When you look back on your life, do you find yourself dividing it into chapters—childhood, high school, your young adult years? I do. And during these times I like to reflect on who I was then, and who I am now.

As a young single mother of two children, I lived in a small house and drove a used Oldsmobile Buick. Times were simpler then, and my spirit was lighter. I worked as a waitress at the same restaurant for 10 years while I completed my undergraduate degree (which took eight years by the way). My work days were long and tiring. But by the end of the night, I had money in my pocket and was oh so happy.  Once the last customers left, I’d be cleaning tables and suddenly have this burning desire to turn cartwheels all over the restaurant. Now, I wasn’t a tumbler by any means, but just thinking about cartwheeling seemed so liberating. Just the thought of putting my hands on the ground, throwing my legs in the air and landing without falling filled me with a carefree spirit.

Looking back, I see that my urge to cartwheel through life was simply a metaphor for the thrill of being able to live life freely.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been that carefree girl. And while I’m grateful for the life I have, I often long for the simplicity of my younger days. You may feel this too. It can be overwhelming to be the decision maker, the boss, the mother, the wife, the good friend, the “whatever” role you’re filling in the moment.

But guess what? I know if I want to cartwheel through life today, I can do it by creating opportunities that allow me to reflect, let go and live my life with intent and purpose. If you’re ready to channel your inner child, or whatever it is that makes you happy, try following a few of these tips and see where life takes you.

  • Assess your life. Make lists of 1) what makes you feel happy or free, and 2) what makes you unhappy or anxious. Then, evaluate what will bring you happiness and work toward taking small steps to achieve those feel-good goals.
  • Go outside every day. There’s something liberating about being in the great outdoors. Take a stroll, walk your dog, play with your kids in the park or simply sit on your front porch and enjoy the view.
  • Change your routine. Even if it’s just taking a new route to work, switching up the same old/same old always gives me a lift. Give it a go.
  • Listen to music. Music can be calming, energizing and inspiring. Turn it up!
  • Laugh out loud. It’s been said that a good laugh heals a lot of hurt. Switch on a mindlessly funny TV show or watch your favorite stand-up comic.
  • Find a creative hobby. Look for something that challenges you in a different way or a new activity you’ve been longing to try.
  • Go to bed early. You don’t have to stick to your regular lights-out time. Give your body an extra boost of energy by allowing it to rest extra hours once in a while.
  • Live in the moment. It is so important to appreciate the opportunities of our day-to-day lives and really relish the moment we are in.
  • Give thanks every day.  Even if your life is not exactly what you want it to be, it is still our responsibility to be thankful for the lives we have been given.