Monday, June 14, 2010

How Things Work, Reunion Edition

This weekend was both MBA-Ladies Weekend in Wisconsin and TC Birthday Weekend, which made for a wonderful time on the shores of a lake-that-wasn't-quite-Geneva. 

It had been years since I had seen some of these wonderful women - and I was a little nervous. 20 "type-A" women in an effective reunion situation could be a scary experience, filled with uncomfortable oneupmanship dovetailed with reliving of the "good old days," of which I was rarely a part. That couldn't have been further for the truth. So many of us had made lifestyle decisions of one sort or another, which, 7 years after graduation, felt out of line with the personal and professional goals we may have laid out in school. So many of us were hoping to find camaraderie in those choices - and more than anything, I felt this weekend we chose to be supportive and encouraging of our friends to live the lives they deserved.

It got me thinking. Reunions are so often about rehashing gloried pasts and comparing life balance sheets. People fear them if they are too poor, too fat, too married or too divorced. They go in afraid to admit to others - or perhaps to themselves - that life turned out differently from their expectations, even if that life is better tailored to their true desires. Hundreds of people skip these events, or go with trepidation, because of these concerns. I was one of them for the first 5 years of our annual get together.

But this was different. Perhaps it was the tremendous diversity of life experiences, good and bad, that the girls had experienced. Maybe just me - or maybe all of us - got older and realized that time is passing, and we may as well be true to our own hopes and dreams, and stop caring about the "shoulds" of the world. And to quote Priya... we all have accepted each other as people, and sort of learned to enjoy people for who they are, authentically - bumps and all. And, in doing that, we are also accepted for who we are, authentically - bumps and all.

And all of a sudden, it's not about your life balance sheet at all. It's about enjoying each others' company, and supporting each others' choices - because that is what makes all of us the people we are.

I'll be going back to reunion girls weekend. Next time, with much less trepidation.. because I look forward to reconnecting not with the girls I once knew, but with the wonderful women they are now.


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