If I had been asked about 8 years ago if I’d like to be reunited with my old school mates I think my response would have been no. And while I am certain that wouldn’t have been borne out of hate, I just don’t think I was prepared.
I recall vividly how teary I was on the last day of secondary school when my older sister came to pick me up. Notwithstanding my hard-nosed personality, I cried like a baby as I was taken from friends who had been a part of my formative years. But life’s exigencies took its toll and shortly after, many things replaced those tears.
Around mid-October, just when I was thinking of how best to manage the several Whatsapp groups that I have come to find myself in, out of the blue came a new one which was created for my old high school mates! What pure joy it was to see different ladies get on-board this group exchanging pleasantries on how great it was to hear from their old chums again. And then it became a little hard to recognise people by their ‘new names’ so people asked for pictures to aid a quicker recognition.
It was happening so quickly and within a week, over 100 numbers had been added to this group. And I bet that if it were a face to face meeting, our excitement which we tried to express on the forum would have known no bounds -it would have been nothing short of deafening wild screams just the way we did as young girls back in the day.
Reading through the chats felt like we were ‘old love birds’ who after 23 years had found each other again and so could barely keep quiet or get their eyes off each other.
Days passed and sometimes one could wake up to over 2000 messages waiting to be read! Each day or perhaps I should say each hour came with a new ‘goss’ ranging from memories of how we endured some truly innovative punishments at the hands of senior students during the 6 years of boarding school to the mushy meals we were forced to enjoy, all which contributed to the fun we had anyway.
As we continued to savour the delight of this our new family blessed with so many ‘sisters’, barely a week into the group came the suggestion for a reunion. And whilst the other ladies were still trying to figure out a convenient date to meet in their various locations namely America, Canada and Nigeria, a date was in no time fixed for those of us in England. Within a matter of days, preparations for the London reunion heightened and I got quite nostalgic. I became excited and looked forward to the big day and despite the short notice, I did not mind rearranging my schedule to accommodate a day with the girls in Surrey.
The day came and went too quickly and one could tell that we were grossly immersed in the day’s agenda with no look that suggested we were keen to return home that night. Every activity starting from ‘the walk down memory lane’ given by each of the ladies who tried to summarise their lives over the last two decades to the ‘guess the baby’ activity and of course the singing of our school anthem which had most of us mumbling over the lyrics of the second verse, was a highlight and absolutely phenomenal.
On getting home in the early hours of Sunday morning and amidst my many activities of the day, I replayed the meeting over and over again and the following nuggets came to me.
1. Reunions open up a well of gratitude reminding you of how far you have come seeing it through the memories and the lives of your childhood friends. They are truly a great tool for assessing how blessed one’s life is as I have met people who said they did not ever think their life would amount to anything good while at school but here they are today doing pretty well.
2. Reunions can remind you of those budding skills and dreams which were honed by the encouragement and support of your teacher, career councillor and parents. On the contrary, they may well remind you about the damaging remarks or absence of support from the above-mentioned and how you wish you had received the appropriate backing that would have helped to better shape your life.
Peradventure you fall into the latter, what I’d say first is to try not to regret but as it’s somewhat inevitable, don’t bask in them. This saying which I came across recently holds very true: “I regret nothing in my life even if my past was full of hurt. I still look back and smile because it made me who I am today.” So instead of squirming in your regrets, think of at least one positive thing you have done with it and glory in it. A simple example could be that some key people wrote you off as a ne’er-do-well causing you to work twice as hard making you identify and develop your strengths in areas you would never have looked. And today, this has formed your success story.
3. Yours might be that due to circumstances beyond your control, you did not have the opportunity to get a good education after a certain level. And if so, who says life is over for you? I implore you to please erase the word failure from your dictionary and replace it with lesson. You can start all over again or from where you are. In life are so many opportunities for everyone who is willing to grab it; sometimes, what we need is certain people from our past to shake us and make us achieve things we ordinarily wouldn’t do.
4. You could be a ‘need hunter’ when you attend reunions. The saying that all fingers are not equal is true and although a majority of your old classmates may have a seemingly good life, a handful may not. It thus could become your responsibility to see beyond the facial expressions of people and seek for a way to reach out and meet a need. At our reunion, while many openly chatted and spoke about themselves, a few of us were understandably a little shy. And while this may not reflect anything negative in our particular case, for others, it could mean that some people may be going through a tough time and are beside themselves.
5. Reunions are also a great place to meet your vision-helpers. Some people may have a single idea for a business venture or something they want to do but don’t know how to go about it. And at these meetings can be one who has what it takes to give life to your age-long dream or business idea. A good thing about such help is that it comes from a good friend who you can call family. And as family stick out their neck for each other, this friend will have your back; your pain will be her pain and likewise your joy becomes hers.
6. One more thing I believe we can get from reunions is the discovery of our lost and forgotten passion. As children growing up there might have been things you seemed passionate about and may have shared with your classmates. However due to events from over the years, they were forgotten or abandoned but upon meeting your old friends with whom you once shared those things with, you could get reminded of them and the fire in you ignited.
So which ever category you find yourself and whatever be the group you are uniting with, the key message is: don’t shy away from reunions instead get connected, avail yourselves of opportunites, remain positive and stay on top!
Writer – Esosa is the self published author of her first book titled Not my Spine. Although she studied civil engineering, she’s always from a young age, wanted to write books. Having undergone major medical illness years ago and have now come to terms with it, Esosa felt this experience was a good story to kick off her writing dream.
She is a wife and mum of two growing men of valour. She is also a blogger, mentor, campaigner and transformational speaker.
To learn more please visit her website at www.esosaikolo.com
And for speaking engagements and other inquiries please email email@example.com