In June I returned to the Berkshires. Aside from the warm smiles of classmates, the happy embraces, the stories of triumph and loss, the late night dancing and the reveal of inner desires met or unmet, I was moved by several insights. Here are a few from the Reunion weekend romp.
1. We were driven when we first arrived on campus decades ago. We’ve been making things happen ever since.
2. Many classmates are reaching a new stage, eager to make different things happen. Their uncertainty lies in not knowing either the what or the how. There’s a touch of reluctance to give in to the loss that comes with change. That includes abandoning well-honed muscles that successful careers have cultivated. “Do I need new to develop new skills? Get more education? Consider new ways of getting things done? Update my vision of the lifestyle I want?”
3. Much to my surprise, mannerisms remain largely unchanged. A person’s cadence when speaking. How their eyes focus or shift when talking or listening. Even the ideas at the forefront of their awareness and, therefore, the things they’re drawn to chat about. The essence of the 18-year old is still very alive. Then, also to my surprise, there were a handful of exceptions.
4. I was touched by the capacity of most to devote genuine attention to the people with whom they were speaking, even over the blare of dance tunes. People with presence – centered, curious, humble – enter into conversation as a creative adventure. It can lead anywhere. The joy is in the discovery, including the possibility of a felt connection even if only for a few minutes. This is in contrast to a few others who didn’t seem to relax until they were alongside someone they know well and for whom they already had a fondness.
5. Already I look forward to the next reunion.