Thursday, June 21


College reunions. Are they worth it? There seems to be so much hype, so much pressure to reconnect with these people that you spent so much time with, people who were there for a fundamental time in your life and who you supposedly bonded with. But 10, 15 years later, it seems so empty.

O.K., maybe I'm a bad example because I didn't have any of those quintessential college friendships. I didn't have a group of friends who knew my innermost secrets. I spent most of college trying to find a niche for myself and learning who I was and immersing myself in theater design. And that worked pretty well for me. Not that I was lonely, but I never felt that I had made any lifelong friends.
Of course, one's preceptions rarely are the truth. Here I am, 10 years later, and I'm still in touch with some people I went to college with. Some of them live in New York, and we see each other occasionally. Some of them live elsewhere, and we email. I like these connections. I really like seeing what happens to people, how they grow and change and find different paths for themselves.

I enthusiastically signed up for my college reunion. I'm not sure what I expected. I was really excited about the parade of alumnae and how we'd all wear white dresses and cheer for each other. The campus lit by lanterns was also high on the list. I knew that one of my friends would be there with her husband, so we'd be able to hang out, if nothing else.

It rained, so the parade and the lanterns were cancelled. I did get to hang out with my friend, and a saw a few people I'd lost touch with, and that was fun. But I somehow hadn't counted on seeing so many people who looked familiar, and then having to make small talk with them. I felt like I was on auto-pilot, introducing Christopher, explaining that I was now a set designer and that we lived in Brooklyn. And then there were a few people who I saw across the room but never connected with. It felt so fake and boring and too quick at the same time. The joys of that weekend were when no one cared about those life details and we could get drunk over a geology lesson with an old friend or when I got to hear about my Italian professor's retirement plans.
My point is, now that we've also been to Christopher's reunion, that this seems to be par for the course. Our reunions were very different - clearly a women's college knows that their alums are impressed by lobster dinners and traditions - but in the end we had very similar experiences. Unlike me, he had a group of friends that he has kept in touch with, but there was still some disconnect. And maybe that was because we all grow in different directions after college. Or maybe we're at different stages in our lives (we seemed to be the only childless folks at his reunion). Or maybe it's really hard to relate where we are now to who we were at 22. I mean, who was I 10 years ago? I feel like I've grown so much since then. I'm not sure what 2007 me would say to the 1997 me. But then, that's all probably part of growing older. Will my life 10 years from now be as drastically different? Probably, just in different ways.

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