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By Tom Blake
I have often emphasized to elderly singles the importance of getting involved in activities and making new friends. This week, a woman named Lynda emailed asking for advice on how to do that.
Lynda said: “I was a single mom for 17 years and was very involved in my children’s lives and their activities. I have had the same type of work for 32 years and have moved a lot due to a military way of life. When I was in my 20s and 30s, making friends happened without even thinking about it.
“Now, in my mid-50s, making friends seems to be tougher than I imagined. I have friends at work, but most of them are married and have their own lives outside of work.
“Since I am approaching retirement, I’m trying to figure out what I can do to make friends and get involved in my community. I love animals and have two dogs of my own. I hope to someday find someone I can experience life, with although I am very content being on my own with my dogs. I have thought about volunteering with Meals on Wheels and/or helping out with dog-rescue places. Any input would be appreciated.”
Tom’s answer: Making new friends now is wise. By doing so, you will already have friends when you retire.
Yes, making friends is more difficult compared to when we were younger. Having women friends is as important, if not more important, than having men friends. By pursuing activities you enjoy, making new friends will easily follow. You already seem to know what you want to do.
You love animals and have two dogs. You have thought about volunteering at an animal shelter. Go for it; you are a natural. Two months ago, I rescued a dog and got to know the volunteers at the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. They all had one thing in common—they loved dogs and cats. In addition, they were wonderful people. You would immediately make friends at an animal shelter.
Next, you mentioned volunteering for Meals on Wheels. That’s a great cause. I suggest you start doing that once or twice a week.
It is important to try new things. After my life partner Greta retired, she became involved in tai chi, yoga and water aerobics classes. Through exercise, she has made many wonderful new friends.
If you need more ideas, check out www.meetup.com, a free website that lists all kinds of clubs and activities across the United States that you can join. Pick a couple of activities that interest you and try them.
You also mentioned that you would like to meet a man with whom to experience life, but are also content just spending time with your dogs. I think you can do both. Make time without the dogs to let a man into your life. Yes, you treasure your dogs, but don’t be so obsessed with them that you shut out potential mates.
You have many positives in your life. You have worked in the same field for 32 years and not many people can say that. This shows stability, dedication and loyalty—all great traits. In addition, you were a single mom for 17 years and that required a huge commitment.
Pursue making new friends before retirement with the same energy you put forth into working and raising your children. You will accomplish your goal quickly.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. His latest book can be found online at www.smashwords.com/books/view/574810. See his website at www.findingloveafter60.com (Yes, after 60, time rolls on). To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.