by Risa Green
If you happened to read my post last week, you may recall that I attended my fifteen year college reunion over the weekend. I don’t know if every college does it this way – I’m assuming they do – but at mine, all of the reunions are the same weekend, which is also the same weekend as graduation. On the airplane on the way there, I sat behind a woman who was going back for her ten year, and across the aisle from me was a woman who was going for her daughter’s graduation. At our hotel, there were people from the class of ’84, the class of ‘04, and even the class of ’59. Which is pretty cool, when you think about it. All of those people at different stages of their lives, all connected through a common experience at a university. But when you break people’s lives down into five and ten year increments, the contrasts – and the similarities – are pretty striking. For example, a guy I met who was there for his five year said that he was going to weddings every weekend. The woman on the plane going to her ten year didn’t have kids yet, but said that a lot of her friends are getting pregnant, or starting to talk about getting pregnant. Just about everyone who was there from my year still had kids in strollers, or just out of preschool, and the people who are ten years older than us were there with their teenagers, hanging out anxiously around the admissions office. It was like taking a glimpse into your past and your future, all at the same time.
On Saturday afternoon, there was something called the Parade of Classes, where each reunion class lined up with their class banner and walked down the middle of campus, from the oldest to the youngest. I looked behind me at the five and ten year reunion groups, and I looked ahead of me at the twenty and twenty-five year reunion groups, and I was reminded of something I wrote in last week’s post, where I said something like, as much as it’s fun to look back, sometimes it’s more exciting to look forward. And I thought to myself, wow, am I full of shit. Because when I looked back, I saw young, fresh faces full of hope and excitement. But when I looked forward, all I saw were people who look like my parents.