Why I Group

Hello, Justin here for the inaugural Group (Together) Diary. I thought this diary would be a great place for everyone on our team (and maybe some of you) to discuss with us why you group, why you go out and who you meet with to have fun.

CHICAGO IS A CITY OF TRANSPLANTS

I’m one of these myriad transplants from somewhere in America to the City of Chicago. I was born in a suburb a few miles south of Detroit and left in 2008 partly because of romance and partly because of opportunity. I know I’m not alone in my city. While researching this post, I came to find that of the 2,700,000 people who live in Chicago, only 1,600,000 of them were born here. 500,000 moved to Chicago from somewhere in the United States and the remainder are immigrants. (1)

However, Chicago is only average in this respect. 58.7% of Americans were born within their current state of residence. Some other cities have many more transplants than Chicago, such as New York where the rate is just under 50%, LA where the rate is over 55% transplants and Phoenix where the rate is over 70% transplants.

When I moved here, I didn’t know anyone in the city. Literally, I did not know the name of a single human being, no phone numbers, nothing. I had to use the Internet to even find the names of grocery chains and I had to look up where gas stations were or I’d never find them. Familiarity is powerful, and community is necessary. These memories are not so far removed from my present that I don’t feel them anymore. I always wish I had a bigger network, more connections and more people that I could see and vibe with.

WHERE I’M GOING

Like everyone else, I like doing a bunch of things that not a lot of people love to do. I really like cooking south and east Asian food, I love shopping for ingredients I’ve never heard of. I like longboarding, I have tons of fun playing Android: Netrunner, I love playing Jazz bass and I’m okay at chess. I want to spend more time playing golf and basketball. I wish I had more people to work on my French with. I really want to learn Arabic and Mandarin, but I can’t find the time. Same goes for learning Javascript.

I think anyone in my audience could populate a list of all of these things they want to do more and can similarly remember free time that they could have used to do any of these things they love. This is our challenge. This company is going to find a way to solve that problem.

WHO DO YOU HAVE FUN WITH?

It’s a big problem, right? This problem of forming micro-communities and societies has been one of the biggest challenges and anthropological difficulties that our species has ever encountered.

I know how we’ll solve this problem though. Being lonely, or being bored or being alone won’t stop me from doing the things I love. I’m going to do these things anyway, and I’m going to do them for me. I think that’s common between you and me, that the things we truly love to do we do not need motivation to pursue and to perform.

So, I think there might be another thing common between you and me, and I hope that you also want to find people who like doing the things you like doing. I’d absolutely invite a complete stranger to be my partner in a cooking class. I’d love to speak French with someone who is frustrated by my tense-switching. You bet I’d be happy to get creamed in chess, but I could give as good as I get in a jam session in E flat.

I am willing to put all of my creativity toward finding friends. I want to make it easier for you, too. Everyone else on our team, Mike, Chris, Wick and Lynne is with me. I believe that if we Group together and focus on our similarities, we will make our communities, pursue our goals and follow our dreams.

We hope that the wonderful things you do on your own, for yourself can be the wonderful things that we do together and that you can share with us.

Comment and let us know what makes you want to Group (together).

(1) Curious City — Native Numbers: How many Chicagoans were born in the City? (Feb 10, 2014) by Robert Loerzel