|University Reunion: (left hand side of table, from front): Rose, JJ, John, Rob and Midge; |
(right hand side, from front) me, Wayne, Lou, Paul
Last Saturday I traveled back in time.
Paul had organised a reunion for a number of our university mates, at a pub in London.
Most of these people I hadn't seen since we graduated, 17 years ago, or close to that.
But from the moment I bumped into Rose, and her husband, Midge, at Waterloo Station, and introduced them to Rachel, the clock started to wind back.
Then, while bumbling around trying to find the pub, we bumped into Wayne, and before we even got to the pub and met the others, it was like we were back in Bournemouth in the late nineties.
Reminiscences triggered flashbacks, which sparked banter and ribaldry. I don't think I've talked that much and laughed so much, in such a large crowd, for many years. Probably not since university.
It was also nice to see that Rachel and Midge - the 'new recruits' to our old gang - blended in seamlessly.
My initial fears and insecurities were soon put aside (thanks, in part, it has to be said, to necking four bottles of Repulika very quickly... again a throwback to my university days).
Much to my surprise, I came away wishing we could all be back at university, reliving the fun we had. Not that I'd want to do anything different, but I was reminded of what a great time we had and what a great bunch of people these were.
In the years since uni, much as I have done with many periods of my life, I had compartmentalised it into the "been there, done that" category, but this reunion shattered all those emotional padlocks.
Rachel pointed out that I needed to remember this feeling the next time I was on the verge of a panic attack about going outside or meeting people.
And I have to confess, no amount of counselling or therapy has done me as much good as last weekend's reunion did.
No, of course, I haven't suddenly burst out of my cocoon as a fully-formed extrovert, but I think I'm a step closer to regaining whatever degree of confidence I had before my aneurysm.
And for that I have Rachel to thank for encouraging me to attend (and coming with me), Paul for organising the shindig, and all my old university buddies for still being themselves.
|Back In The Day: Didn't we all look young and fresh-faced?|