I spent my weekend back in Ithaca, New York for my five-year college reunion from Cornell. Nine years ago, I left Brooklyn for a small, hippie college town in the mountains of upstate New York. Looking back and being back in Ithaca, I couldn’t believe I lived in such a beautiful place. That being a very different type of beauty than the urban allure of Brooklyn and the rest of New York City.
To commemorate the anniversary, I am sharing my five lessons from my five-year reunion:
1. Trust yourself. Reunions are data sources that, more often than not, prove your judgment. Here’s what I mean: At reunion, you’ll see your college ex, crush or hook-up and think, I made the right decision not letting that go anywhere or I’m so glad that didn’t go anywhere. And yet it was such a hard decision five years ago. One that was vetted with all your friends. Even those from home who were at their own colleges (these friends provided the “fresh, unbiased perspective.”) You sat on it for days, weeks, months. Now, five years later, it’s so easy to see how right or clear that decision was. Know yourself, and then trust your gut. Sometimes you don’t have to wait five years to feel how right your decision was.
2. Some things you want to change, will never change. And some things you want to stay the same, will change. Accept it and move on. Similarly, some friends are for life. Others will only help you grow in a part of your life. Sometimes this feels like a loss, but it isn’t. In the end, you’ll have gained what you needed from that friend and your lives will be that much richer for it.
3. Gaining Perspective. Sometimes bringing yourself back to a time when your current problems, drama or bullshit didn’t exist will remind you that there was a life before this. More importantly, it’ll remind you that there will be a life after this.
4. Five years can feel like an eon ago. A few months ago, I watched Happythankyoumoreplease on Netflix Instant. The plot isn’t important here, but at some point the main character explains that every five years, like clock work, he realizes how much of an asshole he was five years ago. Asshole isn’t the adjective I’d use for myself, but the sentiment is one I could relate to. In the grand scheme of things, five years isn’t a long time. In reality, it’s the person you were five years ago that feels so far away. The feeling of distance from that time, whether it be five, ten or whatever number of years is measured by how different you feel about yourself, how far you’ve come from that person you were. To me, five years feels like an eon ago.
5. Now is never too late. The thing I heard the most about reunion was that it was an opportunity to relive your college days. Trust me, I’m a big fan of taking that walk down memory lane. But what can be particularly amazing about that walk is recognizing why you loved those memories so much and not only reliving them during a weekend reunion but adopting them into your current life. Because, why not? And more importantly, why not now?