People Are Groupish
We join teams, leagues and fraternities. During the work years we join work groups, committees, trade and professional associations. We were a part of or interacted with groups of employees, vendors, and customers.
Then there are our major groups we belong to in the realm of politics and religion.
Groups helped define who we are. We take on group identities and work together to accomplish goals. Even though the chimp inside us is selfish, we can become good team players and motivate each other and accomplish things we can’t do by ourselves.
Turning to Retirement
When you retire, you leave behind some of your primary groups that were work related. They provided part of your identity, friends, structure and support and will need to be replaced with other groups to provide the same benefits in your retirement.
You hear from the experts that in retirement you need to find a new passion, make friends and get active both physically and mentally. But they don’t tell you how to do that.
Join A Group
Groups can still play a major role in your life. They can provide the structure to participate in both physical and mental activities while introducing you to potential new friends and socialization opportunities. They can help you fill your calendar with things you like to do! They can give you some fun things to look forward to. They can motivate you. Groups can serve a greater good and let you do things you can’t do by yourself.
How To Find Groups in Retirement
Start looking for some groups that sound interesting, something you like to do. Create the right mixture of groups to participate in, to create some balance in your life, that maybe was missing during the work years.
If you are aging in place, a great place to start is to visit your local “Active Adult” Senior Center. Don’t let your bias stop you. Go visit and ask for the Activities Schedule. I did this when I retired and ended up being on the activity committee. I joined the walking group on Tuesday and Thursday at 8am and played bocce M-W-F. I was in charge of the monthly dinner. Mary Ann enjoyed the yoga group. Mary Ann and I made new friends and had a great time at our senior center.
This inspired us to move to an Active Adult Community. This type of 55+ community is the poster child for groups and activities.
We have over 80 groups here at The Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb Community.
Active Adult Community Groups
This week I attended the forum club meeting that meets every Tuesday and we discussed Latin American. It was fun and I learned quite a bit.
Mary Ann and I are in the bocce league and we played two games yesterday afternoon. Each game was with different people and we have a schedule to play each of the seven teams twice. We all meet at the bocce courts each week and catch up, laugh and have a good time.
I joined Larry’s pickleball group, an informal group of us who learned to play pickleball together last year after taking the free class. Larry coordinates the schedule for the week among about 15 of us. This is one of my favorite activities because of the people and the game.
The Democratic group made me Treasurer so I get to keep the list of members and collect the dues. I get to attend the board meetings and the general meetings which I attended last Tuesday to hear a great speaker talk about the climate.
The week I also attended the Veterans Support Group meeting and heard a speaker and the club make plans to support a shelter in Winder for homeless veterans. I also got some tips about my own veterans’ benefits from this same group.
Two mornings a week I go to Lisa’s Cardio Sculpture class and really like it. It helps with core training which will help my race walking.
I used to go to the Coin Collectors group and the Creative Writers Group but both of those groups disbanded after many meeting. That opened up room for other groups.
Mary Ann loves going to The Culinary club with her friend Mary Lou and playing with her Hand and Foot card group every Tuesday. So we each have our own groups but we still share a lot of activities.
Before almost all of our friends were shared friends, but now each of us has friends in our groups.
Mary and I just booked a 10 day New England Fall Discovery Tour and will leave from the parking lot by the clubhouse and we will join 20 or 25 people from the community for this tour.
We have so many other groups we would like to join but our calendars are full at the present. Who knows, maybe after a while we will drop a group and add a group or two.
Meanwhile outside the community, I compete in Race Walking and am a member of the Atlanta Track Club and the USA Track & Field which I am on the race walking committee. So that is another group that I share activities with friends.
The Walking Group at the hospital next door invited me to come back and I understand the group still meets that I started last October! Maybe I will drop in this week for a walk with them. After The National Senior Games in June, maybe I will join them and get some members interested in Race Walking.
As you can see, groups have an important role in our retirement. If you are having trouble getting started in retirement, visit your Active Adult Senior Senior or find you an Active Adult Community to visit, to see what they offer. You will be glad you did.