This past weekend, and last minute, I went to my 25th College Reunion. It seems really hard to believe it’s been that long, despite the fact I have a son who is currently looking at colleges himself.
In contrast to attending a high school reunion a few years ago, this one was just a lot of fun. I saw my old roommate who I hadn’t seen in close to 25 years, caught up on mutual friends, saw people I really liked during school and lost touch with, and it was generally just terrific, not awkward or weird at all. Even my kids, who were reluctant to get dragged to this thing, had a great time. (Penn does a fantastic job planning these things, and I am really impressed- it speaks well for a school that has one of the best business programs in the Country that the marketing, branding, and everything else was truly impressive from top to bottom. Entertainment, planning for families- everything was great.)
At this point, all of us are in our 40’s. In contrast to earlier points in time, most everyone is pretty happy where they sit in life. We know who we are. We’ve been through life’s speed bumps, and come out the other end, smarter and better for it. The women were self-assured and happy with themselves- no need to put on a show. We could tell stories of what we remembered, and most everything was pleasant and funny now- perspective is a wonderful thing. Many of us have kids who are in their teen years, looking at colleges as well, and it was a great moment to look back and realize how their whole experience is so much different than ours was.
This reunion for me was just about as perfect as it could be. It was full of all the things you’d like it to be, and none of the awkward gauging of where you are in comparison to the lives of others, and feeling weither smug or resentful as a result. People have gone off and done marvelous things, and we can all be really happy for each other.
One of the things we spoke about it whether our kids will ever have this same sort of experience, with the web and Facebook a daily part of their lives. Will they ever lose touch with anyone? Will they ever not know what happened to a friend? Will they ever be able to outrun or lose the people they don’t want to be in touch with anymore as well?
This cohort of Gen X’ers are a sandwich generation. We’re young enough to (mostly) move with the tech tide. We still have a sense of old fashioned values about things like manners, hierarchy, deference, and public versus private lives. I’m just so glad to be back in touch with so many people I really have missed over the years- it was a better experience than I ever imagined, and one I won’t soon forget.