The sky was filled with millions of sparkling flecks lit up by a full moon that blanketed a shimmering glow of light over Cane Garden Bay. The moored boats, scattered across the bay, gently shifted from side to side. It was midnight on the small island of Tortola. The warm Caribbean tide gently lapped onto the shore while reggae beats billowed out of Quito’s bar and I danced at the water’s edge. I was in heaven. I had never felt so free–so beautiful–so calm in my own skin. I felt every grain of wet sand tickle between my toes–the warmth of the water and the warm breeze in my hair as I danced to the rhythm of the island beats. It was then that Jose (nicknamed the crazy Puerto Rican) walked up to my husband and I and struck up a conversation about the magical island.
We quickly learned that Jose grew up in poverty in Puerto Rico, but at a young age was able to start his own video rental store. He made it his life’s goal to one day retire and sail around the world. He was currently living out that dream. The island of Tortola being his favorite destination awarded him a wealth of friends that we too would soon meet.
I didn’t know it then, but our conversation with Jose would stick to my brain like glue, guiding me as a life lesson never to be forgotten. Jose made it clear to us that no matter what our dreams or ultimate goal was in life, we could never give up and never make excuses for how we lived or the choices we made. If we wanted something to be, it would be as long as we lived by these two simple words –“No Excuses”. It was those words that ring true in my head today. When I am feeling the weight of anxiety pressing at my chest I go back to that night and to that moment and I feel calm. I know that I am the champion of my success and as long as I don’t live a life built on excuses I will make my dreams come true.