Last Sunday, I turned 36. And even though life does not look like what I imagined it would at this age — no house, no babies, no pets, no partner — I’m not ashamed of my years.

There’s a settledness that has arrived, a trusting in the unfolding. And in this resting, I’ve discovered something unexpected.  By unwinding from expectations of how I should be, what I should have and how I should be living, I’m finding a celebration of what is.

It’s like bushwhacking through dense jungle in search of water while standing in a fresh, sparkling pool. If we could just stop looking ahead, we might find relief by simply looking around.

This relief is remembering that life doesn’t have to look like anything other than what it is. I don’t have to be anyone other than who I am. Everything is abundantly enough.

Yes, there is heartbreak.
Yes, there is tragedy.
The planet is dying, our systems are broken. There are bills and deadlines and people who let us down, don’t show up and don’t seem to care.

But this, the glittering pool I’m talking about, is the cool water of restoration. It is the ever-present antidote of enoughness. We lose it in our quest to “measure up” and find in the reclaiming of rooting down.

This aging process, for me, has been a journey of reconnecting to the person I’ve always been. It’s learning to let go of the stories and fear of judgment and instead trusting and cautiously bringing forth an unbridled me-ness.

I believe that this is what the world is asking of us. The house, the children, the robust social presence, the thriving business, the perfect partner — sure, fine — but this is not what we’re living for. Striving for only these results in a world that does not work.

Instead, we’re being asked to show up with our quivering me-ness as the only means for building a world based on authentic connection. It’s about love — for self and planet. I know, there’s that ubiquitous L word, but there’s just no beating around the bush here.

Sometimes this looks like “not knowing.”
Sometimes this looks like being “a late bloomer.”
Sometimes this looks like “not having your shit together.”
Sometimes this looks like not having “grown up.”

If you, like myself, sometimes feel “behind,” and worry that your unconventional existence may prove disastrous down the road, may I offer another possibility? What if you are really a trailblazer? The tip of the wave hurdling through space and in this journey paving the way for a more congruous, more alive way of living? How brave. How revolutionary.

TAP YOUR UNBRIDLED YOU-NESS

What are the practices that bring you to yourself? Make your energetic presence swell? Remind you that you are part of something?

I’m being brought to myself when I slow down. Walk instead of drive. Soak in the late afternoon light. Stop to smell things. Look up. Listen without racing ahead. Collect leaves. Write with an actual pen.

I’m on the right path when I feel a little scared. Before I press publish.  Asking for support. Showing up at an event alone. Facilitating a group. Planning a workshop. Asking for what I’m worth. Making a boundary.

I am free when I let myself have “it.” Dancing in the front row. Wearing a tutu. Glittering myself. Reading my work allowed. Dressing by mood. Saying how I really feel. Savoring something delicious.

My heart is open when I drop my agenda. Observing strangers in moments of tenderness. Talking to my niece. Listening to a beautiful piece of music.

What are these practices for you?