Almost immediately when I turned eighteen, I got a tattoo. My mom was pissed, and I even remember exactly what she said.
“Is that real? A big butterfly on your leg? But that’s the most beautiful part of a woman!”
Of course I knew that (I knew everything at that age), and that’s why I did it. I was eighteen and free to do whatever I pleased, just like a butterfly…or so I thought. Not long after the tattoo, my mom had had enough and kicked me out, or, as I like to say, “I left home,” for the freedom of the open road – my boyfriend’s mom’s house.
Yes, like many teens before me I seemed to have a pretty messed up idea about freedom and what it really means. It turns out that freedom wasn’t a butterfly tattoo, it wasn’t living apart from my family, and it wasn’t even going to university in another city.
I recently realized how much freedom I have in my thirties. But to be honest, when I turned thirty I actually felt trapped. It was like aging had found and captured me, thrust me into adulthood and thrown away the key. I felt like my freedom had been taken away and been replaced with bill schedules, dishes, daily commuting, taking out the garbage, dishes, vacuuming, dishes and other monotonous chores.
But like most things, it really depends on how you look at it.
Being in our thirties can be boring and monotonous at times, but this makes it a great time for us to re-discover fun and rebellion. Not teen rebellion where you simply do the opposite of what your parents say, but rebellion against societal expectations or maybe your previous ‘safe’ or ‘fake’ self and finally be real.
One thing we can definitely rebel against is nextpectations – those negative expectations that society, family or friends may have for us. At first this may have flavours of regular old teen rebellion, but, once again, it depends on how you do it.
Just doing the opposite of what your leg-loving mother would want you to do, just to make her angry is very different from going at something from a place of true desire. And if it happens to be against the status quo, that’s still not your average rebellion, that’s just embracing your freedom to choose. You’re acting from a place that serves you and your joy and makes your soul very, very happy, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Remember when you were a teenager and you just couldn’t wait to spread your wings? Well, this is what you’ve been waiting for, right? Would you teenage self, all balled up with frustration and desire to move out and be your own person be proud of you now? Would he or she admire the way you’re exercising all that freedom, or would you get a Doc Martens-lad beating from your inner teen rebel?
Instead of viewing the many choices we have to make in a day as a burden – how to save money, time, energy, what to make for dinner, where to live, what car to buy, what cable company to choose, etc. – think of what your younger self would give to be where you are, having the ability to create your own life whatever way you want.
3 Tips For Rebellious Freedom in Your Thirties
Catch Your ‘Have Tos’
If you catch yourself saying, “I don’t want to, but I have to,” a little too often you run the risk of burnout. Remaining in a state of duty, rather than positive motivation will catch up with you in the form of stress and even depression. Sure there are a lot of things as adults that we “have to” do, but it’s important to remember to mix it up with more, ‘I can’t wait tos’ and ‘I’m loving that I’m going tos’.
Understanding Your ‘Have Tos’
Sometimes, “Sorry, but I have to,” is a great excuse. Not many can argue with you if you’re needed at work or you have other important responsibilities. The trick here is not to get caught up in your own lie. I sometimes find that if I tell someone, “I have to go,” just to get out of one thing, I might find that I forget that I really wanted to leave and I was just tricked by my own Oscar-worthy performance of someone who really wishes she could stay at your baby shower all day. Use it as an excuse, sure, but don’t forget to skip to the car on your way out.
This is probably the best guidance system for your path to happiness and freedom. Too often we forget that the uneasy feelings we have are actually our true self telling us that this is not right for us. If you’re in a situation, a partnership, a job that feels like a ‘have to,’ rather than a true desire, ask yourself why you’re really involved. Is there another way? Sometimes there is also the possibility of a grey area that could be exploited – it doesn’t always have to be all or nothing. If you don’t like your job, you don’t really have to quit, do you? Is there another department that you could tell your boss your interested in? Or could it be as simple as jazzing up your work wardrobe? If you’re feeling queasy about a business deal, is there a way to make the process a little more enjoyable? Maybe go crazy and sign the papers at that cool bistro you’ve been wanting to go to – Rebel a little!
So what will you create with your freedom to choose? What’s one or two decisions you have to make today that you could make without consulting what’s expected of you. Are you brave enough to make a choice that brings you true joy?
Let me know how you choose joy and happiness today! Please comment:)