living actively

I spent a couple hours on MLK Day with my friend Ashique exploring downtown Columbus, wandering extensive railroad tracks, photographing abandoned warehouses, drinking teas from all around the world, and inevitably falling more in love with this city.

“I had an amazing time” is an understatement to describe my experience. The warehouse was sketchy. I mean, broken glass, hobo home, clothing dump, bullet hole shot windows sketchy, but it took my breath away, interestingly. This building was an art piece covered in graffiti and poetic confessions. What a shame it is to know this museum of half-baked thoughts is being torn down. Why are humans so good at destroying beautiful things?

As we ventured along the Scioto Trail, my friend asked me what my life’s greatest adventure was, inquiring about a time in my life when have I done something adequately bizarre. To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything.

At first, I hypothesized that perhaps I’m just not skilled at thinking on the spot. Upon further speculation, I realized that I find joy and happiness in small things, and that I partake in a variety and a handful of exciting activities on the daily. Perhaps, I am free-spirited adventure seeker.

I don’t need to spontaneously skydive or take a spur-of-the-moment, empty-my-piggy-bank backpacking trip to Europe to say I’ve done something worthy of the title adventurous or crazy.

My life is my greatest adventure,
and I’m living it every second.

And to think I could have never made it here. I could have let my past be my peak and turned away from the idea that life could get better. I could have let myself destroy myself. I could have kept letting depression slip into bed with me. I could have killed the part of me that cries at the way sun hits broken glass.

At this point in my life, I cannot bear the idea of living life passively, sleeping away precious hours, slow dancing with laziness and not enough time riding on the backs of motorcycles with liveliness. I throw myself desperately at opportunity and knock heavy on the door of experience. I spend every waking moment of my time doing something.

I run two blogs, I am the president of an organization, I am training for a marathon, I am trying to be a published writer, I am a waitress raising money to spend 6 weeks photographing Florence this summer, and I work diligently at my schoolwork. I am always writing, reading, blogging, photographing, bettering the relationships in my life, signing up for events, going to shows and festivals, speaking at conferences, letting myself wander in my city, finding new places to explore, making memories….

LIVING. Yes, yes, yes, you are ALIVE… but are you LIVING?

I believe everyone has a word. My word is ACTIVE. I have it written on my mirror, scribbled in my planner, and doodled in my journal. Those six letters are a daily reminder to be an active participant in my life, to continue being in a state of existence, progress, or motion. Right now, we’re on a spinning rock in an expanding galaxy, and I will never pass up chances to remind myself how small I am, how fragile and fleeting and doubtlessly temporary.

No, I am not afraid of oblivion; no, I don’t have a soul-aching thirst to leave my mark on this world. If I do accomplish such a feat, fantastic. Truthfully, I just want to leave this world knowing that I was an active participant in my life, that I was living instead of being alive, that I accomplished more than just being a drone in this robotic world. The temptingness of conformity, the luxury of comfort, and the easiness of routine are the knots on my noose.

I don’t want to be comfortable or slip blindly into the handcuffs of social norms or feel stuck in straightjacket of “wake up, survive, go to bed”. I keep myself on my toes. Yes, it is exhausting at times, but I can’t imagine living any other way. One of my greatest beliefs is that people who are bored are boring people. I believe if you stay curious and excited about life, you will never be bored.

As one of my friends, Zane, so brilliantly said,

“Know that dying quietly is dying unfulfilled. Living, however, like only YOU can live, is an art that deserves a medium. It deserves all of your time. It deserves your praise.”

Life always feels like a heavy load to me, but at that moment, it was not. It was me with muddy boots and a camera around my neck tearing up about broken glass near a window in an abandoned, dusty warehouse in the middle of downtown Columbus, and in a very real sense, life is always this simple.

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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