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What Exactly Does It Mean To Be A Free-Spirited Individual?

"She was born to be free, let her run wild in her own way and you will never lose her." — Nikki Rowe

Inspiration

Is it just me or does it seem like, these days, folks are used to just throwing words and phrases out without really understanding what they mean? Take being a free spirit, for example. While some people may be spontaneous (at times), like to take risks or even be a lot of fun to be around, that doesn't automatically or necessarily make them a free spirit. In short, a free-spirited person is someone who's considered to be a nonconformist. And, even with that said, it goes a little bit deeper.


So, whether you feel that deep down you're a free spirit (and you want an article to confirm it) or you've got someone in your life who you sense may be one, I've got 10 signs that can definitely shed light on what being a free-spirited individual is truly all about.

1. You’re Fiercely Independent

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My mother has told me, often, that beyond the standard "mama" and "dada", my first words as a baby were actually an abbreviated sentence — "I do myself, Mommy." She always follows that up with, "And you've basically been that way ever since." To a large extent, I wholeheartedly agree. Independence, for the most part, is about not depending on other people, especially when it comes to making a living. To me, this kind of person is cool on so many levels. Still, I will put the disclaimer out there that if you're so independent that you mentally, emotionally or literally live like you're an island in need of no relationships with anyone, that could result in some pretty lonely or limited living. Bottom line, when it comes to being an independent person, balance is key.

2. Peer Pressure Is Close to Irrelevant to You

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Someone once said to me, "You don't care what anybody thinks." My response to that was, "I care. It's just that my list is extremely short." I promise you that I don't get what good comes from "following the crowd", just for following's sake. Humans are fickle. Humans are fallible. And oftentimes, they say and do things, just to fit in — not because those things are good or right. If you read all of that and felt like you were about to clap at your own phone or monitor, I'm sure you can get where I'm coming from here. Do free spirits have friends? Sure they do. Do they feel like they need a ton of 'em or that they must succumb to peer pressure in order to feel good about themselves? Usually not.

3. You’re Open to New Things

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Wanna know someone who's tried a billion-and-one things before? Free spirits. That's because they tend to get bored pretty easily and don't like to stick to routines very much. Because of this, they tend to have lots of stamps on their passport, can recommend a ton of restaurants in their city and are considered to be pretty big risk takers overall. That's cool. The flipside is, because newness is so important to them, sometimes they're not the best when it comes to holding down a job or even a relationship for that matter. Sometimes the novelty of things (and people) is so important to them that they can't sit still for very long — which is usually more frustrating to the people around them than them. (Right, free spirits?)

4. You Do Not Live for Work

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It actually wasn't until I sat down to write this article that I even knew there was such a thing as Workaholics Day (it's July 5). According to an article that I read concerning it, close to 50 percent of Americans consider themselves to be one. That's a damn shame. It's also pretty foreign when it comes to free spirits. When it comes to this particular point, an extreme version that comes to mind is Lynn from Girlfriends.

Free spirits are the polar opposite of workaholics. They typically hate the idea of being in an office setting. They often go the freelance or contract work route in order to avoid getting in a rut. And sometimes, because work is not something that is a huge priority to them, they don't have to be rolling in cash, they may not be the most financially stable on the planet and/or they may not have the most secure financial plans for the future.

The thing that free spirits have to keep in mind is there is a time for work and a time for play, no doubt. Still, there is a time to pay bills and a time to have an emergency fund for car repairs, hospital bills, etc. If you're a free spirit, you might've read all of that and said, "Eh. The universe will handle it." And yeah, that's just what I thought you would say (LOL).

5. You Know That Originals Are Incomparable (and You Are, Indeed, an Original)

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All of us have moments when we need a bit of an ego boost (in the most humble way possible, of course). But when it comes to a free spirit, they don't typically struggle with self-esteem issues — at least as it relates to what other people think about them (which I already touched on). A big part of the reason why is because free spirits relish in their individuality. They totally get what being an original is all about. They like that there are things about them that are extremely unique. In fact, it's almost like they will go out of their way to do something that will make themselves stand out — a totally-out-of-the-box hair color, an oddly-placed tattoo or piercing, a fashion sense that is truly uncommon. And because they are incomparable, they don't typically struggle with envying others because others look and think nothing like them and they like that. Yeah, if "I don't give AF about what others are on" was a person, free spirits would definitely fit the bill.

6. You Move Like Water

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When it comes to this trait of free spirits, a Bruce Lee quote immediately comes to mind. Perhaps you are familiar with it:

"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."

Because I was surrounded by control freaks while growing up and, subsequently, ended up having PTSD from it and then had to work on freeing myself from being a control freak myself (which I honestly have only semi-mastered in my 40s), it wasn't until I was in my mid-late 30s that this mindset of Bruce's became a priority to me. Another example of "flowing" is the first time I went to South Africa to visit my family. Because flying isn't my favorite thing on this planet, the turbulence, for all those hours, had a sistah tense. My brother said, "If you relax and move with the plane, it will be easier on your mind and your body." He was right.

Free spirits get, for the most part, that there is only so much that you can control. What you can't, you need to leave up to God (some would say the universe) and chill out. To those who aren't very flexible, the mere thought of being like water stresses them out and causes them to see free spirits as being nonchalant and even flippant. Free spirits don't care, though, because they are a lot more calm and serene due to feeling this way.

7. Long-Term Commitments Are a Bit of a Stretch in Your Mind

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A couple of years ago, I checked out a video from a YouTube channel that I like called nappyheadedjojoba. I enjoyed it so much that it inspired an article for the platform entitled, "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?" because that's pretty much what nappyheadedjojoba said — relationships, cool. Marriage? Not so cool. You know, a couple of months ago, I was having a conversation with a married friend of mine about what she would do, relationally, if she were to ever get a divorce or her husband were to pass away. "Not get married again, I can promise you that," she said. While it might seem on the onset that she regrets getting married (if you personally do, check out "What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?"), that's not what she meant. See, this person, in a lot of ways, is a bit of a free spirit herself and what marriage has revealed to her is she doesn't want to constantly answer to someone or even share all of the time. Actually, she reminds me of another never-been-married-before woman (who is close to her 70s at this point) who once said to me, "I'm too selfish to be married." She doesn't like the idea of accountability and sharing either.

While there does seem to be this odd misconception that just because some people don't desire marriage, they must not be interested in companionship — or are even capable of long-lasting intimacy — at all, free spirits totally get where long-term non-committals are coming from. It's not that free spirits are incapable of loving; they just don't like the paperwork, the high expectations and the constant day-to-day practices that are required in order to make marriage happen. So, they find other ways to connect. And they are just fine with that.

8. You Collect Memories, Not Objects

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I don't know about y'all, but I don't personally know too many free-spirited individuals who are "gifts people" when it comes to love languages. In fact, I don't know too many free-spirited people who are big on money or tangible things at all. If anything, they are more into quality time (or maybe even physical touch) because they like the memories that come from spending time with people they enjoy being around. This means that if you've got a free spirit in your life, you don't have to worry about impressing them with expensive stuff. At the same time, they can still be a bit challenging to please — one, because they oftentimes have quirky taste and two, since memories (and nostalgia) are such a big deal to them, you've got to put real thought into what you plan on doing with them. While we're here, another thing to keep in mind is because they are so big on memories, they can sometimes be easy to disappoint. Plus, because this is the case, they aren't always the best at forgiving whenever you do.

9. Organized ANYTHING Kinda Freaks You Out

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It's no secret that while Type A people tend to be far more organized, they also tend to be a lot more impatient and prone to being stressed out. Type B folks? C'mon. How much more "zen" can you get than a lot of them? That said, free spirits would definitely fall into the Type B category. While this can be cool on a lot of levels, because being Type B means that you are way more easy-going, there is something to be said for order. Organized people tend to pay bills on time. Organized people tend to manage their time well. Organized people tend to have a clean house and car — you get where I'm coming from. The thing that free spirits have to keep in mind when it comes to being organized is it's important to remember that you can be "free" and responsible too. In fact, when you are an adult, you absolutely should.

10. You Live Passionately

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Probably my favorite thing about free-spirited folks is how passionate they are. This results in them being pretty positive people. This results in them knowing what it means to stay in the moment. This results in them enjoying (and taking) sex to new levels. This results in them feeling things fully and intensely. This results in them being excited about big things and simple pleasures. In a nutshell, free spirits like cultivating and experiencing pure, real and lasting joy. They believe that things should be felt deeply, that relationships should be profound, and life is meant to create powerful moments, as often as possible. This is a quality that makes free spirits a blessing — whether you are one or happen to know one. So, if this is the case, celebrate! They make life so much richer in their own special way. They really and truly do.

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Something that I try to mention, as much as possible, especially when it comes to married and long-term couples is, if you want to go the distance, it's not just the "big things" that you've got to stay up on; it's the little things too. Something as simple as you being a morning person while your partner is a night owl can affect everything from quality of sleep to quality time to your sex life. That's why, when it comes to couples who have different sleep patterns who still want to have a fulfilling sexual dynamic, I'm all about encouraging them to do what is at the foundation for all successful relationships — compromise. Sometimes that means that an alarm clock needs to be set or someone needs to initiate some, umm, stuff (more on that in a bit) in order to get the juices flowing (pun intended and not intended).

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