Who is the real you? We all wear masks. It's something we learned to do when we were quite young. We develop masks to protect ourselves. We fear that if people saw who we really were, we wouldn't be loved. Or perhaps we would be harmed if someone saw how weak or afraid we were—in which case, we may develop a stance of toughness that tells the world, "I dare you." So many reasons, so many masks.
By the time we reach middle age and beyond, we may have several masks, depending on whom we are around at any given time and what the situation is in which we find ourselves. Typically, however, by that stage of life, we're also beginning to realize that the masks meant to protect us are suffocating us, too. They are keeping us from being who we truly are. They keep us from being authentic. And authenticity becomes more important to us as we age.
What Muhammad Ali once said is true: "If you're the same person at fifty that you were at twenty, you've wasted thirty years."
Yes! The idea is to grow, to evolve, to let ourselves be transformed by life and its experiences. When we reach a more mature stage of life, we want to be as true to ourselves as we can be. Having said that, we will always hide behind some masks for safety. The hope is that those become fewer and lighter as we become stronger and more sure of ourselves.
What masks are you still wearing? Do you need them? Have you shed some of your masks? Do you feel that you're as authentic as you can be?