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This Was The Year I Finally Exhaled

let yourself be free

I turned 22 this April. And for once, I felt that age. Usually, when I turn a year older, I feel the same.

But this time was different.

I spent the last few years mourning the decisions I made in the past. Sometimes, it’s not easy to let go of who you used to be. There is a subtle line between forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to change as life progresses. Somewhere along the way, I learned to forgive myself, but I still resisted change.

If you are at this stage in your life, know that it’s okay. You are not alone, and it’s all a part of the beautiful process of life that will unfold for you when the time is right.

It wasn’t an immediate switch for me but rather a gradual progression of allowing myself to take risks and see where it takes me. And don’t let anyone define what should constitute a risk. It could be anything, from taking a pilates class to stargazing under a blanket. It just has to be something new and different than what you are used to.

I joined a gym and attended yoga, pilates, and body balance classes. I started meditating for 10-15 mins every day. I resumed roller skating. I read a book for an hour every night. I changed my clothing style and discovered the world of midi skirts, playsuits, and floral dresses. I started learning to play the gorgeous and ultra-difficult song, Nuvole Bianche on the piano. I chopped my hair and let it run wild.

I did all these things and felt one thing immensely—free.

I felt so free and authentic and real.

It was like I had been holding in a breath for so long, and was finally exhaling.

I thought I hated change; I was afraid of it. But allowing myself to slowly change my habits and interests, I experienced the freedom of diving into the unknown. It wasn’t as scary as I thought.

Sure, some things didn’t work out. But then I realized that it’s not the end of the world. No matter where you land up, you can always find your way back from it.

In one yoga class, the instructor made us do a complex frog pose and gently said, “Well, we’re going to be here for a while. So get comfortable with the uncomfortable”. I absolutely loved that. It was a challenging pose. But if I’m being perfectly honest, the longer I sat into that stretch, the better it made my hamstrings feel.

So, dive into it. And give it time to work its magic.

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There’s a word I love: ataraxia. It’s a Greek term that means a state of serene calmness. If there’s any word that can do justice to the feeling of being unbound and irrevocably you, it’s this.

Ask yourself, “What is it that you’ve always wanted to do but were scared or uncertain about?”

Listen to your inner voice and set yourself free.

If you want to dance like a 90s girl, do it. If you want to wear dungarees and repaint your room, do it. Sway to the rhythm of badass girl songs. Sing with your car windows rolled down if you desire. If you want to learn horse riding, do it. And if you want to howl with the wolves, do it.

Don’t let anyone stifle your inner desires.

Not even you.

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