I find that a big part of growing up is becoming more honest with myself and less honest with people.

Where I once simply flung a water bottle at my classroom wall in a fit of childish anger, I now question my right to be angry, because I am now aware I have a bad temper and conversations cannot be cut short with physical violence anymore.

Where being thanked as a good friend and confidant used to be such a girly honour, I now appreciate that I am an intolerant ass, and that being able to look like I’m listening to self-induced personal drama is such a valuable skill.

Where I once wrote in my university applications with misguided conviction about how enamoured I was with finance, I now accept new assignments at work with an enthusiastic front, then take a private moment to sigh into my computer screen and recognize that it’s impossible to be interested in everything.

As we grow older, prejudices, vanity, sensitivities, emotions suddenly become real and confront us. Then we get caught in an endless cycle of reconciling who we really are and what people expect of us just to be able to maintain peaceful relations. Character flaws have to be hidden, words swallowed. Nice things, insincere as they may be, have to be said…like apologies. It doesn’t always work though. People are more transparent than they think.

This must be why the older people get, sometimes the more unhappy they are. Adult socialising is so much about fashioning some kind of image, or trying not to offend someone, or reining in your natural impulses…and all this pretending is difficult. And so I think someone’s got it right in saying that being able to be yourself with someone is a perfectly good reason for being happy with that person. I used to wonder what that really meant.

But now I get it. Being able to be honest with both yourself and other people is a kind a freedom, and being free is being happy.