Every goodbye is uqinue. Each one is a reflection of what has been and what is yet to come. Graduations, promotions, cross-country moves- with new sets of relationships and changes. Before coming to San Francisco, I had no idea that I could feel at home so quickly. As I left home with wide eyes, eight weeks seemed incredibly long. However, as the days counted down to leaving, I didn’t feel like it was enough. Being in San Francisco and working with the clients at Larkin Street Youth Services have both impacted the way I feel about myself and how I view others. Gaining perspective and attaching it to an experience is powerful, and I think that has made saying goodbye even more difficult. I want to stay connected to the clients and their progress. I want to continue seeing them grow and learn, but it’s also important to take a step back and focus on the nature of the work.
Learning that staying in contact can be more of a selfish act than a helpful one has caused a bit of a disconnect within me. With people coming and going, what benefit does this bring the client? Why do I want so badly to stay in touch? In a society of social media and “connection” where we are taught to maintain relationships in some capacity, even if just by adding a person on facebook, an abrupt end can be jarring when the people and place you’re leaving have had an impact on your life. I take comfort in the fact that the work will continue- that there are passionate and incredible people progressing the policy and care for youth experiencing homelessness. Knowing that my experience with this type of work doesn’t have to end here, I’m bringing back with me the lessons of this summer to my own community, even if I may not know how they’ll steer my future.