The Good Life: Aaryan
A good life means pursuing things you enjoy, staying optimistic, spending time with people that mean the most to you and keeping your mind and body fit and healthy.
My family have been the most influential people in my life. They’ve sacrificed everything to enable me to achieve the best life I can possibly lead. From advocating for my rights, to getting me the best education possible, helping me maintain my health and fitness and taking me to some of the best places in the world. Through tireless organisational work from my mum, previously inaccessible countries become available to me to visit with a lot of help and support.
The happiest moments of my life include getting piggy backed up to the top of Machu Picchu, swimming in the Amazon river, going to Africa and visiting Venice. These are some of my highlights.
I’ve spoken in front of 1,000 people with my brother at the Westmead Children’s Hospital Ball helping to raise nearly $750,000, which meant a lot as it is a place that has done so much for me. Last year I also represented Australia and won my first international game playing Boccia, which is a modified version of lawn bowls.
However I’m most proud of some of my personal physical achievements such as independent transfers from the car to my wheelchair. Swimming 1km and walking 6km. These are things that I didn’t believe I could ever achieve.
I feel most independent when I am swimming as it is one of the only activities I can do without any assistance. I work out 4 times a week to build my strength and work towards my goal of developing my physical independence. What keeps me motivated is that over time I’m slowly becoming more able. And I know that the pace of innovation and advancements in technology, will begin to help me in the near future.
During my final years of high school, I started volunteering at community radio stations. I’m currently a panelist on a weekly sports radio show. I love being able to combine my hobbies with my career aspirations.
Today, I’m studying a double degree at Macquarie University in Media and Communications and Psychology.
Since starting uni I have grown in confidence by meeting new people on a regular basis and making some really close friendships. I have found people I can relate to, feel comfortable with and be myself around.
I feel lucky to be a part of a number of communities including my university committee, my Boccia team, and community radio. I believe community is everyone’s foundation, where skills are developed, friendships are made, ideas are brainstormed and put into action. It is where all good things begin.
It is a beautiful feeling when you are making an impact on someone or something regardless of how big or small it may be, you are taking small steps to making the world a more even playing field and that’s the best part.
What I wish people knew about Cerebral Palsy, is that like all conditions,it is a spectrum. Don’t talk down to people with disabilities. Ask and don’t assume. My advice to others is to shed their misconceptions.
I hope for a future where portable wearable electronics are commonplace and assist me and others like me in maintaining mobility and independence, reducing our reliance on those around us for help.
I also hope to represent Australia in Boccia at the Paralympic Games and give back to the community either through sports broadcasting, mental health or a combination of the two.
Aaryan Shah is a university student, radio presenter, public speaker and Boccia player.
You can follow more of his good life @aaryan_s
In our social media series #StoriesOfTheGoodLife we explore what a good life means for people with disability. People from all walks of life, living rich, full and meaningful lives on their own terms.
Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.