My friend has always been a one-woman riot. She would spontaneously affect a Swedish accent for no good reason. She improvised mini plays that we performed during class, and she generally drove our teachers crazy with her antics. I, of course, had nothing to do with any of this. Ahem. She was into riding motorcycles. She was a free spirit, which to my limited (and somewhat warped) experience was something wondrous. She was gloriously imperfect and didn't care who knew it. She was, in a word, herself.
Which makes me wonder: What makes us stop being ourselves? At what point in our young lives do we decide that it's easier to just be what everyone expects us to be? Why do some people remain true to themselves when everyone around them is trying to force them into conformity with the majority? The result of caving in to this pressure is never positive. I think a lot of therapy could be summed up in "Hey, be yourself again. No, your real self. The one that you were before you got lazy and went crazy. Quit faking perfection and let people see your flaws." of course, that would cut hours on the couch back dramatically, and psychiatrists most likely wouldn't go for it.
I'm slowly learning what it's like to be my old self again. My really old self. That inquisitive, excited, oops-I-dropped-it, fault-ridden four year-old self who was unlike anyone else who has ever lived, or ever will. It's very liberating. I'm not completely there, and I likely never will be because of all the layers of sameness that the world has piled and continues to pile on me. But I'm still heading in that direction. I want to be the old guy in the nursing home whom the staff all call a character. You know, the one who wears loud shirts, leers at the women and says really inappropriate things. I think I already have the garish clothing thing down - at least when I'm not interpreting. As for the ogling women and saying inappropriate things, it's a work in progress.
My wife and co-workers will probably tell you that I'm doing well, but I'm giving myself extra homework so I'm ahead of the game when my kids stick me in the Happydale Retirement Home for Aging Hipsters and Out-Of-Work Interpreters.