Eva Bradley: Reunion prompts review

By Eva Bradley

1 comment
Eva Bradley.
Eva Bradley.

If you had to sum up the last 20 years of your life in a few short sentences, what would you say?

Would you shine a light on the highlights while keeping life's hiccups hidden firmly in the shadows of the past?

Or would you do a warts-and-all rundown that touched on the tragedies and the triumphs?

Would you break the tall poppy code of conduct we subscribe to as Kiwis and mention moments of glitz, glamour and shameless achievement?

Would you even remember them?

It wasn't until I woke up the next morning and had to ask everyone else how the reunion was that I realised just how much things stay the same.
Eva Bradley

These are the questions I considered as I got dressed to attend the reunion for my Victoria University hostel in Wellington, Weir House.

And to be honest the getting dressed bit proved almost as complex as mentally scripting my "story".

The way I saw it there were two options; a dress that was age-appropriate and respected the fact that 20 years had gone by since I was last in the city getting ready for a night out with all my uni mates, or one that gave a one-figured salute to the passage of time and represented the me that was, rather than the one that now is.

Given I had a reputation for loud statements and flagrant fashion experiments in my youth, I opted for the latter option.

But surprisingly I found myself quite unable to apply the same flair to what I said about my life.

When asked the inevitable question about what I'd done for the past couple of decades, I found myself boiling it down to the rather flavourless summary of "married with kids and job".

Being dropped on mountaintops by helicopter to report live to the nation, sailing across oceans, swapping my hard-won, high-profile career to be a waitress before starting over again to build up a new business as a photographer ... well ... these all sounded like the sorts of glamorous things one should report on at a reunion, but frankly in reality they were all far from that.

The current sit-rep (the unremarkable married with kids bit) is in reality my greatest and most rewarding achievement so far.

It's the story I'm most proud of.

And so, as I updated everyone on where I was at now and they did the same, I wondered what hurdles and highlights had really gone on in their lives and how they felt about where they were at right now.

Reunions aren't just an opportunity to reconnect with the past, they are a chance to reflect on it.

They are also a chance to review how much you've changed, or stayed the same.

Although I'd wondered if I would recognise everyone after such a long time, I was (pleasantly) surprised to see that we all looked pretty much as we did aged 18, except there were a few grey hairs and wrinkles around the eyes to bear testament to the passage of time and the challenges that had come with it.

I was also amazed to learn that I still acted exactly the same on a big Saturday night out as I did 20 years ago.

According to my inbuilt wiring, I drank with determined commitment from hours 5pm to 9pm, then had precisely zero memory of anything from that point to midnight, at which point I snuck off to my dorm room to pass out under my pillow while everyone else rocked on till 4am.

It is often said, while some things change, some things stay the same.

It wasn't until I woke up the next morning and had to ask everyone else how the reunion was that I realised just how much things stay the same.

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