to retire early so that we could not wait until it was too late. We kept our promise and have travelled extensively since that day. So many people wait too long to really enjoy life. Every day is a gift!

  • Katie says:

    What a lovely touching story! We all need to live in the present and not put off doing things for sure.

  • Sarah says:

    Totally agree with this. My Dad was horrified when I said I was going travelling. ‘Wait until you’ve retired,’ he said. Really? Wait until I’m 60. How old was my mum when she died? 60!
    I hope your new romance is still going strong!

  • Giulia says:

    Can’t agree more with you.. this is the most important lesson to learn in the life.

  • Cari Li, I loved this title for your blog. I agree, life is just too short to put ‘everything on hold’. My husband is retiring in a year or so and I told him lets retire early, so we can begin seeing this magnificent world God/Allah created.

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    karletta marie - daily inspired life

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    Hi, I'm karletta marie.

    JOIN and get your free digital magazine with inspiring stories straight to your inbox PLUS tools to start creating your beautiful life.