Truth is, I went to Princeton this past weekend not to give a lecture to undergraduates at the Woodrow Wilson School, though I did do that on Monday, but to attend my 20th high school reunion.*
Let’s get one thing straight: I have no business being 20 years out of high school. The memories are too clear. 1990 just doesn’t seem like that long ago. Then again, that’s how almost everyone my age (or, likely, older) feels.
It really was fun. I’ve always been a sucker for memory lane. Oddly–or maybe this is normal–my friends and I didn’t spend much time on it. We could have. But we didn’t, or only a little anyway. We mostly talked about our life, our kids, our work, our passions. In that sense, it didn’t matter that we were once closer, decades ago.
In another sense, that we were once closer is all that mattered. I would not have driven five hours to hang out with a few dozen strangers. I would not have cared as much to know them again. I would not have exchanged e-mail addresses and promised to visit and keep in touch. Inexplicably, the bonds are there–or were–and I want them to be. Or, more precisely, I couldn’t break them if I tried.
It’s hard to let go of one’s youth, one’s identity. At present, our past is all we have. My former classmates, or their pasts, are part of mine. I can’t let go, and won’t. Even if I never see them again–though I want to–I won’t forget them. Were I to, I’d forget myself.
If you attended the reunion and I gave you my card–or even if I didn’t–please send me e-mail so I have your address too. I want to stay in touch. Despite what it seems, I’m not really on Facebook or Twitter much, so that’s not the best way to reach me.
*About the lecture: I had a great time doing it. The students didn’t fall asleep. They answered the questions I posed and raised some good points. They didn’t have any questions for me though. I had about five fewer minutes than I would have liked. In part that’s because I spent a lot of time on basic concepts of the effects of cost sharing and the incentives of fee for service payment. The basic concepts are important so I don’t mind having dwelled on them.