Something I wrote a while ago, using a virtual world or game as a metaphor for life.
Life is a virtual world. At birth, we are given an avatar and a username. As we age, our avatars evolve and we can customize them. During the course of gameplay, we can play minigames such as going to school to learn skills and getting a job to earn in-game currency to purchase accessories for our avatar and other items to fill up our needs.
There are also a variety of skills which can be built and used to advance in the game. We don't choose our avatars or name--they are given to us at random. The stats are randomized before we are put into the game. Our gender, race, hair color, eye color, facial features and body type are given to us beforehand. We can customize some of these features, but we can only get to work with our given avatar.
Similarly, we are given certain built-in personality traits and desires. Some of this is modified by our surroundings, and certain skills can be built upon and traits can be learned, but we cannot re-roll our avatar's stats without voluntarily ending the game for our avatar.
Many people become so immersed in their avatars that they believe it defines them, and also define others by their avatars. Most people do not realize the difference between someone's avatar and who they really are.