A detour from “Life in NYC” proper to discuss something prompted by a recent message from a dear friend.
My class is having its five-year reunion at my university’s Homecoming this year. Five years. Not a terribly long span of time. But for people in their twenties, quite a bit can happen in five years. Many of us have gotten married, had children, are planning to get married; many of us want none of those things. Some of us have moved, started new jobs, travelled. All of us have a string attaching us to one another–merely that we graduated from the same institution on the same day. Is it necessary to keep tight hold on that string, or is it time to loosen the knot?
We’re in a weird place, this five-year reunion crowd. Not gone long enough to feel old but gone long enough to have grown up. And in some cases, apart. We can still reminisce with little difficulty, and–in sharing those memories–feel as if we never left. Yet, there’s that awkward silence after those memories are shared when we don’t quite know what to talk about because what’s going on currently in our lives requires too much backstory to cram into that ten-minute chat you’re having. And then you force an equally awkward farewell and slink away to a different mate to repeat the same exercise. You have to condense the last year, two, ten years of your life into ten minute conversations with people. And really, the ones I want to keep in touch with, I have. I don’t need to make small talk with people who have not been part of my life for five years, and whom I don’t need back in my life. That’s not out of malice; it’s just fact.
Then my mind turns to the idea that perhaps Facebook has made class reunions obsolete. I mean, on any given day I can see what my “friends” are doing: from their important life events right down to what they ate last night for dinner. While I’m among the first to bemoan the lack of personal contact this digital age has caused, it sure is a money and a time saver. Do I really need to take a weekend off of work, travel two hours, and pay for a hotel room, just to learn about all the things I see daily on Facebook?
My friends with whom I have kept in personal contact and those that I make an effort to see are clearly the most important ones. And if I want to travel two hours and take a weekend off of work, I know it’s worth it. Because there will be hours of conversation, no awkward silences, and complaining about how everyone is getting married and having babies over bottles of wine. And those are the reunions I’m always down for.