Sure, we can never know the ending until we get there. Life isn't written like a comfortable novel or a familiar song. And while days may line up in a predictable pattern of painfully progressive chords, every now and then there's a key change or a plot twist or an unintentional abrupt ending to a chapter, like the final scene of a French film, utterly unexpected and existential.
But what if, beyond not knowing the arc of your fairy tale, you find yourself unsure even which direction to take?
Forgive me. I'm thinking of Cinderella in Into the Woods, stuck in the pitch on the stairs.
You think: What do you want? You think: Make a decision! Why not stay and be caught? You think, well, it's a thought. What would be his response? But then what if he knew who you were when you know that you're not what he thinks that he wants? And then what if you are what a prince would envision? But then how can you know who you are 'til you know what you want...which you don't.
Well, hell, Cindy. I don't know either.
Because it's a good question, Mr. Lapine.
And while it's tempting to think the centrifugal motion of your early twenties will just spin you around and around the same climactic destiny-coated point-of-your-entire-existence until you hone in on that sucker and pounce on life-fulfillment in a glorious moment of revelation, that doesn't really happen.
Okay, half-glass-full Chesley thinks, but maybe life is more like a skipping stone skimming the pond surface, dropping in for amazing moments and tiny touch-downs of meaning?
But what if you're one of those stones that starts off skipping pretty well, only to disappointingly and prematurely lose momentum and plummet to the bottom of the pond?
Okay. Perhaps that's a bit dramatic. But doesn't it feel like that sometimes?
Because sometimes you can't even dream yourself forward in ANY direction. Sometimes you look around and you swear EVERYBODY GOT A ROAD MAP BUT YOU.
So shake out your hair, pick any direction, and go. Right?
Do you ever get too old for that? For weighting the hunch or the inkling or the fluttery wings of hope with just as much importance as the sober, pensive, down-to-earth pragmatic consideration? Can't I do both, simultaneously?
Here's my problem: I've always relied on the hunches and inklings and winged hopes. I've always leaned hard on serendipity. She's rarely led me wrong.
The problem is, she's certainly made herself scarce lately.
And I can't figure out if I've scared her away - folded up that flighty devil-may-care daring like an old sheet and stuffed it in the back of the bureau - or if she's lying in wait somewhere, ready to whisper, "POUNCE" in my ear when the right opportunity finally shuffles under the snow.
And I hope
And I hope
And I hope that she is.
Because I'm not quite ready to give up dreaming my life into existence.
And I think there is cause for hope. It's silly. (I'm silly.) But in the past 24 hours, three maybe-we'd-be-friends-if-we-lived-in-the-same-city-but-we're-really-more-like-ships-in-the-night kind of boys - very different men, actually - have said to me (or to a friend of mine):
I like that Chesley. I feel like this is her year.
You're getting more and more beautiful and are always good company. I think 2015 will be a good year for you...
You're the most confident, poised girl I know. Stop doubting yourself - you're amazing.
I know. I know.
Right, I know. Glorious me, praised by the world of adoring peons.
But the point is - these gents know enough of me to know if I was a phony; but they aren't close enough to say nice things just because that's what friends are supposed to do. Nor are they angling for a batted eyelash. (Trust.)
Besides, I give those for free.
The point is: it's nice to have someone you think is interesting, someone you think is driven, someone you respect, look at you and see the very thing you hope you truly are.
So what's in store? What's the key change? What's the plot line? What's the wonderful that's waiting to happen?
I don't know yet. But I think, if I'm true to who I am, it's gonna be good.