March 09, 2007

A quarter century in the "real world"

In three months, I go to my college class's 25th reunion. Since I am one of the co-chairs, it fell to me to create a reunion book. Herewith, the Q&A I (as editor of said book) helped create.

Name in college: alice, uptown
Current name: same
Address: Wonderland

Home phone: yes, several -- in New York City
Email: alice DOT uptown AT gmail DOT com
Family details: I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend.

How do you occupy your days?
I sleep late, work as an independent financial planner, read, nap, blog, email, travel, and, occasionally, cook dinner from scratch.

What would your classmates find immediately recognizable about you since graduation?
My height, hair color, and penchant for sarcasm.

What would your classmates find the most surprising thing about you since graduation?
That I ended up in a profession so far removed from what I allegedly studied and what I wanted to be (a novelist).

What would your 1982 self find most shocking about your current life/self? Why?
That I have retained the same phone number for 25 years, and moved only once, to an apartment building adjacent to the original one. And the two people I cared for most in 1982 remain in the category of people for whom my door is always open.

What was a typical Friday night for you in college What about now?
Then? Always the Pub. (On campus.) Closing the Pub. Closing the off-campus bar. Thursday nights, when the weekend started, we’d head across the river to dance at the county's only disco, or our other favorite club where we wouldn't see everyone we knew. Now? Dinner at home and reading, watching DVDs or staying up talking. Or traveling. Spare me the plane, but give me a great hotel any night.

What are your favorite memories of your time at in college?
Cartwheeling on the Pub dance floor; tea in the Rose Parlor; Halloween costumes; late night tête-à-têtes. Doing my homework in the “work corner” of the Pub. Hours of pinball and dancing. Writing essays for the college newspaper. Liquid lunches with faculty at a campus-related hotel. The surprise party for my 20th birthday. Off-campus dinners with friends. Convincingly participating in class when I hadn’t read the first page of the book under discussion.

What are your three favorite inventions/innovations over the past 25 years?
Caller ID.
Private email discussion lists.

Where do you imagine yourself to be in 25 years?
Retired, content, (I hope) healthy, with a place in the mountains and a place in the Caribbean, with my friends around me.

If you live by someone else’s words of wisdom, what are they?
“To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love, and to remain indifferent.” – Joan Didion

"To be content with what one has is to be rich." -- Tao Te Ching

Sig: T tab po prn

If you were to be next year’s graduation speaker, what would you say in light of your college experience and subsequent life choices?
Life is more maintenance than you could have guessed. Be prepared. Sleep when you have the chance. You’re capable of more than you can imagine, and, if you must start again or choose to, don’t be afraid of yourself in the dark. One of our school's gifts is permission to be a nonconformist, to question authority. Hold onto that perspective – you’ll need it.

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Blogger The Misanthrope said...

I enjoyed reading that.

12:23 PM  

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