“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
In my 40th year, here are some sound words of advice from the wise Skin Horse in the nursery. I may be wrinklier and decidedly more shabby than I was 20 years ago, but hopefully I’m more real.