Make new connections

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Where to meet people who like doing things you like doing

When we’re kids, making new friends is easy. They’re built right into our neighborhoods, classrooms and after-school clubs. But as we get older, raise families and focus on work, our opportunities to connect with new people becomes more of a challenge. If we’re lucky, we have neighbors and colleagues we genuinely enjoy spending time with, but inviting new friendships into our lives is still a refreshing and life-enhancing way to expand our horizons. One of the best ways to meet new people is to try new things and to find people who like doing the things we’re already passionate about, whether that’s reading, hiking or dining out.

The story on page 12 about Osher Lifelong Learning Institute highlights the value of lifelong learning, both because it’s engaging for our brains, but also because the array of classes are ideal places to meet likeminded people.

Here are some other ideas:

MEETUP.COM

Meetup.com allows anyone to organize a group based around a common interest, whether that’s exploring new restaurants, creative writing or meeting people who also love dogs. There’s a Maine-based Ski Boomers group on the site geared toward skiers who are 50-plus and a singles group for people in their 40s and 50s. Plus plenty of groups of people of all ages who are interested in sharing their love of yoga, books and the Maine outdoors. FMI: meetup.com

MAINE OUTDOOR ADVENTURE CLUB

If you’re an outdoors lover, look into the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club. While its membership is open to people of all ages, this all-volunteer organization leans older. It’s open to outdoors people ranging from beginner to expert, runs all year and includes a range of events every month, including hiking, biking, skiing and weekend getaways. FMI: www.moac.org

TEAM SPORTS

Maybe you were the star of your high school basketball team. Maybe you didn’t used to play sports at all. There are a host of local teams geared toward players who are 50 and over, including a senior softball league and senior basketball team for women. Or pick up pickleball, a growing sport that’s akin to tennis, but played on a smaller court with paddles and a plastic ball. There are leagues all over the state.

FMI pickleball: www.usapa.org/places-to-play-pickleball
FMI: softball: www.leaguelineup.com/senior-softball-portland-me
FMI women’s basketball: maineseniorwomensbasketball.com

VOLUNTEER

Make new connections and do some good around you by volunteering with a local organization that does work you care about. You can also reach out to agencies like the Southern Maine Agency on Aging and see where they could use help. If you’re experienced in the business arena (still working in business or retired), volunteer your time as a mentor at a local SCORE chapter and lend your expertise to people who are starting and growing small businesses. FMI on Southern Maine Agency on Aging: www.smaaa.org/volunteer.html, SCORE Maine: www.scoremaine.org

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