College reunions don't have to be those formal kinds, on campus. You know the type: The head of institutional development does a PowerPoint of the 5-year plan and then there is a passing of the hat to collect our pledges of money.
There are also the informal ones. They don't empty our pockets. Instead they can wipe us clean of the confidence, self-esteem and feelings of being safe that we struggled to acquire since graduation. Beware the call of nostalgia to return to the good old days when classmates had all the time in the world to listen to our problems and seem genuinely happy for our successes.
Several years ago, I heard that call. And followed it, first through email. Then, of course, to Facebook, the favorite hang-out for Baby Boomers. But which youth is exiting.
No surprise, on Facebook, I perceived myself as becoming the target for the concerned but un-asked-for advice from the Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Class of 1967 classmates. They were Kathy Huebner, Irene Nunn, Lee Harrison, and Charlotte Toal.
I should have seen it coming. After all, in college I was many sandwiches short for the picnic. Although I have managed to get a better handle on life, I will remain a few sandwiches short. That tends to go along with being a creative. Since the mid 1970s, I have made a very good living conjuring up memes for thought leaders and the Fortune 500.
Let's cut to the chase. Soon enough, I was back in 1963: Convinced I was less than. They hammered me to get a GPS. Yet, for more than 60 years I have navigated the world without it. That includes living and working in Barcelona, Spain and making my way through the oil patch for energy companies. Duh.
The tipping point came when Huebner (the motivation for that still puzzles me) put on Facebook a list of sunglasses I could purchase for relative peanuts. She knew that I had recently driven from the East Coast to the Southwest. The relocation was part of how I was going to rebrand my business (BTW, that worked). The rescue dog, who already had issues, acquired new ones. I had to find a new vet, medical doctor, dentist, hair-stylist, Internet provider and significant other. Sunglasses? Certainly not a priority.
I pulled down the Facebook page. And more.
So, why should you considering using your mobile app for Uber and getting out of the force field if anyone suggests an informal reunion with college buddies? Here are the 4 major reasons:
You change. They change. The world changes. Catch-up is impossible. Attempts to do so will, at best, be annoying and, at worst, unhinge you. I experienced the latter. Like I said, I am still a few sandwiches short ...
Trust is ill-placed. Given that you really don't know them, why the hell should you trust them? However, the default may remain from the good old days of all-night talk sessions on the dorm. I was way too open.
They might not be doing so hot themselves. Since you don't know that, you are clueless to why they have taken such an interest in your well-being. No good is likely to come of that.
You can't course-correct the past. That never works. I was determined to showcase that I wasn't the emotionally retard I had been in college. The harder I tried, likely the more I seemed lacking in Emotional Intelligence points.
It had been 14 months ago that I pulled the plug on what will stand for years as one of the dumbest things I have attempted in my life. Of course, as a writer, I am sensitive. So, I still have flashbacks. But, the experience has been a game-changer. That's because I had no choice but to accept myself - all the versions from the past and present. Well, that's the happy ending to that story.
You have been warned: Beware the possible scary scenarios about deciding to reunite with your college classmates. If you go for it, don't trauma loop, send your account to this blog. With a photo, JPG and a blurb about yourself. There could be other sides to this story.