Being a free spirit is something we’ve all aspired to at some point or another. Marching to the beat of your own drum might take some time, but it’s well worth it when you get there. Here are 5 signs that you’re grooving to your own rhythm…
1. You’re Independent
Being independent is something that a lot of us take for granted, as well as something that many find difficult. It’s hard to live your life without taking other people’s opinions and emotions into account. While it’s important to be compassionate, part of being a free spirit is making your own decisions and living your life how you choose.
Free-spirited individuals are often cited as living outside the norms of society and having unconventional lifestyles. This doesn’t need to be the case! Of course, if this is what’s important to you, then go for it. However, being a free spirit, to me, means going with your own flow. Create your lifestyle and thrive off it. It’s always nice to check in with friends and family, but you should live your life for yourself. Have your own mind and have faith in your abilities.
Making your own choices, being self-aware, and being able to think for yourself are all signs that you’re a free spirit. You don’t have to dress in hippy-flares and flower crowns to fit into this personality type! Making the most of your life and actively choosing how things pan out is important to you, and there is no shame in that.
Doing things on your own terms and for your own benefit is something to strive for, not be ashamed of. As a woman, I used to feel that I had to hide away my ambitions. I guess I didn’t want to be seen as a ‘fool’ for having some unconventional desires. Being a free spirit means embracing what you want to do and doing it, regardless of other people’s opinions.
2. You Travel When You Want To
Travel is one of those things that pretty much everyone I know would list under the ‘hobbies and interests’ section of their CV. And yet, how many us of actually travel? I’ve been lucky enough, or simply worked hard enough and taken a leap of faith, to travel, and have loved every second of it. For me, travel is a priority, and it’s something that I put first when I decided to leave my home in England.
In my eyes, being a free spirit means just that – your spirit, mind, and body are free to roam wherever they like. Of course, I recognize how fortunate I was to leave my life behind – I had nobody who really relied on me and had no responsibility to anyone. Did I have ties? Of course! But, for me, travel was so important that I was willing to cut those ties in pursuit of my own happiness.
Some days, I miss my job and my great little apartment and the wonderful man I was dating, but I have no regrets about my choice to leave it all behind. If travel is important to you, you should find a way to make it happen.
If this isn’t resonating with you and you have no interest in travel, swap it for something that does matter to you. Maybe you love going to sports games, or have a real passion for hiking. If you find other people trying to stop you from doing the things you enjoy, there’s a problem there. Free spirits know when to be selfish and put themselves first – if something matters to you, pursue it.
It can take years to find that ‘thing’ that really feeds your soul, so when you do find it, you shouldn’t have to limit your enjoyment and pleasure of it for anyone else. I often find myself writing ’til 5 in the morning, planning last-minute getaways, and actively pursuing things that give me that exhilarating rush of nervousness and excitement. Whatever just popped into your head as you read that is exactly what you need to be doing more of.
3. You Have Your Own Hobbies And Interests
I love hearing about other people’s interests, whether it’s my Ma’s obsession with her chickens (she’s built them a new ladder?) or the guy I’m seeing’s passion for cooking. Especially if he makes me delicious food! I will happily spend time with my loved ones doing things that interest them. Like I said, compassion is important. Something may not interest you, but if interests someone you love, you should still make an effort to get involved with it.
There’s a scene in the movie The Break Up where a married woman is explaining why she’s so upset that her husband doesn’t want to go to the ballet with her. She’s not asking him to join her because he likes it, but because she likes it, and that fact alone should be reason enough for him to go with her. “It’s not about you loving the ballet… it’s about the person you love (loving) the ballet and you want(ing) to spend time with that person.”
Care about other people’s hobbies and get involved in them. And expect the exact same thing in return. You should feel free to explore and enjoy whatever interests you, and you are more than right to expect support from those who love you. Sure, your hobbies are for yourself, but it’s always nice to be able to share them with those around you, even if they’re not as passionate about them as you are.
Find what interests you and pursue it, whatever it is. Get crazy about making tea; buy strainers and loose leaves and drink as much tea as you possibly can. Go to the library and max out your membership card with books on World War II and read them aloud to yourself in bed. Start waking up earlier and join a local yoga class, or buy a mat and practice at home in your underwear. Whatever gives you that buzz and makes you want more is what you need to be filling your soul with.
Being a free spirit means you have your own passions and your own world to enjoy. Doing things because they make you happy, however weird or wacky they may seem to others, is so important. Either let people join your quest for happiness as mentioned above, or accept the judgment and do it anyway. This ties in with being independent – do what you enjoy doing and don’t let anybody make you feel uncomfortable about it. Provided it’s legal, of course.
Being alone is something that I used to hate. I never enjoyed alone-time with my thoughts, and I would always look for excuses to avoid it. For me, alone had the exact same definition as lonely.
Fast forward a few years, and I live on my own. I still have a fully-functioning social life, friendship circle, and healthy relationships (well, healthyish!), but I’ve finally learnt to love my own company. My own mind is no longer something to be scared of; it’s something I appreciate and have worked hard to tune into. Aligning your mind and body is something that becomes really important to you as a free spirit.
Doing things that make you happy, being satisfied with being alone, and actively craving time on your own is all healthy and does not make you antisocial. If it does feel like you’re distancing yourself from other people, however, you may want to check in with yourself and figure out if there’s a reason behind it. On the whole, being able to function as an individual is a sign that you’re a free spirit.
Nobody should ever make you feel like you have to sacrifice yourself for them, so make sure you surround yourself with friends, family, and partners who support you. Being a free spirit doesn’t mean abandoning everyone; it means making decisions for yourself and either embracing those who accept that or moving on to things (and people) that better serve you.
People often associate free spirits with lofty, flighty people who can’t commit to anything or anyone. This isn’t always the case. It’s true that many of us find it hard to settle, as we’re always craving adventure and excitement. That said, the best adventures can often come of something familiar. You don’t need to be in a new country every day, switching endlessly between temp jobs and studio flats to be a free spirit. The mentality behind what you do says just as much, if not more, as your physical movements.
The important thing is to find what feels right for you – that might be committing to a relationship, but equally may mean exploring your sexuality with a range of partners. You may choose to stay close to family and friends, or you might want to spread your wings. Either way, your mind will be actively seeking new pleasures, even if your circumstances stay pretty much the same.
5. You Love Yourself
This kind of ties all of the above points together. Loving yourself means being comfortable in your own skin, pursuing things that make you happy, and letting go of those that no longer serve you. Part of being a free spirit means taking responsibility for your actions and setting yourself free from anything that is holding you back. Family and friends can be grounding, but you should never feel trapped.
Being a free spirit may be about wandering from opportunity to opportunity or just enjoying the moment and letting go. Having no fear and testing the limits of your comfort zone is a pretty strong sign that you’re free-spirited. It’s all about challenging yourself and making the most of every situation that may benefit you. Loving yourself means looking after your own needs, and nourishing your mind and body however you can.
Ultimately, doing things for yourself and creating a life that you love is a sign of truly being a free spirit. It may take a while to get there, but it’ll be worth the journey, trust me…
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.