What I’am talking about is being somebody for everybody, doing things to please everybody and anybody. Losing touch with who you really are and what you wanted to do. After a number of years of such existence, you eventually don’t recognize the person in the mirror.
In my case, this is driven by the need to fit in so that I’am not the odd person in a group of people. The group of people, of course keeps changing. It might be a bunch of parents and kids in which case I’am the attentive, caring, worried parent. It might be colleagues in which case I’am the person who can keep calm, handle a situation, who knows it all. It might be drinking buddies in which case I’am the one closing the bar. The interesting thing is that each of these examples requires one to live a different life, be a different personality. Many times, this is driven by fear. Somehow worried about what the future might hold, or the results of an action or a decision. Or how my actions might be perceived by others. You cannot pretend to be liking and doing things while your instincts are crying out for something else. Faking it for too long is tiring.
What triggered this thought is my frequent ritual of finding a new job. Here’s how it goes. The old job somehow did not fit what I wanted. It was a dead end, or I just lost interest, or it was not going to make me any money. The reasons can be innumerable, but it’s now time to move on. Then I look at my resume and the current job market. As it always happens things have changed since the last time I looked for a job (The tech industry, especially, is notorious for changing fast) and somehow I find myself doing this job search in a hurry, under a deadline, with a dwindling savings account. In this situation, I’am prone to say ‘yes’ to anything that comes along my way. Infact, I am desperate to fit into any company (small, large) any job description, any domain of expertise. More often than not, I’ve been lucky to be hired in some such firm and the whole cycle repeats itself. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Eventually, it’s become hard for me, in my own mind, describe who I’am. Or be able to articulate what I like. Having made so many compromises and having worn so many masks, I cannot identify myself. The irony is that the perpetrator of this identity theft is none other than myself.