Last weekend we went on a bit of a reunion and met up with friends that we’d first met on an outback trip into The Kimberley region of North West Australia and it got me thinking about the benefits of a reunion with like-minded friends.
Our Kimberley trip had consisted of a 12 day adventure by bus, camping and ‘glamping’ along the Gibb River Road between Broome and Kununurra.
15 of us ‘adventure inmates’ became reasonably close as friends, and pretty familiar in that short time, living closely together, walking together, laughing together, mucking in with the chores, and telling lots of tales around the camp fire at night.
And when 10 of us finally met up again, most of us hadn’t seen each other for almost two years.
The benefits of a reunion
I was worried that we’d have nothing to talk about. That we’d all have moved on and this reunion would be just a nod to the fun we had once had on a past trip.
But it wasn’t like that at all. Despite the fact that our time frame of shared history was only small, we had tons to talk about with lots of funny stories to regale. More than that we found we had unwittingly built up a trust in each other that allowed us to move on, discover new things about each other, and then chat about our dreams and schemes for the future too.
We had become friends with a bond, and a shared experience worth keeping alive.
I’ve never lived in one country long enough to go to a high school reunion, and as I went to 9 different schools how would I have ever chosen which get together to attend?
Which is why I’m always interested when people say that they are going to meet up with people they knew a long time ago and have wondered what the benefits of a reunion actually are.
Now I’m beginning to understand the mysteries of the reunion attraction.
The most obvious reason is of course to reconnect with old friends.
Remembering and Reminiscing
Social media makes it easy for us to connect with old friends in bite sized chunks on the internet, but it’s not really like having a good old natter is it? And actually reconnecting with old friends in real life can become time consuming, especially if you live a long way from each other.
A reunion ensures that you meet up with a bunch of old friends who all share a point in time, or a few years of the same life history, and you’ll be surprised how comforting it is sometimes to laugh and chat about the ‘good old days’.
It helps give you a sense of place in the world, and reconnects you with your own history.
To be exposed to a different outlook
You will most likely find that your friends have all moved on in some respect, and perhaps they have different careers or hobbies to those for they were once destined.
A reunion gives you the chance to open up to alternative ideas, and different ways of doing and seeing things. If you’re curious (and a little bit nosey) like me, you’ll enjoy finding out about what people are up to now.
To introduce your spouse or partner to your old friends
Many reunion involve people that your spouse may never have met. Far from feeling threatened they should welcome it as a chance to mingle with people who were part of your history, people who perhaps had an impact on the way you turned out. Overall it’s just a chance to become closer as you find out more about each other.
To find out about new ways of doing business
Many of your friends may well be successful business people, or they may have quit jobs to become entrepreneurs, or perhaps they have retired and taken up working from home for some residual income. A reunion spreads a host of new money-making, or business ideas at your feet which perhaps you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
To Come to Terms With Aging
I know we should celebrate getting older because many people are denied the chance, but it’s also not easy to accept the general decline of physical abilities and attributes.
“Seeing new fine lines and more gray hair isn’t easy to deal with for most people. When you arrive at your reunion and realize that everyone is getting older, it can make the experience feel less isolating and help you come to terms with the fact that aging is an inevitable part of life.” Kenny (Ken) Myers
It offers a chance to learn
It’s all to easy to get stuck in a rut as we get older. Sometimes life and work and family commitments are all encompassing and perhaps the friends you mix with on a day to day basis are mostly in the same boat.
At a reunion you’ll find that some people will have spiraled away from the norm and walked out of the matrix – they may have embarked on training courses to enable them to do something useful for a career in our third age, or they might be engaged in keep fit courses or lifestyle workshops – things that might interest you and spark a desire in you to get out there and learn something new.
A reunion let’s you reflect on your own life choices
” It gives you new perspectives on the choices you’ve made …You’ll have a conversation, or listen to what others have done since you left, and realize just how proud you should be of the path you’ve chosen. Maybe you’ve put on a pound or two, or you notice some lines in your face that weren’t there the last time you saw these people. Everybody else probably has, as well.” Bill Murphy Jr for Inc.
Pick somewhere interesting for a reunion
I think the venue is important. Why not pick a place with some heritage from the era in which you all grew up?
For our reunion we stayed at Donnelly River Mill near Nannup in South West Australia. It’s a holiday park that consists of 35 small wooden cottages built in the 1950’s as the township for the, now defunct, Timber Mill situated just below the village store.
Staying there for a weekend was like stepping back in time. We slept in vintage cottages with outside toilets and woodsheds. Log fires that needed laying, and no cellphone reception were key reminders that life didn’t used to be filled with gadgets and easy living.
In fact going back to a more simple way of life was just bliss. So too was the chance to be close to Australia’s wildlife; tame kangaroos, parrots that join you on the verandah for breakfast, emus and orphaned lambs strolling around as well.
Donnelly River Mill is a place where you can get away from it all and it’s also great for family holidays (such freedom for the kids) as well as weddings with a difference. You can read my review here: Get Away from it all at Donnelly River Mill and read more about The History of Donnelly River Mill here.
Have you ever been to a reunion?
What was the most interesting or the funniest take-away memory that you have of old friends getting together to reminisce?