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We’ve met up for the third time in as many years, the old school class of 1968 – 75 from Rickmansworth GS, and again have come away with the usual mix of feelings – sobered that we may not all be able do this again given the place we’ve reached in our lives, cheered by the ongoing companionship, struck by the distances we’ve travelled over the last 40 years, thoughtful that we’ve kept in touch and made it back here with so many different stories to tell, overawed by it all: and struck by the main land change of the ever present M25, always there in the background, somewhere around the corner, ahead of you, up ahead, over you, a constant hum of traffic and reminder of the flow around us, in us, through us. Even on the school rugby fields you can see that ever present glistening line of traffic streaming through the countryside, something that was impossible upto 1975.

And yet paradoxically, nothing has happened in the last 40 years – change has been superficial, our bodies are temporary in any event, and the changes we marvel at are just a manifestation of the traffic, the river, the flow. Money, family, relationships: the challenges are constant, just how to keep afloat is a question that’s always been there, and always will be. We ask ourselves, what would the older you say to the younger you if you bumped into yourself 40 years ago? and the answers are surprisingly simple: be confident, don’t worry, it’ll all be alright.

So you spend some money, have some laughs, drink too much, share a few memories – and keep the planning to a tentative minimum. It doesn’t need a lot more – we’re all part of the traffic, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, but all traffic together, going in our own directions but still happy to share pit stops, caveats, advice on oncoming diversions, warnings of impending heavy weather. And advice on where to find the sunshine too.