The 40 Year Reflection

I did something unusual this weekend.  I went to a social event, my 40 year high school reunion, and I stayed for 5 hours.

My rep is that I like to be one of the first out the door, as in leaving the event.  No so for this weekend’s reunion.

The next question you might have is why the change?  One potential answer is that I was not worried about recharging the energy levels for the week ahead.  I have an easy week.  No travel.  No speeches (that I am aware of).  No dress shirts or ties.

Another more important reason is that I had many meaningful conversations.  The time flew by.  I actually forgot to eat (maybe this is the trick to avoid snacking – have more meaningful conversations).    I only attended my 5 year and 20 year and I probably left within 2 hours at each and I don’t recall any meaningful conversations at either.  So why the difference?

My hypothesis is that at a 40 year reunion no one is trying to impress anymore.  Most have experienced joys, sorrows, loss and other significant life events and as a result “what do you do for work?” is seldom asked.  At 40 years out, examples of some of the conversation starters were:  “how are your parents?” , “do your kids live nearby and how much contact do you have with them?”, and “how are you doing after the loss of your spouse to cancer?”.

Not everything was that serious.  There was several minutes of discussion on how many students we had in our graduating class.  The numbers ranged from 45 to 58.  I was quite certain and confident in my view that it was 52, near the midpoint of the range.  There was also a lively discussion of what the school was thinking to “make us” act in a play called “Dumbbell People in a Barbell World”.  Let me clarify the phrase “make us.”  In a small school, it was all hands on deck for any drama productions. Nearly everyone was drafted and I don’t recall any serious auditions.  We also reflected on how none of us ever met with the guidance counselor. This then led to the question “what is the role of the guidance counselor?” and were we somehow harmed by not having this “guidance.”

My drive home was filled with reflections on the last 40 years, choices made, experiences of life and a sense of contentment and gratitude that I have been incredibly blessed.


A Boomer In Transition