Letting Go Gracefully, Without Regrets

Contemplating my 50th high school reunion got me thinking about friendships, acquaintanceships, and people I’m no longer in touch with.

I’m a person who stays connected. I make the calls, send the emails, arrange the visits, and keep up the connections. For years. But I wonder, When should I simply loosen my grip and let a friendship or acquaintanceship slide? Couldn’t I say to myself, We were friends for a certain moment in time and now that time has passed? It’s OK to let go gracefully without regrets.

I think I’ve done that with my high school friends. 

I’m mildly curious about a few people. There was the cute redheaded guy I daydreamed about in math class. We ran in the same circles, but never dated and with time I became infatuated with other guys. He later became an architect and developer and now is one of the wealthiest members of the class. 

I might enjoy talking with a brainy basketball star who was a good friend for a few years. She sat near me in several classes because our Catholic high school seated students alphabetically. However, even during college while I still lived in Toledo, we’d grown apart.

A dark-haired acquaintance who had a big voice and an even bigger laugh also comes to mind. We hung around together during school musicals—she was a performer and I was the costumer.

I’m curious about another dark-haired classmate in my advanced English class who became a nationally known journalist. We ran in different crowds (hers cooler than mine), but it would be fun to talk politics with her now, except she isn’t attending either. 

I felt a pang to see a close girlhood friend listed among the deceased. We parted in 6th grade when she moved to a different neighborhood and got interested in boys. I was still shy and awkward then, not ready to date. We’d let go long ago, but I was sorry to read she had been in poor health for years and was no longer married.

A friend who went to a different high school said her 50th reunion was the last one she’ll attend, because future reunions will involve classmates needing walkers and talk of who’s in the early stages of Alzheimer disease. 

Her insight bolstered my decision to skip my 50th reunion. I’d rather remember my classmates as we were—young, high-spirited, and barely aware of life’s harder realities.


6 thoughts on “Letting Go Gracefully, Without Regrets

  1. We had our 50th last year. Our graduating class was only 24 and 95% were together from 1st grade on. I moved from Illinois to AZ shortly after. I stay in touch through word of mouth, or by a cousin or two. Like you, I’d rather leave it alone for various reasons, and remember and write about those lively and fun years.

  2. I think many people have made the same decision. It all really depends, I think, on whether you’ve kept in touch with your old high school friends or not. If you haven’t, then it can get rather awkward trying to make small talk with your old classmates. And I really appreciate your comment about wanting to remember them as they were when you were close!

  3. You’ve summed it up well, Ellen. I stopped at my 20th, there was nothing there for me. Too much comparing! 😀
    The one friend I cared about I’m still connected to via FB, but I’m not on there much, so it is touching base now and again. Best to move forward, we’re all different people now.

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