Often you’ll hear expressed the idea that all roles are equally arbitrary. And, frankly, I bought into this for years. But now I realize: Yes, all the world may be a stage, but some roles are more real than others. Being a mother, for example, is based on giving birth, having a body that can breastfeed, and a baby’s needs. Other roles, like teacher, farmer, even soldier, grow out of realities of life. But roles can be unreal if they’re just for show: Like meeting and greeting through lying smiles. Dressing up to impress. Making a todo about superstitious voodoo. And even adopting a role to prove that all roles are unreal. But parent, lover, friend, they’re as real as the feelings of the people involved. Save your cynicism for those who carry their roles to phony extremes or who impose one-size-fits-all social expectations.