Live Life

December 06 2017

Every morning my dad and I talk before work; usually filled with a pump up speech or conversing about a new rap song he discovered. The morning I received the “winner” email, I couldn’t wait to tell him. My phone rang. It was he had already run 10 miles and was at the beach watching a surf competition before heading to his business meeting in La Jolla, CA.

Turns out that it wasn’t a regular surf competition, but World Adaptive Surfing Competition for athletes with physical challenges. My dad has always been known to strike up a conversation with people in any situation and this was no different. He starts telling me the story of Isamel, captain of the Costa Rica team, who was a once a professional surfer before getting run over by a bus. The doctors said he needed his legs amputated, but he refused. He said, “I may be handicapped”, but I’m still living life. Pure Vida man. Pure Vida.”

Pure Vida. That saying really hit home.

As a 27-year-old Chicago advertising professional, I’m still learning how to balance long work weeks and life- family, friendships and fun. This past year; however, has had the biggest impact on my personal growth. From working in the Middle East to traveling solo in Bali with a backpack, scooter and no cell phone service, I was faced with experiences (and challenges) I didn’t even know existed.

I learned to trust more. People think this is insane, but you can truly trust people. A lot of people. I was constantly reminded when I assume the best in people, I don’t need to live in a fear of strangers, especially from other cultures. Of course, not being a cowboy about it is important, but with practice, trusting it’s like a muscle you flex.

As a result of these epic adventures, I’m proud to say “living my best life” and don’t need to be traveling in another country to do so. Now the challenge is to keep pushing past my personal handicaps - work, bills, being tired and the list of excuses to LIVE LIFE and continue to flex my trust muscle. Every single day. After all, my bucket list isn’t going to knock itself off, I have to do it.

One thing I love about The Listserve community quips shared so I'll leave you with some of my favorites:

Blog: TIM and FIN- crazy and hilarious travel adventures from around the world

Games: Pricetution- a card game where you guess how much money it would take your friends to do absurd things

Charity: Off The Street Club- Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club, providing a safe environment away from the violence that plagues their west side neighborhood

Music: Chance the Rapper and The California Honeydrops

Thank you for reading and cheers to LIVING LIFE!

Ally Khaj
Chicago, IL
[email protected]

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