You know those things that you are dead set against, that you totally have figured out?

Those things that are 100% non-negotiable, never-will-I-ever-change-my-mind-about-this kind of stuff?

For example, I’m dead set against cubicles. I’m never going back, people.

Or McDonalds and anything like it. During my last cross-country road trip I was faced with little to no choice and got a McDonald’s iced coffee. I regretted even that for days. Blech.

Or boys that make me feel bad about my body. Just…no. Nope. Bye.

Or the words “delicious” and “yummy” being used to describe anything other than food. Seriously, if I’m within earshot please don’t even think about calling that cute baby delicious. Ugh. There’s roughly 200,000 words in the English language, surely you can find another one to use. Not to mention, do you want to, like, eat that baby? This is super awkward.

But all of that is the easy stuff to figure out.

What about the things that I’m just not sure about, or I don’t even know about yet?

What about when I find myself crying about things I thought I was sooo over, and when I laugh about things that still hurt so much I can barely breathe?

What about things I used to hate but now love? Or worse, things I used to love but now hate?

How do we decide how we feel about all of that?

All my life, all I’ve ever wanted was to feel free. It’s one of those non-negotiables that I was so sure about and have been searching for since I could walk. It’s been one of my core desired feelings since I discovered core desired feelings. It’s what made me quit jobs with nothing lined up, or move across the country with nothing but a California dream, or sell everything I owned to move alone to the other side of the world.

Now? I have anxiety about going alone to the new coffee shop in town.

Apparently, a certain amount of freedom can be paralyzing.

Sometimes I feel like the hardest part of being an “adult” is not having to ask permission to do anything.

    Wait, what? You mean I have to make all the decisions? Uh, I think I signed up for the wrong thing.

I still feel like I have to ask permission to do what I want to do until I realize that there’s nobody to ask. My life has been this way for a while now and sometimes I still feel like I have to look over my shoulder or let someone know when I go to yoga in the middle of a Tuesday or sleep in because my body needs it.

I’m also single, live alone, and am more or less self-employed. No pets, kids, roommates, boss or boyfriend to speak of. I don’t really have to answer to anyone. About anything. Ever.

I’m sure there are people who dream of such freedom, but the ability to do absolutely anything has created a space so large that I feel like I’ve done almost nothing. I could go anywhere but don’t know if my heart can take getting lost again right now, so I just stay anchored to my favorite spot–even though I know there’s an even better spot probably not that far from here.

This isn’t a pity party. I love my life very much. But sometimes I wonder how this happens. How do you go from being so sure of who you want to be to not knowing where the real you went? How do you go from feeling like the world is at your fingertips to being afraid of what’s happening in the world? From fearing the pain of failure to being terrified of the responsibility of success?

    Sometimes I lie to myself about it. Well, maybe that’s just not me anymore.

    Sometimes I beat myself up. Umm, how have you not figured this out yet?

    Most of the time I’m pretty nice. It’s okay, just keep going. You’re doing everything you can and the universe has your back.

Because I know that person is me. It always will be. I know that girl that wants to be free is still in me somewhere. But she’s stuck under a big pile of broken hearts and fake memories that make me believe I can’t do it, or that it will never work out, or wow, I’m just so freaking tired of this. Every time I want to find that girl, I get distracted by a bunch of bullshit and forget to remember that she’s in there, just waiting for me to dig her out.

I forget how the exact quote goes, but it’s something about how humans are creative beings and that we’re either creating a solution, or we’re creating a problem so we can solve it. We lie to ourselves about what we want or need or how happy we are. We do extreme excess or complete lack when moderation would do us just fine. We don’t say the things that we know we should say to the people we care about and let it blow up somewhere down the line. We pretend there are no solutions to our problems when the only real problem is that we’re unwilling to change what we know is not working.

But it takes more energy to do all that than to just let yourself move on and be free.

So, maybe I don’t have to answer to anyone else about anything for now. But at the end of the day, we all have to answer to ourselves and we better make sure it’s an answer we can live with. And if you need permission to find that answer? Just give it to yourself.

Because you always have permission to change your mind, or change where you are, or who you hang out with and what you do…or even change who you are completely if you want to.

At any time. For any reason or no reason at all. Without feeling bad about it.

Whether you were once dead set against it or not.

And that is what freedom feels like.