I just spent some time in this beautiful beach town in Tulum, Mexico. The first day I got to TuIum, I was tired from a 5am flight. By the time I got to my hotel I was STARVING and had not had enough coffee- coffee is life. And I arrived at my destination and checked in, and handed the staff my bags. And walked directly outside to the oceanfront sitting/ restaurant area. And I sat in the most beautiful place to in the word- tables with non-obstructed ocean views inches away from stepping into the sand and I was ANNOYED.                        

            Annoyed that the servers were moving very very slowly. “Why is this taking forever to even get a menu? Haven’t they noticed me?” I was annoyed in utter paradise for a SOLID 15-20 minutes. And then I ordered my lunch and was annoyed even more. “this is so disorganized” I thought. I had purchased the breakfast, lunch and dinner accommodations for this trip. I had checked in. “Didn’t they know?” I had worked so many damn hours to be able to pay for this. “I’m HUNGRY”. (Disclaimer, I do not express this outwardly because one of my #1 tenants in life is to never be mean to service people).           

            And then privilege came slamming into me. And the busyness of Chicago came slamming into me. And the rapid pace of how I currently live my life came slamming into me. And then I had an epiphany. The lightbulb moment. The “you’re annoyed because life is teaching you a lesson right now” moment.

            Oh, “this is how it is here”. People are RELAXED. They don’t NOT care, they’re actually very kind and courteous despite my terrible attempt at Spanglish (why didn’t I learn more before I came and listened to Audible?). The waitstaff smile, they move softly and gingerly like they’re actually ENJOYING the moment. Ah, this is actually what life is about.

            I looked at the ocean. I closed my eyes. I listened to the waves, I felt the sun, I felt the breeze and listened to the sounds and held the image of the cerulean blue water in my minds eye. And I could literally feel ALL of Chicago slip away. All of it. Every little piece.

            That doesn’t mean that the rest of the trip was without my ego getting in the way. The judging, the discerning. I like this or I don’t like that. Or the second massage was better than the first one (ridiculous, right?). Or those yoga teachers are better than THAT one (it was a wellness retreat). I like this hotel guest and that one annoys me. This centoe is better than this one (also ridiculous). We do it ALL THE TIME when you start to notice. We are constantly comparing. And it took me a LONG time to not do an internal comparison often.

            How many people do that? Her car is better than mine, their house is better than mine, she’s skinnier. When you start to notice HOW MANY TIMES a day you do this judging/ comparing/ discerning thing, it’s quite shocking. The point is that when you’re doing this or wishing that things were different- you are not present. Simple as that. You’re not able to enjoy the moment. You’re not able to close your eyes and listen to the ocean.