The Social Network: Building Friendships for Empty Nesters
Research has suggested that maintaining an active social life can help men and women maintain healthy cognition as they age. However, there are much more immediate benefits to building or keeping a network of friends in your golden years, especially if you're an empty nester who's found yourself with time on your hands.
Life is more enjoyable when you have something to look forward to. As such, having friends to make plans with or being part of a club with people who have shared interests may improve your quality of life, as well as give you a support network in which to confide and share discussion. After all, many of your peers are probably also dealing with the changes that come along with an empty nest or have done so in the past.
Where to begin? Think about some of the people who you used to hang out with and consider giving them a call. They will likely be happy to hear from you, and you'll have a lot to catch up on right away. These can be college friends, the parents of your kids' buddies or even a neighbor with whom you've dropped the habit of greeting each morning.
If you're building a social network from scratch, begin by considering your interests. Perhaps joining a book club is the way to go. Don't worry about having to start your own. Many local libraries or community centers have established book clubs that you can join. Clubs of any sort—from running to crafting—are a great way to meet people while indulging in your hobbies.
Additionally, joining an adult education class can help you expand your mind as well as your social network. Consider learning a language, taking a computer class or signing up for a sewing class. The classroom is a great atmosphere for building friendships because you all have something in common.
With the hustle and bustle of getting your kids through high school, you may have stopped attending church services. Perhaps it's time to revisit your faith-based community, even if your spiritual beliefs have changed. Sermons are often inspirational and get everyone in a positive mood to start the week.