For a long time, I’ve sought freedom over happiness. Happiness is an emotion; emotions come and go. Instead, freedom can be captured at any moment. Freedom is something we can determine.
I guess what I’m saying is, we decide if we’re trapped or if we’re free.
Philosophy aside, here are some fun, everyday ways to just let go, throw caution to the wind, and finally feel a sense of freedom and inner peace…
Dance like no one is watching
This one makes me think of Amy’s funky dance moves from Brooklyn 99! I always think of her when I’m cold and I’m dancing in the street to get warm. You can also picture Chandler’s dancing from Friends or Carlton from The Fresh Prince. Whoever your go-to character dancer, channel that mood and just let it all move through you.
Pop on some music, cheesy or not, and let your body move however it wants to. Let your limbs be tugged by the music; a phantom puppeteer.
I love the breathlessness and ache that comes from a good, free, go-for-it solo dance party!
Run with your arms flailing
And of course for this one, I think of Phoebe from Friends, running next to an embarrassed Rachel with her arms waving everywhere! Run fast and free and whacky like when you were a kid. See how far and fast you can go, just because. Let your body fill with electricity and awaken again.
Just look ahead at an open stretch of the path and go for it, gung ho!
Sing loud and proud
Let your heart be lifted by a song that you know all the lyrics to (or not quite!) There is something so freeing about singing and not actually caring if you’re any good.
This brings me back to driving home from my office back in 2018. It was an hour and a half long journey after an 8-hour, boring day and so the only way I survived 7 months at the job was to sing my heart out as loud as I could on the commute.
Hurtin’ Me by Stefflon Don was my song back then. I also love getting really emotional and singing along to Never Enough or This is Me from The Greatest Showman!
Play in nature
Nothing gets more free-feeling that nature. God’s natural plan for our world. Get out in the great outdoors and you’re already feeling free. Now, top that off by allowing yourself to play like you’re 9 again!
Climb trees, skip rocks, walk through a stream and watch it wash over your shoes, and get dirt under your nails again. Breath in the open air and let it enliven you.
Live, live, live!
Laugh until your stomach hurts
Laughter really is the best medicine. I don’t mean that suppressed laughter you do when you’re in company. I mean full-on snorting, head thrown back, throat jiggling, true guttural laughter! The laughter that is the singing of the soul.
There is real freedom and beauty and poetry in a person who is not afraid to laugh their true laugh. It’s a test of unconditional love! I want you breathless, panting, aching, holding on to the sofa for stability when you laugh.
Kevin Hart’s stand-ups do that for me. Also, some of my favourite shows do with a good line/moment here and there.
Create something with abandon
And lastly, we need to get back to creating just for the bloody sake of it. No goal, no self-development, no deadline or expectation, no sharing on socials. Just creating for the pure joy of filling a page.
Draw, write or paint whatever silly, fun thing that comes to mind. Colour outside of the lines! Let go of the rules or what you think would work well or wanting/needing to be really good at it.
JUST DO IT!
Express. Bleed. Give birth. Witness. Be.
What do all of these things have in common? They’re things we effortlessly did as children. Back when we didn’t care about how we looked or what was appropriate or serious things! Back when we were totally free.
If you ever feel stuck, unsure, scared, tired, bored, sad, lonely, or anything else that comes with the burden of adulthood, let your inner child take the wheel for a moment and set yourself free.