ROAR LIONS ROAR
Although I feel younger right this minute than I did when I was 21, drinking beer alone in the Lions' Den in my dorm, I have to concede the point that a 50 year college reunion is a major milestone of some sort or another.
I imagine that others may have had similar feelings - but I can only really know my own - about attending my 50th reunion in a couple of months. My feelings are decidedly mixed.
The formal part of my education was superlative. I was lucky to be a student at the zenith of quality student/professor relationships - the way it should be but I am afraid is no longer. The professors were all lights in their fields and freely mixed with the students before and after class.
I was intoxicated with immersing myself in the avalanche of ideas that Columbia purposefully forced on me and my fellow students. I'm glad that my confusion about who I was left me no choice but to major in Philosophy. I have been stamped forever with the subject matter, perspectives, critical thinking, breadth and depth attitudes which have vitally impacted me personally and which I continually use in my day to day practice.
This was the formal part of my education. But I experienced it in a haze - probably dissociated for the four years I attended. Perhaps many college students are dissociated but for me it made for a kind of kaleidoscopic experience of episodic moments instead of a seamless story line.
I never quite felt whole and integrated... instead I felt fragmented and detached.
I participated in activities, did what most college students do, went out, learned how to get bombed, discovered the Thalia - a little hole in the wall movie theatre that ran a seemingly never ending movie festival showing two different foreign classic films each day which became my spiritual oasis, years ahead of the now popular immersion in films - normal for many college students today.
In philosophy class I sat next to a tall, extraordinarily handsome Byronesque student who was both a role model and an envied competitor. He became an esteemed Professor of Philosophy at Harvard, wrote highly acclaimed books on Ethics, and died suddenly in his forties from I think a rare disease.
To recall other events, other people, sights and sounds, is not my point. I am trying to accurately describe an odd feeling about returning to a place that had so much meaning and importance for me but doing so through a cloud. The good thing is that I am crystal clear that I was dissociated then and glad that I am not now.
But it is odd that I have more of a sense of connection for my High School graduating class than I do for my graduating class at Columbia. I know why it is so, but it is uncomfortable for me to accept the painful fact that was the way it was.
I would have liked to have felt more connected but I didn't.
I think it is important for me to return for my 50th reunion - but I am also aware that the concept and the experience of this particualr re - union has for me multiple layers of meaning not all of them pleasant.
I will attend with an open mind and try to have no expectations to see if I can experience something of which I have no clue at this moment - but intuitively I sense that I might discover something of significance.