On Groups and Comaraderie

There’s a group I hang out with on Wednesdays. Originally, they weren’t “my” group. They were my father’s group. But I’m poor, and I enjoy getting free food from my dad, so I started tagging along a while back. It was completely selfish to begin with.

Anyway… I’m not sure how it happened, but over the course of time these people were no longer “my father’s friends.” They were “the Wednesday Group,” and in some cases even “my friends.”

I love that. I love people. I love that there’s a bunch of us that get together once a week with a solitary purpose in mind: good times, good company, (and good drinks). That’s what makes a Group. In those few hours every Wednesday, we’re not just a bunch of people sitting around a table. We’re not even really separate individuals for that brief span of time. We’re a Group– “a number of persons or things ranged or considered together as being related in some way.” We’re a unit. And in a world that seems to be developing around the individual rather than the whole– in lives that seem to be growing increasingly isolated– that’s a necessary thing to have.

There’s a connection in that sort of ensemble that is hard to come by… partially because it’s something that a lot of us actively avoid. After all, everyone knows that it’s way easier to stay at home on a Wednesday night and watch TV. That requires literally no effort. And who want to try something hard after a long day of work? Plus, staying home means that there’s less of a chance for confrontation. Less social awkwardness. Less anxiety.

But there’s also less chance for growth. Less chance for new experiences. And less chance for that human connection that so many of our lives lack.

At first, I was leery about meeting up with a bunch of people who may or may not be stuck in the 70’s. I wasn’t sure that my comfort zone could handle politics that may or may not be a decade or more behind the times (turns out that this particular group is pretty liberal. Who knew?) In fact, all of the uncertainty was dumb.  Because I’ve since discovered that, for however long we sit together, our differences in opinions, or choices, or styles, or politics… our pasts and worries and individual issues… are put aside. We’re not there to bring out our differences. We’re there to explore our similarities– primarily, our love for stupid jokes and not-so-stupid beer choices.

Camaraderie. It’s a word that’s become so archaic that I actually didn’t know how to spell it initially. And I think that it’s become archaic because it’s not really something we readily experience anymore. Because so few of us have a Group where we truly feel like we’re part of something. We no longer have relationships that make us feel like comrades. But sometimes, you find a Group like that. And it’s awesome.

Now– The Wednesday Winners (which is what I started calling them about 2 seconds ago) is not my only Group. The people in my church, in my D&D game, in my team at work– they’re all Groups, too. And I love each of them. Because at the end of the day, I love knowing that there are people– sometimes a handful, sometimes a swarm– that are all willing to come together to achieve a singular goal. Maybe that goal is just to have a fun evening (which I didn’t think I’d really be able to help with. But, apparently, I’m universally loved for my awesomeness. Seriously, guys. I’m a cool person. Really. Ignore the D&D thing up above). Or, maybe your Group’s goal is to try and make the community a better place. Maybe it’s just to get the job done so everyone can go home.

Whatever it is– whatever you’re passionate about– I highly recommend you find a Group of your own. Find others who want to achieve whatever goal you have. You’ll end up feeding off of their energy just as they feed off yours, and eventually– you’ll feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

This doesn’t mean that you should go jump on the subway and think you’re part of a Group because you and 1200 other people are all trying to get to the downtown stop on time. That’s not the type of goal I’m talking about. But maybe find one or two other people who want to start hiking. Or who want to learn to paint. Or who play the same video games as you. Or who would love to get their nails done on Tuesdays.  Find other people who, for at least a few hours every now and again, will let you be you without fear of judgement or arguments. Find a Group that want the same thing you want: To experience happiness together, in whatever method you decide.

It’ll be worth it. I promise. 😉


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