Have you ever held onto something so tight and for so long that it became part of who you are?

It’s an idea or hope you have for your life that you’re convinced is going to become your reality.

I always had this firm idea, when I was younger, of what my life would look like. I would be an incredibly talented and successful singer-songwriter, living in a quiet suburban home with my husband, who coincidentally would be my best friend, and our two beautiful children. We would host dinner parties and picnics. When I’d go on tour, my family would come to the local shows. We would be the perfect American family, white picket fence and all.

This idea was holding me back, confining me to work only towards those goals. But as I started growing up, I came to understand the reality of my situation and accepted that I’m not meant to live a life like that.

I could have a suburban home with a husband and two kids. I could have the white picket fence, the picnics, and the dinner parties. I could even somehow become a semi-successful singer-songwriter if I played my cards right. But I wouldn’t be happy.

Coming to that realization was incredibly difficult, but I discovered what I needed to do: be free.

I needed to let go of the idea that I have to live in one place for the rest of my life, because I could travel the world. I needed to let go of the person I thought I was and rediscover who I am, who’s important to me, and what my purpose is. The world is full of opportunities and I had to let go of my expectations so I could be free to explore.

It was much easier said than done. Letting go is hard. It hurts. And I don’t know if it’s possible to fully let go of something.

In the past two years, I’ve made a huge transformation in my sense of self and my purpose in the world. While I like to think I had let go of most of the expectations I had about my life, I’d find myself going back to them every once in a while.

A few weeks ago, I had a really beautiful experience. At the end of a week-long camp, all the campers and counselors in my cabin had a dance party. We turned the lights out, danced with glow sticks and sang like crazy people. We didn’t care about who was watching or listening, we just wanted to have fun. It was freeing because for the first time in a long time, I let go, had fun, and didn’t put pressure on myself to be a certain way.

Sometimes all it takes is having a little dance party and singing at the top of your lungs to remind you that you don’t need to hold on to the expectations that you may have.

You can let go, dance, be happy and be free. Who knows where it will take you.