Defining Success

I recently had the opportunity to visit my Alma Mater, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, for the first time in over twenty five years. The experience was eye-opening for me in that it provided me with the prospective of how much the world has changed since I was a college student. During my Oberlin days, there were no cell phones, no computers, no text messages, no internet and no email. The only form of communication we had beside the dorm room telephone (which no one ever answered because no one was ever in their dorm room except to sleep!) was to write notes and send them to one another via campus mail. (I still fondly remember my mail box – Po Box 216 – since I visited it every day for four and a half years). The evolution of downtown Oberlin with its line-up of chic restaurants and the gradual metamorphosis of the college campus, reflects the changes that we have undergone as a society in the last quarter of a century.

However, the most valuable gift that I received while I was attending my class reunion was gaining a completely fresh and new definition of the word success. This was especially important for me to do after the recent let down of not winning the New York City Ballet Orchestra audition. As a musician and educator struggling with the current economy, I had been so wrapped around success being synonymous with how much money one makes that I had been completely closed to the possibility of other ways of defining success. After many discussions with fellow classmates during the reunion, I realized three important ways in which I am successful-none of which had anything to do with finances. First, during the last three decades, no matter the circumstance, I never let go of my dreams and the ability to manifest them in spite of all obstacles. Secondly, during and after my tenure at Oberlin, I have always stayed true to my core values. Last but definitely not least, I had taken the time while I was an Oberlin student to form lasting friendships that have endured through the the years. My college roommate Katie is a perfect example of this. She and her family have been there for every important step of my life during the last three decades including my wedding to Steve Jacobs, my separation/ move from California, move to my present house in Upstate New York, the launching my SAFE through the Arts program, and the Bar Mitzvah of my son, Julian. I feel so blessed to have such devoted friends in my life and grateful that I have made the effort to form such lasting bonds.

I hope that each of you are able to redefine the word Success in your lives and appreciate your true worth. May you always stay true to your dreams and the essence of who you are.


With love and best wishes for your your successful journey,


Margaret xo