Love them or hate them, school reunions often compel us to return to the scene of our youth.
For most of us, reunions provide an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to reminisce about the “good old days.” They remind us of where we started and how far we’ve come.
For others, reunions offer second chances: to show that the ugly duckling became a swan; the wallflower gained social skills and became rich, powerful and popular; and the directionless burn-out emerged from the purple haze, got a grip and found success.
For those for whom Father Time has not been so kind, reunions provoke anxiety: the fear of revealing to old pals that they’ve gained too much weight, lost too much hair, failed at relationships or ended up, to quote Chris Farley (RIP), “living in a van down by the river.”
And, after months of anticipation, many find that when the actual event arrives, it’s fun to catch up with schoolmates from long ago, but difficult to know where to take re-invigorated friendships from there. Will you check in again within the next decade, visit each other’s homes or take vacations together? Or, is it more likely that you’ll add each other to Facebook Friends rosters, check out some family photos, “like” a few comments and eventually lose interest?
Probably because I attended a huge, Big Ten university and an out-of-my league graduate school, I prefer “boutique reunions” with a select group of people that I really want to spend time with. The reunion organizers cast a wide net that includes several people I’ve lost touch with, so the events offer wonderful opportunities to re-establish relationships.
As such, last weekend, I was excited to leave the kids behind and attend an unofficial sorority reunion 2,000 miles away, where 14 of my “pledge sisters” and 20 older “sisters” gathered for a weekend.
Late at night in the “old watering hole,” my “sisters” helped me create a list of “Permission Slips for a College Reunion.” Click here to see the list posted on the PermissionSlips blog my friend and colleague and I take turns updating.