Monday, May 28, 2012

Nineteen Again

I've just returned from my twentieth college reunion weekend, and I have to say it was just what the doctor ordered. Not only did I successfully challenge myself physically(walking around campus much more than I expected to and never taking the wheelchair out of the trunk), but I reconnected with some of the best people I've ever known. Even though many of us were somewhat randomly thrown together 24 years ago,  it's wonderful to see how those relatively brief connections allow us to pick up right where we left off. I expected to easily win any contest of hairline comparisons (since I've got cool scars to show off), but much as I felt like the oldest 42 year old in the bunch, everyone still looks and acts like the kids we were.

I hadn't been to a reunion since my fifth, and the overarching theme has been to experience many of the typical college tropes I didn't actually experience in college. I guess I still haven't been to a frat party (no great loss as far as I'm concerned), but I did have plenty of heartfelt conversations with the help of a cocktail or two. At the fifth reunion, I bore witness (unfortunately) to someone essentially hazing himself by proving the theory that you can't drink a gallon of milk in an hour. This year, I was comically forced to streak down a dorm hallway after discovering that wrapping a post-shower towel around one's waist with one hand (especially with a towel not quite bath sized) is no easy task. Slow as I am, I did manage to do it without being spotted or having someone call campus security on me.

I know I've written at length about my desires to reclaim independence and at least a sense of  ease and carefree youth, but I can't say enough about the friends I made during my college years, the ways they've continued to support me since graduation, and the way they enriched my life this weekend simply by slowing their pace a bit, carting my food and drinks, appreciating the fact that I still exist, and encouraging me to push beyond the boundaries of my limitations. After my fifth reunion, I was compelled to take a cross-country train trip to extend the festivities. This time around, it's probably going to be more like virtual visits through Facebook and texting. But that can be real, too. Even virtual connections between random collections of people are plenty real when they're the right people.

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