It starts Friday, checking into the dorm and making our way to the clam bake.
There will no doubt be drinking and dancing. Laughing and teasing. Some bragging and the requisite bullshit until everyone calms down and realizes that no one cares about titles, beach houses, exotic travels, wonderful children, and, for some, darling grandchildren.
Then the fun can begin.
The reaching back to remember our naked-hearted 20-year-old selves, where we dreamed of where the world might take us and then worried what time we had to get to Scorpios before the bar stopped letting people in. When our hearts burst open from our first sexual crushes and then contemplated how we might make a difference in the world.
When we’d stay up all night talking with friends, crying over Joni Mitchell, pondering the keys of life with Stevie, freeing our wild sides with Barry White. No one had to tell us about the importance of authenticity, transparency, listening, passion, learning, creativity. They ran through our veins and filled us with wonder and wildness. (Wild cats, indeed.)
University of New Hampshire was a safe place to own our intelligence, free ourselves from adolescent and parental restrictions, experiment with our longings, and find friends whom we would end up loving forever.
UNH seeded our lives with possibilities.
Forty years later many yearn for that feeling. If you’re lucky, deaths, divorces, illness, financial setbacks, emotional punches and physical betrayals have nibbled away at optimism. For many others the ravenous vampire of life has sucked it away. Yes, we’re wiser and some days wearier.
I’m sure there will be talk this weekend about donating for a class gift, which we will all try to do.
But a more significant class gift may be to wander the lush, gorgeous campus together and reconnect to what is still possible in our lives.
To tap into the magical and powerful optimism that we had in 1977, pull it out, and marvel that we are ready for more.