published Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Leber: Planning a friends reunion can be draining

I'm in planning purgatory.

This weekend, I'm going to visit my family in New York. One would think this would be a simple process.

No. No. No.

For the Leber clan, there's no such thing as an easy decision. Living hundreds of miles away, I forget this sometimes. Shame on my memory.

But almost everything, from where I will sleep the night I arrive (at my sister's or at my parents') to where we will eat dinner involves at least several conversations, emails or texts. My parents, bless them, are trying to figure out whether my mother will meet me at the airport or if they will both come.

"I can just take a taxi," I've piped up at least once. Shot down.

My folks are also not too keen on winging it. There's more "shall we eat at Restaurant A or Restaurant B on Saturday night; look at the menu online and let's talk about it," than "Hey, it's Saturday. What do you feel like for dinner?"

Sometimes, all the planning exhausts me. And thank heavens my parents only had two kids. And my sister lives in New York. And neither of us has children. Can you imagine if there were four of us and spouses and grandchildren to contend with?

But now, I'm getting to experience the other side of planning. I'm in the midst of trying to spearhead a reunion of my close circle of friends from college. It's been way too long since we've all been together, and unless specific effort is made, I don't see that problem solving itself any time soon.

But trying to coordinate 10 people from six states is a pain in several different body parts.

"I don't want to be the annoying mom," I began an email I sent out this week, "but time moves more rapidly than desired ... we need to get moving."

There are plane reservations to be made. A house to be rented. Activities to be planned. (Yes, planned.)

I attended an out-of-town, weekend-long gathering of friends in May, and I can honestly say it was a rousing success. I can also honestly say I had absolutely no hand in the planning process. Only now do I feel I can truly appreciate the efforts of those who did.

Bringing a group of people together, whether a family or a group of friends, takes a lot of patience and willingness to compromise, whether you're the planner or just someone along for the ride.

Likewise, being a part of any family, or partnership, takes a lot of patience and willingness to compromise.

But this week, I understand why some people choose to be hermits. There's less planning involved.

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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