Do you remember the post I wrote entitled, “Get Ready to Be Well!” (August 13, 2016)? Well, in that post I reflect on being ready for and accepting of change because change is a constant. I referred to the author, Alvin Toffler who wrote Futureshock; how the author worked with governments, in technology, was a futurist and an industrial thinker. The message I want[ed] to impart was that you must embrace change. The purpose of that post was to encourage empowerment even through storms or winds that blow that cause things to be unearthed, moved, turned upside down or lost.
Well, I must say that I came face to face with change. The change I encountered took place was on a wonderful vacation/trip with a group of women from Philadelphia. We first started out by visiting the City by the Bay – San Francisco! The majority of our visit was to the beautiful and tasty wine country Sonoma and Napa counties and then a return to San Francisco. I stayed on for additional days to work from my employer’s San Francisco office.
Both areas of Northern California are places where I grew up (on and off) during my childhood, youth and young adulthood! San Francisco in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s is where I truly “left my heart”. San Francisco is the place where my strongest memories of beauty, warmth, adventure and love for a multi-cultural community was born. I have always considered San Francisco my hometown. I was not ready for the change I saw, heard, felt and experienced.
A 1947 planning study set the stage for an urban renewal effort that continues decades later. (Archive.org)
The change that I encountered is the displacement of disadvantaged and poor and for the replacement of those who have means. In fact, more heartbreaking is the fact that I may not even be able to afford the place I once called home.
These changes have taken place over many years but I lived in San Francisco when the systematic changes were slowing but definitely occurring. I lived around my friends and their parents who owned properties but moved away; sold their properties or were released from their leases. These people were my friends and family; they were people I went to school and church with.
With new economies, cultures and life moving on, I no longer could embrace San Francisco as my hometown. It was hilarious in that I could not recognize streets, landmarks or even the pace of the City!
So after two weeks and lots of reflecting, I had to swallow my own words about “Facing My Fears”, “Open[ing] My Heart and “Be[ing] Kind to Myself as I offered you in my previous post. My reaction to the gentrification in the City that I loved shows a large disparity among the races, poor and the rich; the young and old; and the warmth of the people I once knew in San Francisco. I saw even fewer people who looked like me than there ever were in San Francisco; in my old neighborhoods.
So how does this fit into achieving wellness, balance and acceptance of change? It comes down to admitting I was holding onto to something that was no longer there; realizing that there are ebbs and flows that must take place in life and that:
- I was the one who changed before San Francisco changed,
- I, along with many other people I know, moved away from the City by the Bay for a multitude of reasons – probably for the better;
- My beautiful memories will last longer than even the current changes and gentrification of San Francisco
- I can advocate for a more balanced approach for the homeless, poor and those just scrapping by in one of the most unaffordable cities in the world;
- I have a few family members and a wonderful friend I can visit if I ever want to recapture those memories and experience some of the beautiful changes that have been;
- I made a professional friend and contact while on my visit and that is always a plus;
- I shared my enthusiasm (maybe at nauseum) and my memories of San Francisco with the wonderful women I traveled with;
- I experienced and learned about the “new” San Francisco and. . . I love to learn!
My literal RE-TREAT to San Francisco was a get away that I needed. I returned to what is now my home in the suburbs of Philadelphia a more relax, restful and blessed person. I was able to see how much I had grown as a person and to even embrace the changes I had made in my journey. I explored things on my own and was thrilled with the freedom afforded me. It is now time to travel to places I’ve never seen or experienced. My list is long and I am ready!