This year for my birthday, I’m giving myself the perfect gift. I’m giving myself Permission. Here’s what that looks like:

Being You.

You are allowed to be you. You are allowed as YOU as you are. You are allowed to spend time finding out what that means. You are allowed to experiment. You are allowed to make “mistakes” (if that’s even a thing.) You are allowed to try things and learn, maybe that’s what a “mistake” is. You are allowed to be different than you used to be. You are allowed to be different than you expected to be. You are allowed to be different than who others think you are. You are allowed to surprise them, even alarm, discourage, or disappointment them. Or delight them. You’re allowed to find yourself, however you can.

 

Age. 

You are allowed to be 36 (and feel like you’re 17). It will be years before you’re a Perfect Square again. Enjoy it.

 

Relationships.

You are allowed to be single. You are allowed to dream of something (someone) magical who is your perfect puzzle piece. You are allowed to be terrified this person does not exist. You are allowed to go in and out of wanting true Love more than anything. You’re allowed to know deep down you are your truest partner. You are allowed to squint your eyes say “F*!&” (internally) when people tell you it will all happen when you stop trying, or when you try harder, or when you make a list, or commit to yourself first, or remind you that “Relationships are hard work, and “they don’t solve everything.” You’re allowed to know these people have good intentions and think “F*!&.” anyway.

 

Motherhood. 

You are allowed to not know if you want to be a mom. You are allowed to not be a mom, if life turns out that way, and not be less of a woman for it. You are allowed to be great and loving and expansive and wonderful even if you don’t become a mom. And you are allowed to spend a lot of time lately thinking about it. Oh, and you are also allowed to be jealous of moms, and expecting moms, and you’re allowed to let it all hurt sometimes.

The front of the most beautiful birthday card from my mom. 

 

Expression. 

You are allowed to love dance, even if it’s Zumba and seems corny and commercial. And you’re allowed to love Ecstatic Dance when the music is right and the crowd is open. You’re allowed to be as sexy and connected and angry and isolated as you want to be. You’re allowed to love dance more than anything, and know that you’re great at it. And you’re allowed to only do it as much as you do. You’re allowed to not be trying to do anything with it, for now. You’re allowed to wonder about its role in your life.

 

Dance.

You are allowed to love dance, even if it’s Zumba and seems corny and commercial. And you’re allowed to love Ecstatic Dance when the music is right and the crowd is open. You’re allowed to be as sexy and connected and angry and isolated as you want to be. You’re allowed to love dance more than anything, and know that you’re great at it. And you’re allowed to only do it as much as you do. You’re allowed to not be trying to do anything with it, for now. You’re allowed to wonder about its role in your life.

 

Art. 

You are allowed be an introvert. You are allowed to cherish your time alone. You are allowed to love your markers when you do, and hate them when you do. You’re allowed to make art for other people, but you don’t have to. You’re allowed to be an artist, and you don’t have to be one. You’re allowed to just be a person, who sometimes draws and writes stuff and shares it. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and it can also be the most meaningful thing you do.

 

Work. 

You are allowed not to have a conventional job. You are allowed to not know your purpose. You are allowed to let your life unfold. You are allowed to experiment. You are allowed to be scared of experimenting. You are allowed to be paralyzed when you are. You are allowed to trust it’s all working out and adding up. You are allowed to trust you’re finding your way.

 

Money. 

You are allowed to have the money you do and not know how to spend it. You are allowed to be careful and conservative about how you spend, invest, and give. You are allowed to be patient. And you are allowed to give when it feels right, and not when it doesn’t, and keep learning. You’re allowed to wish you understood it all better.

 

Technology.

You are allowed to not answer emails. And text messages. and any other App. You are allowed to say “no” to getting together or not say anything at all (see previous permission to be an introvert). You are allowed to let your phone ring and listen to messages and smile and not return the calls. You’re allowed to check your email once a day. You’re allowed to say you’re checking your email once a day, and then check it more. You’re allowed to beat yourself up for this, but you don’t have to.

 

Spirit.

You are allowed to be on a spiritual path and you are allowed to F* the spiritual path when it pisses you off or feels too much like navel-gazing or an infinite loop of BS. And you are allowed to fall back in love with it every time you do. You are allowed to love parts of different traditions and weave them together in your own heart: Philosophy of one, music of another, poetry of a third, practices of a fourth. You’re allowed to be an explorer, compiler, distiller, creator. You’re allowed to be your own Buddha, and to trust your heart.

 

Service. 

You’re allowed to be finding your way here. You don’t know have to know how you’re meant to be most helpful yet. You’re allowed to keep trying your best, showing up when it feels right, staying home when it doesn’t. You’re allowed to feel the pain of not feeling fully used. You’re allowed to long for this (feeling fully used) more than anything, when you do. You’re allowed to feel your heart break over current affairs and feel totally lost about how to help. You’re allowed to experiment. You’re allowed to ask for help. Help?

 

Friendships. 

You’re allowed to believe you quite possibly have the best friendships in the *entire* world. And you’re also allowed to feel lonely sometimes. You’re allowed to trust your friends will keep loving you no matter how YOU you are, or how YOU you become. You are allowed to prioritize and invest in the those closest to you and let others fade away.

 

Magic. 

You’re allowed to believe in it, and keep going until you prove it to yourself. And you’re allowed to get very turned around sometimes when no one else is talking about it. You’re allowed to let the moon be your reminder, your window to the heartbreakingly beautiful, infinitely complex, wildly simple explantation of everything. You are allowed to be as magic a miracle as you are, as you are. I know that because I read it today, on the inside of a birthday card. “You are the miracle of my life.” – Mom.

 

In case I haven’t said it enough, let it be said just one more time:
YOU.  ARE. ALLOWED. TO. BE. YOU.
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