BE The Raisin

My high school solicited photos and stories from alumnae this week for an anniversary brochure that is being composed in honor of this year’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Upon reflection, I realized that as a student at Saint Elizabeth’s Academy, I took very seriously the annual “talent show.” The year I dressed up as a purple raisin and sang “I heard it through the grapevine” may not go down in musical history as the greatest ever performance of a Marvin Gaye song, but it’s one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Similarly, the time when I masqueraded as a nun and lip-synced to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” with my three backup sisters, Mary Bonner, Erika Schneider and Kelly McGowan, is forever seared into memory. What we lacked in musical talent, we made up for in sheer commitment to our parts. We wanted to win, and if that meant making fools of ourselves, then we were game.

One of the tragedies of getting older is that we sometimes lose touch with that playful spirit that used to define us as young women. In my role now as a Life and Career Coach, I encounter many adults who have lost touch with the part of themselves that simply likes to have fun. With jobs, children and responsibilities – it becomes difficult to recall a season when we were ever carefree.

Twenty years on, when I think back on the semesters I spent at Saint E’s, it’s not the worry of exams or the monotony of gym class I remember, but the moment I climbed frightened and exhilarated, onto a school stage to belt out a Motown classic with three of my close friends. The joy, the passion, the laughs we had! It won’t ever appear on a resume, or an obituary, but that’s the stuff you take with you.

On this 150th anniversary year, commitment to the part is still what it’s all about. Even if that part is a giant raisin. In the words of Thoreau: “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”