I’m finding that one of the challenges of retirement, especially if you are the first of your friend group to retire, is that everyone else is working. At this age, it can be hard to make new friends who share the same interests.
My most pleasant surprise is how much I’ve enjoyed meeting women of all ages in two local golf leagues. I’m learning that if you are willing to take a risk and try something new, you will automatically broaden your circle of friends. If this is you, I encourage you to join a group of women. It doesn’t need to be golf, of course. There are so many options to consider. Thinking about and planning what “new” thing you will do will help with the transition from fully employed to fully retired.
There are groups that do sewing, knitting, and quilting. Local guilds, churches, and some community colleges are great places to contact if you love arts and craft projects. I’ve found groups that go on bike rides and hikes, you can just show up and join in. There are book clubs, gardening groups, and as more people are vaccinated, volunteering at libraries, non-profits and schools are becoming options. You can join a gym, a dance class, or even take up karate!
What I have enjoyed about the ladies' golf leagues is that we rotate who we play with each week. This way there is no chance for a “clique” to form. Everyone I’ve met has been encouraging and welcoming. They are glad for new members, even if you are a beginning golfer like me.
A few weeks after I joined at Snohomish, two of the ladies sent me a text and asked if I wanted to join them for an early dinner in town. I checked in with my husband and asked, “Do you mind if I go tonight and dinner for you is on your own?” He said, “Go! This is what you’ve been hoping for, to make connections and make new friends. Have fun!”
It was so good to get out of the house and enjoy a really delicious dinner cooked by an amazing chef. We laughed and shared our stories over a glass of wine. We got to know each other better and I’m so looking forward to connecting with them when we are paired up again.
It might feel a little strange to join a group you aren’t familiar with but the benefits are such a blessing. Making new friends, adding a structure and schedule to your life, sharing a meal, and doing things you love to do are just a few of the joys of being retired. I’m loving this!
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.