College Reunions, or Exactly How Full of it Was Thomas Wolfe?

image-top-kenyoncollegeFirst of all, I have to tell you that this will be a superficial, partially self-deprecating blog. After all, what do we all think about when attending our college reunion after ump-teen years? It’s how we’re going to look to all of those people – friends and not-friends – who haven’t seen us since graduation.

Now I don’t know about you, but realistically I probably looked close to my best ever in college and the years immediately following it. It was a time when you didn’t have to exercise to have a good figure… it just happened. Ditto great skin… ditto… well, just about everything.

These days I feel like almost every cliche about getting older there is. Yes, every part of my body has decided to move South for the winter and shows no interest in scooting back up. Yes, those pesky extra five pounds have turned into a pesky extra fifty. Yes, even though I am sooo much better about exercising than I used to be, it’s like running up a down escalator – I just can’t seem to catch up to me at 20+.

Now that’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to this reunion. I am. I really am. Some of my favorite people in the universe will be there. And for a few days – a weekend – I will once again be with a uniquely homogeneous group. These are the people who were there when I made my first tentative steps into adulthood – discovering who I was once I stopped being just someone’s daughter. That’s an amazing thing. In some ways it is the ultimate time machine.

large-pic-2It’s just… it’s just… those first few seconds. When we all see each other as we are now and that image of who we were fades into the past forever. For some people still remember me – if they think of me at all – as that slim, pretty 20-year-old, full of possibilities. But for those I will see next month, they will discover the me of 2015: much older, I’d like to think some wiser, but with some of those possibilities used up, discarded and just plain gone. And that’s OK, generally. Life is ultimately a series of trade-offs and I wouldn’t go back if I could… well… mostly.

old kenyon old photoBut does everyone take attendance before going to one of these things? Hair: still its natural brown, figure… well, let’s move on… career: well, I’m a writer and that’s a good thing. Financial success…um… well, those two last things are generally an oxymoron for most people, excepting Stephen King and a few others.

While most of the old insecurities I had in college are long gone, I’m discovering a raft of new ones as I plan for this trip to the past. But I wouldn’t trade this chance for anything. Because once we get past that shock of discovering that all of us are soooo much older than we used to be, for a couple of days we’re going to get to reconnect and let memories move back to the past where they belong, and make a batch of new memories – good ones I believe.

And I can’t wait.

kenyon postcard


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