Yesterday I got a message about my 10 year college reunion. There are many reasons for me to say no. Many of these people I avoided when I was actually in college because that would have required me to be social (no thank, courtesy of my anxiety), and so it is hard for me to care about where my classmates have gone since then, because again that would require me to be social. But in the interest of the occasion, and inspired by my take on the traditional Dr. Seuss graduation gift, I decided to take a closer look back.
Apart from some friends who I’ve kept up with somewhat since college, there was little about that time I liked. It was a quasi-military school, and it had many policies that I disagreed with. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, many policies that were harmful for my mental health.
Oh The Places You’ll Go says, “You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.” And that is true. I’ve been mixed up with the strange birds of mental illness since my college days, but have learned to step with care. I’ve learned to work on that great balancing act. And I’ve learned another lesson through therapy and self-care too, that I have brains in my head, feet in my shoes, and I can steer myself in any direction I choose.
Oh the places I’ve been since college and the ways I’ve grown, learning to accept my mental illnesses. Reunions are about reconnecting with the past, and while it would be nice to show my college classmates and my former self how much I’ve grown since those dark days, there isn’t anything from that part of my past I’m eager to reconnect with. The healing process, for me at least, means focusing on the positive things in my past while reminding myself that the negative things don’t have to define my future. College taught me some important lessons, but I don’t need a reunion to rediscover them. Oh the places I’ve been have pulled me out of the darkness, and I don’t want to go back because thanks to the help I’ve gotten and the progress I’ve made, I am excited for the places I’ve yet to go. So no, no, my 10 year reunion is not a place I plan to go.