An excerpt from “Airplane Letters” — letters to our young sons down the road.
Dear Henry and Owen,
Attend your reunions, at least the “big” ones. Here’s why:
1.) You will reunite with old friends; people you knew well a long time ago who are at once exactly as they were and also changed in interesting ways;
2.) Life doesn’t always afford you the luxury of second chances but reunions are pretty much engineered for them. You will enjoy time with people you hadn’t known well in school and will feel grateful for the chance to connect;
3.) At a certain reunion mark you will give yourself permission to max out your phone’s font size because you realize everyone else has. My texts make more sense now. God knows what autocorrect has been up to these last few years;
4.) At last weekend’s Business School reunion, I really did experience tear-producing laughter 30% of the time – now that is what I call a great ROI;
5.) Like birth order in families, so too at reunions you will forever be the character you played while you were at school. Good friends allow you to Meryl Streep the range and show your fuller, more complicated self;
6.) People get better with age. They are less self-absorbed, have earned their humility and are confident enough to share some of the absurdities of their lives. Remember, vulnerability and capacity to inspire are positively correlated so yo, keep it real;
7.) Focus on your class but don’t miss the dinner with the goofy alumni awards – endless snark material for sure but they provide useful context to the event and the advancement people bust their ass to herd you cats together. Oh, and be a net-giver, forget the excuses and just make the annual fund gift;
8) Be generous of spirit and inclusive to all your friends’ spouses and significant others because that can be a heavy lift. Anyone who can pull this off with a genuine smile and have fun is someone worth knowing;
9.) Learn something, teach something, walk around campus, pack ibuprofen. Bring home tee shirts, new ideas and an open-er mind.
Author’s note: Thanks to my classmates for inspiring me to post. Love me some kenanflaglers! #funsters #olderandwiser #drinkingjourney #namaste