Besides needing enough financial and health assets to continue to live independently, you also need to keep watch over your social capital. In Blue Zones like Okinawa, Japan, there is an extraordinary cultural practice of being assigned to a group of friends at birth that will be in your inner circle all through life. Being part of a Moai ( pronounced Mo eye) , insures you of a lifelong social network of emotional and financial support. Change is so much the hallmark of our American society, it is hard to imagine this working. Or someone would sue to be removed.
I anticipated that after the finding the affordable, accessible house in an age friendly county, the biggest challenge would be to leave /yet hold on to old friends at a geographic distance and reach out to make new friends. I was right about that. This is where the ads for the standard retirement communities chime in about making new friends with your new activities. Personalities, politics and preferences aside, there will be more people to rub elbows with.
But that I think what is the hallmark and challenge of our generation is making new friends and acquaintances as we age. We have diverse political ideas, food habits, how we view and value money. We have different levels of health and wellness. As we get older maybe these differences seem more pronounced. The expression, set in our ways sometimes just means separate ways. We are certainly not birds of a feather but it should not mean we isolate from or avoid ech other.
What is the price of staying socially isolated..from some studies say 7.5 years are added if there is a lack of social interaction. In this modern age, define social interaction. There is email, texting, tweeting, Sky-ping, We -Chat and the vast horizon of Facebook , Linked-in ,Google + and other social media platforms.
But how do you manage to find the new friends to share an activity or face to face time? So what do you do if you have moved and are looking to add to your social capital? Depending on the size of your city, beyond church and community groups, you can go to another wonder of the internet.
Websites like http://www.meetup.com/ byline- Find your people, is very rich in opportunities to at least check it out as they say. In my own community I have found groups to hike with, discuss business startups, web design and concerns about urban development . There are gatherings of every imaginable configuration of people you can think of single, married, newly divorced, empty nesters and more.
But I know that it can be slow. Just as one of the main reasons I started this website was to connect people both locally and across the web, older folks can be hesitant and shy. I see my readership growing everyday but I am still have to work my old brain to find a more comfortable way for people to connect.
We all have a lot of history behind us and probably more time ahead of us than we know. So please realize that seeking and finding the new friends, while holding dear to old friends can be a like long hike in the woods, you never know what is around the next bend.