Monday, 16 December 2013

The day I went back to school

My Grandma always wanted to be an actress.  She wasn't able to, then life got in the way, as it does for us through the years she did a mountain of other amazing stuff instead.  However she never
'My' school uniform!
forgot that acting dream.

So when she turned 70 she got herself an agent and she became an actress.  14 years later and I (as her biggest fan) have lost count of the amount of TV shows, ads and movies that she's been in.  To have a Grandma who was in Mission Impossible 2 is pretty cool.  Often through the years, I'd be lying on the couch watching Home and Away, and she would appear in a scene.  I'm lucky to have someone so inspirational in my life and I tell everyone that story at every opportunity.  That it's never too late to do what you want to do.  To chase your passion.  And to do those things that you always wanted to do but never thought possible....

So this is probably the thing that gave me the confidence to choose my latest crazy challenge.  I've mentioned it a few times on here: I wanted to go back to my old high school, and redo my school cross country.

When I was at school, I hated PE, I hated school sports day, I hated the sports uniform.  I
The oval
was a straight A student through school, apart from getting a C in Year 8 PE.  I hated that we were even forced to do PE.  I hated it all.  But most of all, I hated the cross country.  I never did it properly. I either had a conveniently timed musical practice, I wagged, or I walked at the back eating M&M's in utter schoolgirl defiance of how could they make me EXERCISE!  I told myself that I was not an athlete and not a runner, so I never even tried.

So one of my goals for this round, was to go back to my high school, and run the
Jumping the fence  - never thought I'd want to sneak INTO school!
cross country course.


Because now I could.

My best friend from high school, Donella, offered to do it with me which made it even more special. 
Donella and I
We met as 12 year olds on the first day of Grade 8, and now here we were, sneaking into the school on a Sunday afternoon many years later, her helping me complete some unfinished business of mine.

Just to make it more real, I wore a school uniform for the occassion....not my actual school uniform because I have no idea where it is and I think it's covered in Nikko pen signatures and it's a bit cut up from the end of Year 12.  But I have a couple of school dress costumes at home so I wore one of them.  When I put it on I forgot that I had cut high splits in the dress because I wore it in a play where my character was a stripper ----- but I tried to push that out of my mind! 
I may have also worn a scrunchie! :)

We walked into the school and it brought back just so many memories.  We hadn't really been back since our youngest siblings school formals, so being able to walk through while no-one else was around really made us take it in and remember all of these random things.  We made our way down to the school oval and we started.

Don actually did the cross country properly at school, so I became even more grateful for her company when I realised she really remembered where we had to go!

The M&M's that I didn't need this time!
A lovely person I know, Jody Berkey, had the awesome suggestion that I should bring a packet of M&M's on my little venture and throw them out along the way and say "I don't need you anymore". :)  For a bit of fun, I did just that, and clutched the bag for the run.

So, with my best friend, my M&M's, my school dress and scrunchie, I set out to do what I could not do at 16, and I ran my school cross country.

It was amazing.  I really didn't expect for it to be so special, but it was.  Running past certain pockets in the school and surrounding suburbs was incredible, as we remembered random school girl moments and what happened where.  It hadn't changed, it was like it was yesterday.  Just this time, I was running!  We even had to climb a fence - so it ended up really feeling like we were on an adventure!

My favourite part was this: We were going to finish on the oval, which is where the old cross country used to finish.  We'd run 3-4km and we ran back into the school.  In the middle of the oval was a large metal frame - it may have been a soccer stand without the net.  I pointed at it and got excited - that's where the finish line used to be!  I remembered.

Donella offered to run ahead so that she could take photos of me finishing...see why I love her? ;)

She ran ahead, through the frame, half way down the
Goodbye M&M's!

And then I did it.  I had the oval to myself (and Don), and with a massive grin on my face, I ran towards the finish line :)  I actually did a bit of skipping and hopping on the home run stretch, and threw a few M&M's in the air like I was doing some kind of strange rain dance!  And then I ran through.  

It felt amazing.  And afterwards I was strangely emotional about the whole thing - I didn't expect to feel like that.  This was, by far, one of the best things I've ever done.  It's not like my cross country's ever haunted me, it wasn't a demon that I had to squash or anything, but it was just something that I decided that I wanted to do.  Because of the reason I use often lately:

Because I could.

It's never too late.  Become an actress at 70.  Or go and redo your school cross country.  Whatever it is, you should go and do it xx


My scrunchie!
My old school sports house!

Thanks for the idea Jody! :)


16 again

Don't need you M&M's :)


  1. Wow Kate! You just continue to amaze me. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to conquer things that were once unimaginable!! While you may joke about your crazy challenges, it is these moments that are forcing your brain to catch up to your body and see yourself the way the rest of us see you...incredibly inspiring and capable of ANYTHING you set your mind to....except for bush walking at night with

  2. Well done on persuing something that you weren't able to before - congratulations you should be very proud of yourself.