I’m going to be controversial here: I don’t like reunions. Normally, I don’t do reunions, either. It’s probably me, but here’s why.
I’ve been invited to, or been aware of, a number of reunions in the last couple of years. One didn’t even take place, not that I’d have gone anyway. The other three I wasn’t even remotely interested in.
The first was a reunion for people who worked in the DWP office in Bedminster where I worked for 25 years until 1999. There was a lively and active Facebook group in which people exchanged their memories. A reunion was arranged and at first there was a reasonable level of enthusiasm. As the day got nearer, people realised that they had other things to do on the day, all of which were more important to them than a reunion of staff members where they once worked. In the end, only one person remained as even the organisers made their excuses and couldn’t/wouldn’t go. Since then, the Facebook group has all but died. And why? I can’t know for sure, but maybe all those happy years with such great memories were not so happy after all.
People might have realised that work colleagues were not relatives or friends. They may have got on well enough in work but people move on and do other stuff. They move on and they lose contact with former colleagues and when push comes to shove, they’re not THAT bothered about renewing acquaintances. Facebook was enough to keep the memories alive. A reunion was a step too far.
Then came two school reunions, involving people I had not seen for 45 years or more. The outcome to the reunions was very different in that both were well attended and evidently successful. Looking at the Facebook groups, few or any of my actual close friends went along. I suppose there would have been novelty value in saying hello to someone I sat next to in Biology or lusted after as she participated in the girls’ long jump on school sports day. (Hi Carol.) Overall, I saw no value in attending. It kept going through my mind that if I had liked my fellow pupils so much, then why hadn’t I bothered to keep in contact with them through four and a half decades?
The latest work reunion I didn’t attend was nothing personal. I worked with some great people in my last DWP job. Since I left in 2014, I have kept in close contact with precisely none of them. Moreover, none of them have kept in contact with me. I had no anger or bitterness towards any of them. On the contrary, I liked most of them. I just saw it as somewhere I was yesterday and I couldn’t see the point of going back there today. On top of all that, I had nothing to say that I hadn’t said many years ago.
I don’t look upon my schooldays with any great fondness and I see my professional years as representing anything other than a massive waste of time and a missed opportunity.
Time loves a hero, that’s for sure, and that bumbling vindictive toad of a teacher or manager did not gradually morph into someone much nicer as I grew older. That’s probably me carrying around some bitterness towards some people and I don’t regret that. Until recently, I’ve been far too nice to people who treated me like shit. I haven’t started treating them badly now. I just don’t try to think of them at all.
The past has passed and as I get older I don’t want to spend my all time looking at the past through rose coloured glasses. That was then, this is now. No amount of reunions will change that.