Having been thoroughly beaten up by your own concerns of reputation, there comes a time where you must no longer live only in the eyes of your fellow man, but live for you.
I have lived in various lands and mingled with various people and with me now is a shield which fends off all comers from my inner peace. It is something earned with experience and missing in youth (unless egregiously optimistic). The protection may amount to “easy-come, easy-go”, but it is more from the subjective perspective. It is a freedom earned with trial by fire, and an honor bestowed on one from above.
The ability to love, without possessing; the ability to perform to your best, without concern for excellence; the ability to forgive as human and harmless, what society may nonetheless despise – in this you can make for yourself a wonderful world, even should your past experience be grim.