I’ve found that as I grow older, the constant change I find is in the perspectives I gain from the passing years. New people, places, challenges, heartaches, and personal reflections grow like a tree branch.
San Francisco is a challenging city to live in. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. Though, that’s far from the reason it’s a challenge to reside here.
More than anything, the city feels like a mount of priorities that have grown dangerously out of whack. Many longtime residents complain of the blatant gentrification, resulting in a loss of culture, art, and community. When I walk through the streets, I see a place that seems to have forgotten itself, much like a teenager that lashes out at their parents’ love, because they want to fit in with their peers.
Walking through the crowded streets, I see homeless people picking through the boxes thrown out by rapidly-growing companies in need of larger televisions, designer furniture, and the latest piece of technology to grow their user base.
We are people, first. In a world that sees others as ‘users’ it’s hard to remember that the people on the opposite end of our glowing MacBook screens have hearts, hurts, and dreams.
The homeless seem to have gotten one thing right; resourcefulness. In a city where studio apartments lease for $3,000+, the homeless reside where they please.
While there are many poor/homeless that live in shackles of their own making (drug addiction, alcoholism, etc.) there are many I’ve met who understand the concept of compassion far better than the suits and ties who ignore the sincere pleas for generosity, delved from a world they created where only a few reap the benefits of a more efficient, optimal, and better life.
Coming home, I felt a deep hurt for the way our world seems to align its priorities. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. This me-centric world is trying to outpace its own recognition of being hollow and inauthentic.
I can’t speak for everybody, but I’ve met far more people that sincerely long to be loved and love others – authentically – than ever.
I’m frustrated, because it seems like there are far more problems than I know how to fix. Far more hands that need love than I carry.
I used to think the answer to these problems was to create ‘systems of change’ that could somehow help others, en-mass. Yet, even that approach seems to feel like a disconnect from the change that occurs when one-on-one moments of compassion are given to those who need it most.