The Grand Reunion – LMU ’94

This weekend Joy and I had our 30th (30th!!!) college reunion, and it could not have been more fun or come at a more opportune time.  Having just come back from our Great American Road Trip, Joy and I needed to reconnect with friends, so the timing was impeccable.  On the drive back to our cabin in the mountains, we stopped in Oceanside to reconnect with our dear friends Luke and Jen, I’d say it was just about the perfect weekend.

Back: Dan Ingram, Steve Silvestri, Me, Seth Cole Front: Derek Dal Ponte, Scott O'Brien, Eric Lovette

All this reminiscing got me thinking about the importance of friendships, especially those that go back decades.  I am not exactly sure why, but I am in my “happy place” when I am spending time with friends.  It really doesn’t matter what we are doing, but talking, laughing and creating memories with close friends always makes my heart overflow with joy.

I could not stop thinking that 30 years had gone by.  There is something that psychologists call your Subjective Age (SA).  This is how a person FEELS about their age compared to their chronological age.  When I think about my SA, I always think about my time at LMU, and the friends I had then.  It makes sense to me because LMU is a very special place.  I met my wife, I played baseball and entered the Hall of Fame there, I have my name enshrined on a bench near the baseball stadium and Gabriella goes there now.  On top of that, I met friends that have lasted all these decades! So being back at the same physical location with the same friends as my Subjective Age was a wild experience. The age that I feel and my chronological age came together

Friday night at Hacienda Del Rey. Opened in 1973 and was a regular hangout for our crew. Not one thing had changed!
One of the coolest things of the weekend was Gabriella and Marco coming to Hacienda's to meet our friends. All of us really enjoyed that!

I was also thinking how incredible it is that we are still close friends with so many folks we met at LMU – THIRTY YEARS AGO!     Think about that for a second.  This group came together when we were 18 years old. We either lived in dorms together, had classes together, met through mutual friends or any other host of ways our paths crossed.  We connected in such a way that through marriages, divorces, kids, living abroad and just “life” we have found a way to stay connected in a meaningful way.  I find that quite remarkable and says a lot about the character of the people that attended LMU.

That best part of seeing old friends is just how quickly you reconnect.  It might take a few minutes to break the ice, but then one joke, or one memory and boom, you are transported right back to the time when you spent every single day together.  I always find that so amazing and wonderful how that happens that even if you don’t see someone for a few years, you reconnect in a matter of minutes.

I am proud that we have invested in these relationships, because as we get older it is more difficult to make new friends and maintain the ones you have.   Life happens and it is all too easy to drift apart, so it takes a real effort to keep those relationships alive and strong. I think we have done a good job of traveling together or made a point of visiting close friends ever since we left college.  We have one couple, Lisa and Seth, that we have traveled on an annual trip for 20 consecutive years! 

Amazing afternoon at Hennessey's Tavern in Hermosa Beach. Gorgeous sunshine, on the sand with great friends. What could be better?

I think the highest return on any dollar spent is on experiences (over things) with friends.  Not only do you have a great time when you are on the trip or experience together, but the memories from those trips are like receiving interest on your savings, it keeps compounding over time.  Every time you relive that memory, you return to that place for a moment and receive a small amount of joy all over again.  Sharing those experiences with others also deepens the bonds of the friendship as you are now building joint experiences and memories together.  So, take the time to invest in your friendships, it will pay off ten-fold down the road.

In the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, written by Bonnie Ware an Australian hospice nurse, she writes about the most common regrets she has heard from patients in her care.  Number four on that list “I wish I would have stayed in touch with my friends.”  That breaks my heart, and I am committed to not let that be one of my regrets.  I want to encourage my kids (and anyone else reading this) to try to invest more deeply in your relationships with family and friends.  Nurture the friends you have, just like you would tend to a garden.  Relationships take care and feeding.  Take time to be a good friend to others, listen, care, be there when you are needed, check in and just say “hello” from time to time. 

As I said, sharing experiences with my friends is when I am at my happiest.  I plan on investing resources and time to continue to build on the relationships I have, reconnect with friends that I have lost touch with and foster some new ones along the way.  Who knows, we might all be back together to share our 50th Super Grand reunion before we know it!  I sure hope we do!

Lara O'Brien (married to Scott), Lisa Cole (married to Seth) and Joy (married to me!)
All three of these married couples met while at LMU - crazy!

4 thoughts on “The Grand Reunion – LMU ’94”

  1. WOW thirty years reunion at LMU!
    Great memories for you and Joy,
    Congratulations to all of you for this amazing friendship.
    Love it!

  2. Joy McClelland Napolitano

    Love this post and I loved seeing everyone this weekend. Friends and relationships are definitely important. Thanks for the reminder Anthony.

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