Friday, October 14, 2011

Retirement Pleasures - Reunion Expectations

The town where I grew up was mostly a summer community but my family lived there year round. Summers brought an influx of seasonal friends. We were a close-knit group during our teens, but I began to lose touch once in college. My summer jobs often had me working weekends—prime beach time for most people.

Recently, many of my summer friends reconnected via Facebook. They’ve put together a reunion that is taking place in that lake community this weekend. That means I’ll be away from a computer for two and a half days, so this post is a day earlier than usual.

I’m excited about seeing everyone for the first time in about forty-five years. I also have some trepidation about being the least fit member of my age group. (There will be people at the reunion who are a decade younger and older than we are, too.) I keep reminding myself that this is about catching up on our lives since our beach days, not about winning a beauty contest.

This is a good thing, because Thursday morning Luke’s claws did a number on my face. He lost his balance jumping from the night table to the bed and landed on my head. He regained traction using my upper lip and cheek. Luke has given me superficial scratches in the past, but this was an actual bleeder. I had to get out of bed to put peroxide on the wounds and apply pressure to get the bleeding to stop.

I complimented him on his timing: “You couldn’t have waited until Monday to do this, could you?” Then my “glass half full” perspective kicked in. “It could have been worse; he could have caught my eye with his claw.” And then: “Hmmm. Maybe there’s some fodder for my next blog post in this.” And sure enough, there was.

I decided that a few facial scratches could provide a good conversation starter at the reunion. Then I moved on to asking myself what exactly my expectations were for this get together.

One of the good things about reaching retirement age is that most of us have less curiosity about how people look at this stage of their lives and far more interest in how they spent those lives that has them looking so good (or so terrible.)

I’m a faithful attendee at my college reunions every five years, so I know there will always be female peers who look younger and fitter than I do. I also feel that the women generally look better than the men. I have a theory that the classmates who have not held up very well self-select to avoid these reunions. This is unfortunate, because I’ve developed some great new friendships with people I barely knew back in the day but spent time with at a reunion. If you don’t come, you can’t connect.

The get together with my summer crowd will certainly be filled with old photos and raucous stories recounted with colorful details that may or may not be accurate. But there will also be as much what’s-happened-since-then as we can fit in before we collapse into alcoholic stupors. Everything will be within walking distance, so the vino and the beer will surely flow freely. (Did I mention there’s an open bar?) There will be a jukebox with music of our era, so we’ll be dancing. Note to self: bring comfortable shoes. P.S. to self: bring an extra pair, just in case.

My focus will be on documenting the event, so I’ll have lots of photos to show my husband and current friends. I’ve charged my camera and it’s on my list of things to remember to bring with me. Likewise wine. And the platter of Italian cookies. A group of us women are staying at the family cottage of one of the men. He’s making us lasagna for Friday dinner. (The official event is on Saturday.) Can you say “harem?”

I don’t expect a pajama party full of 60 year olds to be sexy, but I’ll bet it will be memorable. I guess one of my expectations for this reunion is that it will provide inspiration for several blog posts when I get back home. Stay tuned!

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