Sunday, May 13, 2012

Single Retirement-Exploring Opportunities for Socialization

Single retirement can be extremely joyful.  There are also some unique challenges.  Sometimes challenges are financial (one retirement income instead of two).  Sometimes they are social.  While I certainly would not suggest that couples do not also face challenges meeting people, there are those occasions when they have an automatic partner (for eating out, going to the movies, going to a play).

If you are a single who has retired "in place" you probably have a more readily accessible group of friends, developed of the long term.  Those of us who relocate, or who haven't build up that wide circle face different challenges.  Widows and widowers are also often uniquely challenged if most of their friends were couples. I am not necessarily one of that latter group.  While my husband and I had joint friends, we had very different hobbies and as such had our own separate social circles as well. My husband belonged to a ski club and traveled without me at least once a month during the winter, as well as attending ski club socials. He was also active in the sports officiating community, and did things with that group of people on a regular basis. I had similar groups that were important to me. 

Unfortunately, part of living in the diplomatic/military community means that everyone moves somewhere else. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage. I retired to somewhere I had not lived before, in order to be near my husband's family for  my kids. As I've shared before, I was fortunate to find a church that was a perfect fit. As part of that church, I attend a monthly dinner group, participate in a woman's small group, and go to other social events (including a fish fry and silent auction coming soon).  Recently, I decided I needed something else.

I enjoy going out to dinner on occasion, I like the movies, and I like going to theaters and festivals.  While I am happy and comfortable doing those things alone, it's often more enjoyable with another person. I have absolutely no interest in a traditional singles group whatsoever-I just wanted to meet more people living closer to me with whom I could get together on occasion (my church is a half an hour away and members live all over the metroplex.  As such, I've decided to "step outside the box" if you will.

Awhile back, someone mentioned the option of the organization "Meet Up" to me.  At the time it was suggested to me as an alternative when I was looking for a book discussion group not church related. Other people have mentioned it to me as well. I think that another blogger, Tamara, may have some experience in this area. I did the research and found that Meetup has a wide variety of groups in my area. These included book clubs, a knitting group, and a local German speaking group that meets at our Bratskeller once a month. There is a group called Dining in Dallas, and one that goes to ethnic restaurants. Finally, there is a 50's plus social group.

This group meets once a month for breakfast, and also has a once a month social event. Art shows, movies, theaters, you name it. Yesterday I finally bundled up my courage and went to a program. The group went to a local theater to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and then to a lovely Italian restaurant afterwards. Once I got over my discomfort of walking up and asking "is this the ..........group?", and introducing myself, I had a lovely time.  Everyone was friendly, the conversation was great, and the food was divine. I will surely be going to these outings regularly, and may even explore other opportunities to meet people.

Although I'm happy to go to restaurants and the like, I'm also happy to see that the members to casual less expensive things often-next month the event is a pool part and I while back the group went to an arts and the park even and also had a potluck supper and games night. My kind of group!

If I had not finally taken the plunge, I don't know what would have happened in the long run. It took me awhile, but I finally jumped, and am happier for it. What about you-have you stepped outside of your comfort zone lately?

9 comments:

  1. Good for you! I have a recently divorced friend who volunteers for a half dozen organizations--her social schedule is super busy and she loves it. Im glad you have found some good groups to join. BTW Happy Mother's Day!

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  2. Yeah for you Barb! Meetup has introduced me to so many wonderful activities and people - for hiking, going out to tea houses, photography, hiking and book clubs. I'm enjoying each and every one.

    Not every Meetup group will be a good fit, so don't be discouraged if you find you aren't a good match for a new group on occasion. And yes, the first time is definitely the hardest!

    I've returned to spinning and yoga at my gym, two new, old activites, but both very challenging. I'm also signing up for a 15 mile trail race with my daughter in August. That will be a bit outside of my current comfort zone for sure, but I'm looking forward to the physical challenge it will present as well.

    And I'm moving up to Int Spanish beginning tomorrow. I'm very nervous I'm going to be behind everybody else, but the only way to advance, now that I've finished a year of Beg. Spanish, is to bite the bullet and just do it.

    I remember a line from a song that I try to abide by: "Do something every day that frightens you just a little."

    Good advice I think.

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  3. Great post! I think it is harder to make new friends once the kiddo's leave home, thank goodness for dear old long time friends

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  4. Hi Barb,
    I tend to gravitate to familiar pursuits and familiar people but I like to expand my comfort zone from time to time. So, this past year I started blogging. I thought it would be a nice solitary hobby, and never expected the "social" aspect of it. It is interesting to interact with people that I have never and may never meet. We all live such different lives, but we have a common thread - passion for life.

    I had never heard of Meetup before Tamera mentioned it. So glad it is working out for you. Maybe I'll look into it in my area - some face to face time is a good thing.

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  5. Thanks for this post, Barb. I was unaware of "Meetup" but will certainly check it out.

    My wife and I joined the local "Parrotheads Club" one year (people who love Jimmy Buffett music) but found their emphasis on drinking not our style. So, maybe Meetup will be more our style.

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  6. Hi Suzanne. I do enjoy blogging and enjoy the connections. That said as a rule I do not consider my pc or its connections as social-maybe its just me. I suspect that's my personality type-I need real people in real places. That may also be why I am having fewer problems than I thought leaving the computer behind for many more hours than before. Although I still enjoy blogging and reading blogs..

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  7. Tamara, I thought about you when I signed up for this group. I am looking forward to it and may even join another group eventually, who knows!

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  8. I haven't used Meet Up yet, but a couple of my friends, including one who just moved to my part of the country have. They are just as enthusiastic as you are about it.

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  9. I'm going to check out Meetup. I'd heard of it, but didn't know much about it. Thanks!

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