Do you wear a mask every day?

For many people, Halloween is something that they look forward to all year long. Sure, it’s one of those holidays that was designed specifically with little kids in mind — but what adult doesn’t like taking advantage of the opportunity to relax, unwind, throw on a funny or scary mask and head out into the night with their friends? You work hard, after all — you deserve a little R&R, right? If you’re like me, you also take this opportunity to stock up on MilkyWays.

What you may not realize is that putting on a mask for Halloween isn’t actually something you have to look forward to. If you’re like most of us, you probably already do it every day without realizing it.

Let’s say you’re an aspiring novelist. You’ve had ideas for the next “Great American Novel” since you were in your teens. It’s more than just your hobby — it’s your passion. But passion on its own doesn’t pay the bills, so every Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm you head to your day job as an accountant, even though you’ve grown to hate it. Sound familiar?

How else do you describe that except to say that you’re putting on a mask?

Every single time we commit ourselves to doing something we hate, we’re putting on a mask and hiding what we should instead be putting on full display to the entire world. Most of us are guilty of this; unfortunately — we hide behind masks that usually take the form of “socially acceptable” careers or social relationships, instead of going out and living as the most important thing of all: our true selves.

I get it. It’s so much easier to put on your mask and fit in. The crowd accepts your costume while behind the mask you’re angry, sad or stressed out. Oddly, you feel protected behind the mask, but you’re still hiding.

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
– Rita Mae Brown

This is common, yes — but it’s also something that needs to stop. Halloween should be the ONLY time we wear a mask all year long. Period, life is too short.

Consider the following. Let’s assume that the job you hate is also traditionally structured, and you probably work about 39.2 hours per week (not counting the occasional break or daydreaming session). That expands to about 1842 hours per year, or an astounding 92,120 hours over your lifetime (assuming that you work from 18 to retirement age of 67).

That’s half of your total waking hours during any given day. It’s 35% of your total waking hours over a 50 year period, assuming that you get a full eight hours of sleep a night — which you probably don’t.

That’s 23.3% of your total life over five decades, spent sitting in a room that you hate doing a job that you can’t stand.

What sense does that make?

For your health, your well-being and your spirit, don’t just leave that mask at home — throw it in the garbage. Make no mistake, your true self will thank you for it. I know it’s so much easier said than done so I don’t expect you to uproot your life tomorrow. However, you should at least try to find a place that makes you feel fulfilled and appreciated so you can get rid of the mask.

Once you’ve found a place where you can be your true self, you’ll probably start looking forward to Halloween again.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or share this post with a friend.

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