Just over a year ago I went on a real vacation to Cancun. I took several days off and turned off all communications with the outside world. I went with one of my best friends and had a blast, but the memory I will always cherish is how I lost my glasses. Obviously, this is not the best experience while on vacation, but bear with me, it has a good ending…
I’m in vacation in Cancun. It’s essentially my last day here, so I head to la playa to relax. The ocean is welcoming and it’s a mix of relaxation and sadness at leaving soon. I can still remember how it felt, the cool breezes, warm sand, the melody of the crashing waves and the vastness of the sea. But I hadn’t been in the ocean my entire time there so I decide to take a dip.
I wade into the water the existential mess most people are at the end of a life-changing vacation. Heavy bittersweet emotions twanged in my head. Lost in my thoughts a big wave comes crashing in and I duck my head into the surf, but the water feels so good… Coming up to wash my eyes from the brine, I realize in horror that my prescription glasses are gone. There’s a moment of panic and several minutes of frantic kicking and waving in the water and then slow resignation as I admit they aren’t going to be found. It’s late in the afternoon and there aren’t many people in the water. I was at least 50 feet into the water. They’re gone. So I give up on trying to enjoy the water and trudge back in an angry daze, a small part of me holding out hope that they’d magically reappear.
Existential crises have a way of finding the most appropriate fuel and I found myself the battleground of forced optimism vs. easy pessimism. Little did I know that my existential battle would be a test of my philosophy. On my way back to the beach, I see a dark object in the sand. My heart rises! My hopes even higher… But it’s a pair of sunglasses. Bitter at having lost mine so recently I consider leaving them. “Who would pick up mine anyway?”, I thought. But knowing how I would have wanted someone to pick up mine, I fight my evils, grab them and go to the showers.
A couple is already there washing off, so I leave the glasses on a ledge near the entrance to the bathrooms. As I finish showering, the woman says about the glasses “son estos tus?” (fortunately I knew a little Spanish). I felt a certain kind of magic in the air. I reply tepidly, but with a friendly tone, “No, I found them in the water, but you’re welcome to have them.” She says, “Muchas gracias. I lost mine in the water. These are mine.” Feeling good about finding them, I can’t help but smile with a heartfelt you’re welcome. Hearing his wife’s excitement, her husband walks up carrying a pair of glasses. The magical feeling returns. He says with a smirk, “Funny, because we found these. They wouldn’t happen to be yours would they?” I stare in amazement at the glasses I lost just 20 minutes earlier. I tell him that I had lost mine too and that those were likely mine. He hands them to me and we’re both at a loss of words. They’re mine.
What is appropriate to say in this situation? How do you react to such a profound occurrence of serendipity? Not knowing what else to say or how to express our gratitude for the other party’s thoughtfulness, we part ways with a barrage of smiles and thank you’s. Though brief and perhaps a little awkward this would be the defining moment of my trip. I will never forget those people or their goodwill and kindness. It serves as a reminder to me to continue being diligently honorable. It doesn’t always happen, but occasionally the universe rewards you. Instead of posting about my lost glasses, I’m sharing a beautiful story with you. I hope it inspires you to be the best person you can. Make the world a better place one lost pair of glasses at a time.