On October 1st I’ll have lived in my current place 20 years. In January it will be 22 years I’ve called San Francisco home.
Over the years many trends have come and gone.
I’ve watched the dot.com boom then implode.
I’ve watched the 49ers be a dynasty, then become a laughingstock. I watched Barry Bonds set unprecedented records, then get a record.
I’ve watched the Golden Gate Bridge toll go from $2, to $4 and now $6.
I’ve watched many fads come and go. From noodle houses to smoothie shops to cup cake cafe’s, and now, my favorite of all, Artisan Coffee shops.
The few things that have remained constant in my life over the years are that I’ve lived in this place on Russian Hill, had my office on Clement Street, driven European cars, owned a classic Italian Vespa P200 and… I have consistently done the work that I do mentoring teens into their adult life, and help facilitate their growth and evolution into truly substantial people.
Each year a new batch of young teens get introduced to me, and me to them.
It typically begins the same. Their parents think this would be good for them. They come in begrudgingly, expecting it to be boring and equating me to a therapist.
Somewhere in that first meeting I find something to offer them that makes them realize this is not that, and that this in fact has something of real value to offer.
They agree to come back a second time…
Now skip ahead 4 years. Instead of them being 13, they are 17. Instead of them being 16, they are 20.
We have bonded. My voice and my opinions have legitimate status in their lives. They feel lucky to have this relationship and to be able to call on me as they sort their way through the often complex freind situations, pressures and decisions they need to make to live the life they want and become the person they want to be.
A few relationships will fade along the way.
Some will fade because their parents will decide they don’t want to invest in this in spite of their kids protests, some parents will pull the plug because of their protests… Some of them will make it to their senior year of high school or through their Freshman year of college, then just when the real deep transformative work begins that will truly build the foundation for who they become as adults – when they know enough to realize they have to make some serious decisions and make some serious commitments – they’ll bolt, “firing me” as I like to call it. Some will return a few years later. Some won’t. It’s not my job at that point.
For many though, they will go the distance. We’ll stay connected in a significant, meaningful way for years… long after they have committed fully to their lives as adults.
I’ll get graduation invitations, calls when major decisions must be made or intimate relationships are crumbling and in several cases now, invitations not just to be at their weddings but to speak at their weddings, and in October, to officiate one.
I was thinking about this this morning as I was sipping my newest favorite Artisan Coffee (Kenya AA from Looney Beans) and contemplating the new high school students I’ve met in the past few months and weeks… wondering how many of them will go the distance, gain the full value of this relationship and more importantly, of this work… and who won’t…
It’s not up to me to decide. It’s my job to do my work, with excellence, precision, consistency, genuine dedication, and a leap of Faith. It’s a responsibility and privilege that I do not take for granted. Kind of like this damn good coffee…
Now back to work…