Thursday, August 3, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 11

Earlier this week I was really needing some fresh air and 'Me Time'. I was craving it all day at work and as soon as I got home, I packed up my messenger bag and walked east to a Colectivo coffee shop just down the street from me. The weather was perfect too, low 80s and plenty of sunshine. Gosh I love living in this neighborhood. I after comparing an chatting about tattoos with the barista, I walked out with mug of mint tea and snagged a table right alongside Oakland avenue. I pulled out my journal and pen and started writing. This month has been challenging on a few fronts but I'm going to pull through it and come out on top, I already am. My aforementioned messenger bag I sling across my shoulder has my alma-mater on it, Loyola University Chicago, and it caught the eye of a passerby which leads me to this awesome response to today's prompt! What happened was so good!

Day 11: What Texture Are You Grateful For? 

I'm grateful for the texture of a complete stranger's handshake, for real. One of the things I really like doing is engaging in full-on conversations with unknown faces. It's an ability I'm grateful for and I'm truly good at, just talking with an individual I've never, ever met before. I never hesitate and it never scares me to build up a few seconds of random confidence, take a leap and begin what are usually such high-quality and enjoyable conversations. I do it when I'm traveling, at the grocery store, when I'm on a walk, anywhere the situation presents itself. I've met some awesome, inspiring people by doing this, many of which I still keep in touch with today. Anyways, I was outside at a orange metal table in front of the Colectivo reading over a few texts of encouragement my best friends had fired off to me and journaling them down, when an older man with a white beard in his 70s walking by, stopped, came up to me and told me a joke. I laughed, shook out my hand and said "Thank you for that, I appreciate that. I'm Robby, what's your name?" His name was Jim. Jim's a retired international student admissions counselor who worked at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "You went to Loyola?" he asked me, pointing down at my black messenger bag on the ground slumped against my chair. "I did! I studied advertising, public relations and journalism," I answered back. Turns out he was a graduate from the class of 1966 and we immediately started comparing our college years. It was so much fun to hear different perspectives and our own testimonies of what life as a Rambler (Loyola Ramblers) was like in the 2000s and 60s. He pointed down at my journal, and asked if I were a writer, in which I went on to tell him about the magazine I proudly work for. I even had a copy of our latest issue with me I could show him. Jim was a writer too, having authored many articles and even books about international education. I was wowed when he started listing off all the countries he's spent time in, like Pakistan, China and even Iraq for a brief stint during the late 70s. He told me a story about how in some of these countries he'd have to be super silent when snapping photos because if the police or government official heard the sound of his camera's shutter click, he would have been arrested or deported...after his camera confiscated first. Wild. Remember growing up when our parents told us not to talk to strangers? About that.

As we were nearing the end of our golden, thirty-minute conversation, I asked Jim this, "So before you leave, I want you to give me three pieces of advice that I can write down in my journal." Here's the wisdom he left me with:
"Never turn down an assignment."
"Don't get into a rut, if you do, find a new groove immediately."                             "Don't be bashful, don't be a bragger, but let people know what you've accomplished."
We shook hands a final time, this time the handshake more firm and solid.

Cheers,
Robby

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