End of June, I attended a class reunion. We are having such meetings about once in five years, but this time, we did it just two and a half years after the last one.
When I compare this meeting to the first one, years ago, everything appeared a lot more relaxed this time. The first time, many people seemed to be under some pressure to show their success, their degrees, their jobs, their children and their money.
The school I had gone to was in a richer area and during my school days, there was a lot of competition and peer pressure among some of my class mates to show off their expensive clothes from certain brands, their mopeds and so on. I had never taken part in this, so I had been kind of an outsider. Some of my ideas about what I call “as-if-structures” go back to these experiences.
Now, several decades later, people are becoming bald or grey-haired, wrinkles are becoming more, and stomachs are becoming bigger. Many of us have gone through some or another crisis in life. In short, the bloom is off the rose, or, as we say in German “der Lack ist ab”, meaning something like “the paint has been peeling off”.
From under that paint the real people are coming to the surface. The result was a nice, relaxed atmosphere that had not been there in the first reunion. We have spent some part of our lives together and this has created a bond that might be loose but is lasting.
In today’s young generation, I observe the same attitude of competition and showing off that was there during my own school days. Parts of the industry and media are investing great sums to increase this attitude because it is part of a very lucrative business model.
Could this kind of togetherness I experienced during the reunion not have been there already when we were young? How much richer could our school experience have been!
(The picture is showing on of the buildings of my old school. It has been changed since then. The picture is from the graduation booklet that was made when we graduated from school).