25 Aug 2014

Perspective – On Nantucket Island

  Photo courtesy of TWN and Pixel Perfect Nantucket

In their riveting performance of “The Last Five Years,” Vanessa Calantropo and Donald Dallaire of the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket compelled the audience to reflect on their own lives through the lens of the last five years. Artistically presented from two different perspectives, Jamie (the husband) tells the story of his five year marriage forward from the day they meet. Cathy, his young bride, reflects backward from the tragic end of the marriage to day one. As the show culminates in the raw final number appropriately titled “Goodbye Until Tomorrow,” Cathy responds after their first kiss, “Goodbye until tomorrow, goodbye until the rest of my life, I will be waiting for you.” The lights go dark and the audience is left knowing “the rest of her life” with Jamie has only a five year lifespan.

Haunted by both the creative presentation of the storyline (forward and backward simultaneously) and the overall reminder of what our lives look like when encapsulated in five year snippets, I was forced this week to review the past half-decade of my own life. I was stunned by the good and the bad, the yin and the yang of it all. My family moved four times in three years. We experienced extraordinary professional success and also took an ice cold bath during the recession. We buried a mother, welcomed a granddaughter, watched friends battle life threatening illnesses, took some fabulous trips with family and friends and found significant moments along the way to give thanks that it’s all been possible.

For many of us, Nantucket has been the setting of our storyline…for five years or five generations. We vacation here, get married here, raise children, form friendships and build our homes here. The island provides the ultimate ambiance for the celebrations of our life…and the peace, serenity and healing we need when life throws us a curve ball. It’s one of those rare places that becomes a constant in our life – the thing we can count on for better or worse even when all else seems uncertain. Nantucket reminds us daily to live in the moment, to never miss a sunset, a sunrise or a walk on the beach.

There’s a heartbreaking moment in the middle of “The Last Five Years” where Jamie and Cathy’s stories collide. The only time they sing together, Jamie asks Cathy “Will you share your life with me for the next ten minutes…and if we make it till then, can I ask you again, for another ten?” It leaves the audience wondering what might happen if we all lived our lives as if this ten minutes were all we had?

As the Nantucket summer winds to a close is there anything you’ve left undone? A clambake you’ve been meaning to host, friends you still want to dine with, a quiet day at the beach or perhaps simply watching the sun appear over the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever it is, don’t wait too long as soon enough island friends and family will be bidding farewell and another summer will be in the rear-view mirror.

Goodbye…until tomorrow.

Shellie Dunlap


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