Updated: May 10, 2020
It's funny to think that we're often told to be ourselves as kids, but it seems like once we hit the world and get older the more pressure there is to fit in so we can get the right job, attract the right person, and be part of the next "hot" or "trendy" thing. I even remember getting chastised for not having the right "keyword" on my resume to land the perfect job once that would surely cost me my plans to move from Hawaii to San Francisco in 2006, a dream I had harbored for most of my adult life.
What a cost authenticity poses when we know it may cost us some of the things or experiences we hold so dear or even need to survive!
Well the funny thing is I think finally being "AUTHENTIC" has become more of a trend now. I don't know how many times I see and hear that word in conversations be it personal or work-related, but it definitely is a lot more in the last few years.
Being a mid-career professional and well past my 30s has naturally made me stumble into Authenticity. Despite some of the not so great things one experiences as they get older, one of the benefits is in fact being more comfortable in your own skin, and more easily embracing the freedom of sharing more of the colors of my thoughts, values and opinions without the fear of social stigma or rejection. I think this is partly due to losing my mom a few years ago and coming to grips with the undeniable TRUTH that our time here on earth no matter what our age, is not unlimited, nor guaranteed.
So why choose authenticity now? Yes I'm older and hopefully wiser, and experienced a number of personal losses and disappointments which undeniably makes you question the meaning of life, but the real reason is FEAR. Not the fear of dying but the fear of REALLY LIVING. It is the FEAR that I've left the best of what I have inside of me and who I am unexpressed and hidden. The Fear that I've left my highest potential on the shelf and chosen a safer and easier path when I leave this earth haunts me and becomes the knawing quiet voice that never goes away no matter how hard I try to ignore it.
It's a sobering, yet powerful thought. One that we can often distract ourselves from with all the chaos, challenges and disasters that are occurring in this world. So I'm glad that AUTHENTICITY is making its way through the list of hot and trendy things these days. It will make it easier for me to stay connected to the truth of who I am and not have to justify it to myself or others when asked why I'm deviating from what may seem to be the "safe and smart" path to take. But more importantly, maybe it can truly "TAKE" with more of us so that when we do truly leave this earth we will be at peace knowing we left no part of our self unturned, unused, or unexpressed, knowing we’ve played "ALL IN" and made the unique imprint on the world that we were born to make.