I have attended three reunions in the past 6 weeks. Please tell me I am not alone when I say there is always some pre-reunion anxiety, right? Who will come? What has changed since we were last together? Have we changed? Did we lose our closeness? Will we get along?
Two of the reunions were family which always brings drama. Should we avoid talking politics, religion, child raising, healthcare, the economy? Dare we revive old conflicts …. the possibilities are endless…and worrisome! But then again…what else is there to talk about? How do we relate if we walk on egg shells?
Some friends and coworkers I know avoid reunions at all costs. They just are not up for it. Whether imagined or real, they do not want to be judged. Nor do they want to answer the inevitable questions… not married? Don’t you want kids…you’re not getting any younger you know. Do you have a job? No grandkids? Why not? Have you gained weight? And it goes on and on.
Of course, there is an up side…memories of our younger days with grandparents, aunts, uncles, remembering stories of times past that make us laugh…and cry, holding on to the shared history that bonds us. Life changes us all and leads us down different paths but our roots ground us, unite us.
Henry Ford Hospital-School of Nursing - 40th year reunion
The third reunion was my 40 year nursing school class and it brought me the most anxiety. Except for a few, I hadn’t seen my classmates in 40 years! Would they even remember me? What would we talk about? Could I measure up to their success? Walking down the hall, I prepared myself for a quiet evening talking to only a few people.
Man…was I wrong! Like my family reunions, our shared past brought us together. We laughed (a lot!), we cried, but best of all our bonds were strengthened and rejuvenated. Our varied careers, though interesting, were minor details. The forty-year distance melted away and once again, we were human beings just trying to do our part in changing the world…at least for our patients. Especially in this age of such turmoil in the world, it does the heart good to be in a room filled with love…and pure joy at seeing old friends and comrades. The reunion reminded us that no matter where we go, those two intense years we spent together bonded us for life. Wherever we go, whatever we do, I have brothers and sisters out there and yes, corny as it sounds, it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.
So my vote on reunions, family or other…a big fat YES! It’s one more way to . . .
kiss life in the face!