Kids play pretend, and it's only a game. When the story is over, they stop pretending and immediately they are back to being exactly themselves. Sometimes they get confused about what's real and imagined, but that's for monsters hiding in the dark and vivid scenes from movies. They don't go about their ordinary lives pretending to be people they aren't. Kids don't even know how to do that.
Adults never say, "Let's play pretend." That's because they are always playing it, and they don't know how to stop: Let's pretend that I like you. Let's pretend that I don't want to take up your time. Let's pretend that I have it all together. Let's pretend that I'm happy to help you as much as you need. Let's pretend I agree. If you want know what I'm really made of, who I really am: ask me what I was like as a kid. Ask me who I was before I learned how to pretend.
These days, I'm learning how to stop pretending. I can't decide which is harder: learning or unlearning.