The Next ActTuesday, May 29, 2012 By Samantha Cardet
“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare once said, “and all the men and women merely players.” “They have their exits and their entrances,” he asserts, and high school is no exception. Here I am, exactly halfway between the beginning of my high school career and the end of it, halfway between child and adult, halfway between childishness and maturity. I’m in the very middle, playing innocent bystander as people make their entrances and exits, idly wondering what the next act will look like, and when my part will begin. Here in the middle is a wonderfully bittersweet place to be, because my vantage point allows me to earnestly and honestly look two ways: backward, at the person I once was, and forward, toward the person I’m hoping to become. The person I was comes to me like a hazy, half-remembered dream. Hopeful, with a twinkle in my eye that surely meant trouble. Naïve, always ready to see the best in people. Motivated, prepared, always, to fulfill my potential, but always expecting in the back of my mind to come out second-best. Half defeated before the fight had even begun, half still kicking though it was already over. In a sense I am still all of these things: hopelessly stubborn, romantically idealistic, and ridiculously melodramatic. However, with passing time comes a sense of clarity and a changed perspective that is unfortunately and inevitably damaged by the filter of experience – by cynicism. You become jaded. You slowly let go of your fantastic youthful dreams, writing them off as improbable, impossible, unrealistic. The magic of life is gone; the world isn’t such a beautiful place. People cut each other off on the road. People lie, cheat, steal, and leave their wives and daughters to fend for themselves. People are bad. Looking forward, I realize that my days as idle bystander are over. My part in the play is fast approaching, my lines lengthy, eloquent, impossible to memorize or decipher. All I can do is run with it, improvise, and hope I don’t fall flat on my face. Figure it out, Samantha. Just do it. This philosophy usually works for me. Looking into the future, like looking into the past, is hazy. Only in this direction, some of those fantastic youthful dreams slip in. You might allow yourself an aspiration, an expectation or two, but don’t get crazy. When I look at my future, I can’t see much, and not because I’m not expecting anything at all, but because if I know one thing, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. Sometimes what you plan isn’t always the best for you anyway, and sometimes reality takes you to much higher places than you ever dreamed, hoped, or expected. The wonderful part, as always, is the journey. I can’t begin to imagine how things will be in the future. I can’t fathom what car I’ll be driving, what song I’ll be listening to, what big break will come, if any, and what that break will lead me to. I’ll meet all sorts of people, some good, and some bad. I’ll do crazy things, stupid things, kind things, rude things, and all sorts of things in between. I can hope, which is something I encourage everyone to do liberally, but I can never know for sure until it comes to meet me face to face. The only thing I can be sure of is myself, and that wherever this life takes me, I’ll be taking it on full force.