By the time you hit 20 years, people feel like family – it doesn’t matter you never stayed in touch: you have a shared history, you know them before they took on a professional identity, you have stories… this is one of those events, like a big family wedding, is utterly random in how it pans out but has more potential – on orders of magnitude – than any other sort of social occasion to refresh your whole outlook on things.
It’s not like, say, the ten-year reunion, where people are fresh into their marriages, careers, etc. and are focused on making a decent showing on their “life so far” vs others. At the 20-year mark, totally different. People have been through divorces, umpteen job variations, most are less interested in “look what I’ve become”, more into the chance to break from the usual responsibilities and reacquaint with an ultimate, uncomparable set of peers. I’ve heard this over and over.
Anchorage awaits. People just want to hang out in glorious, unpretentious Anchorage, with you. No one else will do.
One other thing – I don’t know about the rest of you, but in my experience so far I’ve noticed that Alaska people are better at being friends than the average Joe. They know how to develop relationships around trips to Carrs for toilet paper, beers on the shag carpet watching TV, mind-numbingly uneventful, punch-drunk trips to cabins… it’s just better. I just today had a totally fluffy interaction with one of my kids friends’ moms who I know well enough and I actually had the thought, “Alaska people aren’t like this”. It’s true. I live on an island with one single other Anchorage couple, and guess who I spend most of my time with? No contest. One more thing. We had a great class – lots of acceptance is how I remembered it (I know this varies wildly for all of us, but I came from an school in a sheltered community with social structures you could break your teeth on, and West came off as the antithesis of that).
This will be a great event. That’s it in a nutshell. Be there!
Formerly Tina Birkeland