Impermanence and the High School “Senior”

Last fall I attended my 50th high school reunion. It was a four-day event and included time to catch up with old Marine Corps buddies from that same era. This was the first time any of us had seen or talked to each other for over 45 years.

On the surface the time together was great. We reminisced about mischief we’d gotten into, old girl friends, marriages, divorces, careers and health issues. A good time was had by all.

At the end of the weekend, with seeming sincerity and enthusiasm, we exchanged pertinent info and commitments to ‘stay in touch.’ We have snail mail and e-mail and land lines and cell phones.  This shouldn’t be too tough.

At first there were the slow replies to e-mails and phone call. In short order those contacts slowed to ‘stop’ and several phone calls remain unreturned.

What happened? Was it me? Why no contact?

At first I was disappointed.  I told myself a story that I have used for many years:  of course it was personal.  I had left my hometown shortly after graduation and never returned.  I didn’t keep in touch. Perhaps my behavior had disappointed them enough so that they weren’t interested in keeping up with me.

I am learning to challenge my stories.  Our weekend together connected us to the relationships we had in our teens and early twenties.  It created an image of how things had been between.  Somehow I thought we would just pick up where we had left off.  I naively expected that affection to carry us past the years of non-contact.  Just like the good old days.  As if we were  the same guys.

I decided to abandon my “story.”  It doesn’t serve.  We were close growing up.  The affection and connection we felt in our reunion weekend was real.  And it’s not easy to make room in very full lives.

I think I’ll continue to reach out for a little while longer.

It is easier when I view the scenario as a certain and simple personal example of impermanence in action.

 

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