all at once"

Dear Classmates,

Thank you all for your survey responses helping us identify themes of interest for our 35th reunion. There was strong support for a “My So-Called Midlife” panel to build on the connection and success of similar panels we’ve had at the last two reunions. Our vision for this year’s panel has evolved, and as we did for the Curveball panel at the 30th reunion, we again would like to build a program by soliciting your stories, wisdom, and expertise to present…

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once: It’s more than a kick-ass, award-winning, Oscar-nominated feature film. For so many of us, it’s an apt description of a too-often feeling that comes when the many strings of life seem to all pull at once: work and to-do lists; parenting kids and caring for parents; navigating frayed relationships; family drama; illness and loss; who am I/have I accomplished what I (or others) expected of me? And of course, since our last reunion, all of these challenges are woven together with the additional layers of the Covid-19 pandemic and national and global battles to sustain the fabric of democracy in our lives. #EEAAO indeed! 

The Curveball panel at our 30th Reunion created a shared space where we could see and hear and learn from each other around specific life themes. Those conversations and many more have continued among classmates in intimate conversations, and small and large Zoom sessions. And there has been tremendous value in sharing, being seen and heard, shedding stigma and shame, and sometimes hearing practical solutions. But a broader theme has also emerged: exhaustion and burnout; more questions than answers. Perhaps endemic to our age, but no less perplexing for each of us.

So this year we’d like to look forward: we’ll start by painting a picture of the collection of strings we’re all holding, and then we’ll focus on coping strategies that may apply to a wide variety of our circumstances: resilience building; resource management; asking for help; self-care. The panel will include classmates who are practitioners in mental health, spiritual, mindfulness and body practices, and community support, who will share different approaches that can help mitigate the weight of these unavoidable struggles, regardless of which individual strings are at hand.