I’ve absolutely let myself go since I turned 30. Here’s how you can, too:
Let yourself go and make female friends.
10 years ago, I would have said that I’m incapable of making female friends. I would have told you that I had more in common with guys. I would have said that women are petty and fickle and I would have been terribly wrong. Why? Because at 20, I didn’t know yet that the women in my life would be the ones who would nurture my weary soul. My friends are there for late-night conversations on the front porch, when we go back and forth from untangling life to laughing until our baby-burdened bladders let go a little. They show up with meals when babies or death come and they give it to me straight when I’m selling myself short or being an ass. As life gets more complicated, and friend, it will, you need a tribe. (Don’t you just love this late-1950s picture of my great-aunts? #friendgoals)
Let yourself go and give less of a rat’s a** about what other people think.
You know what? I think most people are so worried about their own rear-end that they don’t give your rear-end a second thought. And if they do (and some will) that just means they’re behind you. Don’t fall back to their place in the race. Keep going. Keep doing your thing, friend.
Let yourself go deeper in love.
The year I turned 30, I experienced my son’s completely natural birth and my maternal grandmother’s completely natural death. I held Eli as he took his first breath of real, lung-filling air and I held my hand on my grandma’s chest, whispering be at peace over and over, as she took her last. This is what I know: There is little difference between life and death. They look an awful-lot alike. The line is so much finer than I ever realized. You can’t make the space between the beginning and end any wider but you can make it deeper. Love, love, love. Love your family more. Love your friends more. Love the cashier at Walmart. Let yourself go and love everyone you meet.
Let yourself go out on a limb.
Worry less about making a fool out of yourself. Ask insanely-daring questions; the ones that scare you. Ask for the job. Ask for help. Ask how YOU can help. Talk to more strangers. Paint the room. Paint it again if you hate it. Experiment with it all until you find what nourishes your spirit.
Let yourself go on an adventure.
Sure, it could be Europe. Why not? But here’s a secret…an adventure can be simple, too. Grab a friend and travel down a gravel road. I’ve learned that the conversation that happens while you’re buckled in and behind the wheel with someone riding shotgun can be life-changing. If you don’t have the open space or funds in your life to go globe-trotting, don’t let that hold you back. Take a Sunday afternoon and go off the beaten path. It will lead you to new places, both on the map and in your soul.
Let yourself go off the grid.
Take a day when you need it to be invisible. Turn off your phone. Go outside. Disappear. Sometimes we have to take away all of the distractions to get reacquainted with ourselves. Bless yourself with that freedom.
Let yourself go back.
Some say you can’t go home again. I don’t believe that. If you have unfinished business in your past, take care of it. Don’t let it linger in your head and heart. Say what you should have said. Apologize if you must. Forgive. Go back, make your peace and move on.
Let yourself go off that diet.
Stop denying yourself, friend. Can we all just embrace abundance? Let’s eat real food and laugh while we do it. Let’s stop grabbing paper sacks through a drive-thru and make time to gather both good food and good company so we’re feeding our bodies and our souls. And when the time comes, let’s eat birthday cake (maybe even for breakfast if we so fancy) because there’s so much to celebrate.
Let yourself go and learn a really good dirty joke.
Why? You never know when you need to shock the life back into someone.
Let yourself go and be kind.
Being kind is a bold move and don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise. Being kind is often the unpopular thing. It is scary. It forces us out of our chairs and out of ourselves. It requires separating from the herd sometimes and being the one instead of the 100. Do it anyway.