I have been wanting to blog about this for a long time, but every time I sit down to write it gets looooooong. Here’s the shortest version of this I could manage:
I’ve got great people. My family is amazing, although for the most part they are 500 miles away. I’m incredibly lucky to have a group of friends that I’ve known since high school – twenty years now! – and am very close to. I mentioned our Boston Posse friends when I posted about out trip to Melbourne. They filled a gap that I don’t think I realized I had until I met them: they were my city family. We all lived within a quick T trip of each other (and in some cases, a short walk from each other), we were all up for just about any adventure, and we were all ready to get drinks or dinner without much advance planning. When contracts started expiring and our Boston Posse friends started moving back home or somewhere new (London, Amsterdam, Rome, Brisbane, Melbourne, Oregon, Atlanta), Pete and I really felt that empty gap.
But Boston is a notoriously hard city to meet people in, and I actually think it’s that much harder for someone like me: I grew up locally and have a social and support network….in the suburbs. When transplants meet each other, they have that much in common, but that missing link isn’t there for me to build a friendship on. Pete is a transplant – although he has been here for twelve years now – but he’s also an introvert. With the deck stacked against us, I spent a while trying to figure out where to find the community I was looking for.
It wasn’t until we moved to Quincy that we did it. I was trying to form a running habit that had long escaped me so I went looking for a local running club. See…I’m inherently lazy, I need the accountability of meeting a workout buddy to get off the couch. In other words, I’m a dog runner. A google search turned up only one option in Quincy, but it was a dormant group on meetup.com: The Quincy Running Dawgs I emailed the organizer, Harvey, asking if he would be willing to let me post events – I was planning to run a few nights a week after work, so why not just post them and see if anyone showed up? He was happy to oblige, so I quickly mapped out a short route that met somewhere public that was within walking distance of our new apartment.
I’ll skip the entire Quincy Running Dawgs history lesson and jump to the present…you guys! I found my people! When I first posted those runs there were only four or five of us that showed up. It took about a year for the club to turn out regular, sizable attendance, but as that happened I quickly realized that we were super lucky: everyone that joined and started showing up was friendly, easy going, encouraging, and had a good sense of humor. Our group has grown from four to forty regulars. We run together four times a week, we race together monthly, and we get drinks or brunch together in between.
More importantly, this group has spawned a lot of relationships that don’t rely on an event posted on meetup.com to bring people together. Pete and I have made friends who we sometimes text on a Sunday afternoon in order to make plans for Sunday dinner. One of them was awesome enough to cat sit for us while we were in Australia for two weeks in April! Sometimes during the football season, when I leave the house to avoid having to watch it I come home and find Harvey drinking beers and watching football with Pete. When we had no heat and power during the blizzard, it was one of our running club friends who took us in, made us coffee and frozen pizza, and let us soak up her heat to get warm.
This running club was the community I was looking for all along. They are my people, and I’m repeatedly grateful for having found them!