Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Importance of Friendships

Today I’d like to blog about the importance of friendships.  However, before I do, I want to tell you about a website someone mentioned in response to my last blog on Volunteering.  It’s called:  VolunteerMatch.org.  I haven’t used it personally, but you can check it out.  Now, on to friendships.  Friendships are important to everyone.  However, they’re especially important to Boomers and Seniors.  It’s all too easy to feel depressed and isolated when we get to that stage of our lives.  Friendships will help ease those feelings.  Friends will care about you.  Friends will share your good times.  Friends will help you when you need help.  Friends will talk you through hard times and will be there to listen.  Sometimes, having a good listener is all we need.  And, always remember to be a friend back.  If you’re lucky enough to have long-term friends, don’t ignore them.  Remember to cultivate them, even if it’s just an occasional phone call to ask how they’re doing, or even an email reminding them that you’re thinking about them.  You might not have friends or many friends or enough friends for a variety of reasons such as:  you’ve moved to a new location; your old friends have moved away or died; your former friends have found new interests that don’t include you; you were never very good at making friends, etc.  Here are a few suggestions on making new friends.  Attend groups or join organizations.   Don’t be afraid to approach someone you meet there and just start talking to them about the group interest, or about admiring what they’re wearing, or just about anything.  People are usually flattered by your interest.   Of course, some might not be, or might even be rude or ignore you.  You won’t know why.  Maybe life’s not easy for them, either, or they don’t feel well or don’t hear well.  It’s easy to let an unpleasant encounter deflate you.  Try hard not to give up.  Go on to another person.  Sometimes, when you go to a new group, people already have their cliques.  It’s hard to break into a clique.  Keep at it.  There are usually some group members who don’t stick to that clique mindset, and you might engage one of them.  I have a friend who moved to a large retirement community.  She found it very cliquish.  It took her a few months to start making friends.  She was quite discouraged at first, but she kept at it and now has several new friends.  Seek out special interest activities that attract a lot of people.  You might see them posted at senior centers, schools for seniors, libraries, and in senior magazines and online newsletters, etc.  Always keep networking by asking neighbors, acquaintances and others about activities they might recommend or have heard of.  If you like outdoors activities, look for local walking or hiking groups.  I’m a long-time member of the Sierra Club, and I’ve made many wonderful friends through their activities.  Volunteering (which I blogged about in my last post) is another good way to find friends.  If you attend a religious organization, look for their affiliated senior groups.  I’ve mentioned meet-up groups in previous blogs.  Go online to meetup.com.  Look for a group near you which focuses on something that interests you.  You’ll meet like-minded people there, and possibly make a friend.  One caveat:  friendships are fragile, so don’t just make it all about you; you must give as well as take.  The opportunities are there.  The hard part is motivating yourself to take the first step.  You have to do that, however, to yield results.  As I’ve said before:  if it’s hard, DO IT ANYWAY!  Please forward this blog to anyone who might be interested.  To read my previous blogs, find “Archives” on the right side of the page and click on those dated entries.  If you’d like to contact me to make a comment or to be added to my email list for notification of my future blog postings, click on this link to my book website:  AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and then click on the “Contacts and Links” tab.

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Idea #6 to Help Baby Boomers and Seniors Find a Passion (Volunteering)

Volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved in an interesting activity and to give back to the community at the same time.  Another benefit is that you can make new friends who enjoy the same activity that you do.  There are so many volunteering opportunities available in every community–enough to fit every personality type and comfort level.  The secret is to volunteer at something that is interesting and exciting to you.  That way, it can become a passion and motivate you to embrace life (a theme I stress repeatedly in my speeches and blogs).  Are you a people-person?  If so, then you might choose a pursuit that brings you in contact with people such as at the help desk at a hospital, museum, police or sheriff department, etc.  I’m a people-person and I love to perform.  I, also, I love science and animals, and I live close to the world famous La Brea Tar Pits.  So, I guide tour groups around the La Brea Tar Pits and inside its concomitant Page Museum.  My group talk is like performing a monologue in front of an audience.  My group members are all so appreciative, and I love the experience.  It’s definitely a win-win for everyone involved.  I had to study hard to learn my subject, but I’m passionate about it and it’s been very rewarding.  Maybe you’re a one-on-one person.  My dog and I used to be a pet-therapy team visiting patients at a local hospital.  Maybe you’re the reserved, private type.  There are lots of behind-the-scenes volunteer activities.  I have a friend who used to volunteer in the “bone room” of the local Natural History Museum sorting ancient animal bones.  Maybe you like children.  I have another friend who volunteered in a classroom at a nearby grammar school.  Do you like animals?  There are lots of volunteer opportunities at local animal shelters or animal rescue organizations.  I have another friend who used to be a tour guide at the zoo.  If you like art, check out the local art museum.  Here are a few more ideas where you might volunteer:  public gardens, local festivals, theaters, aquariums, senior centers, etc.  Just drive around your town and see what piques your interest.  Then, get on the phone, call them, and ask if they are seeking volunteers.  Better yet, go in person.  Ask friends, acquaintances, neighbors or the librarian for ideas of where to volunteer.  I know it may be difficult, embarrassing or uncomfortable, but as I’ve said before:  If it’s hard, do it anyway!   NOTES:  My next author talk/book signing for my memoir:  Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, will be on November 18, 2013, 7:00pm, at the Cerritos Library, 18025 Bloomfield Ave, Cerritos, CA 90703.  Join me there if you can, and be sure to come up and introduce yourself.  Please forward my blog to anyone you think might be interested.  It’s easy to read my previous blogs.  Just scroll down a bit and you will see “Archives” on the right side of the page.  Click on those entries and there they are!  If you’d like to contact me or be added to my email list for notification of my future blog postings, click on this link to my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and then click on the “Contacts & Links” tab.

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