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March 15, 2022

 

Hi there, 

 
Last weekend I held a Zoom memorial for my friend Lonnie who died of cancer in February. It was the only way to get her friends together since we live all over the country and the world. I’d hosted Zoom meetings before but never a Zoom memorial, and I doubt anyone who attended had ever been to a Zoom memorial either. So we improvised. I wish I’d known Zoom well enough to put up photos, but that exceeded my technical expertise. About ten of us showed up. I figured we’d just tell stories about Lonnie, and that’s what we did. It was moving, tear-inducing, funny (because Lonnie was funny), and healing. Everyone thanked me for doing it.

Ironically, I have the pandemic to thank for this amazing event. If it weren’t for two years of forced isolation, Lonnie’s friends—all of us in our seventies—would never have learned to use Zoom. The pandemic drove us apart, but it also brought us together in unexpected ways.

I’m Erica Manfred, Geezer Geek, Snarky Senior, and author of I’m Old so Why Aren’t I Wise? I moved to Florida alone in my trusty Ford Focus seven years ago from upstate New York and haven’t regretted it. I’ve always written about my life, and now that I’m old, aging and ageism are what I care about most. I’m writing this newsletter as part of the event platform Life Experienced. Each week, I’ll be exploring what matters to us later in life, from finding community to nuts-and-bolts stuff like figuring out our phones. I’ll also be interviewing inspiring seniors. Know someone we should feature? Email us at Info@LifeExperienced.com or join us on Facebook.  

How to find younger friends in your older years

 

I will not sugarcoat the reality here: It’s HARD to make friends as you age, especially younger friends. We live in an age-segregated society where ageism is rampant. Most of us stick to our own kind for a reason—people our own age are most likely to accept us as equals, and we’re in the same stage of life, in our case dealing with retirement, with health issues, and with grown children and grandchildren. That said, it’s incredibly rewarding to have younger friends. They bring a fresh and entirely new perspective. And intergenerational friendships are good for your health—physical and mental—according to this article.

When I moved to Florida, I met a group of younger friends through a Horror and Sci-Fi Movie Meetup group I joined because no one my age wanted to go to horror movies, which I love. I became the group’s honorary “Disco Sally” (the 77-year-old who became famous for clubbing every night at Studio 54 in the 1970s), an experience that I wrote about here. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to our parties and events. My closest friends remain, for the most part, my own age.

But I still enjoy hanging out with younger people, and I’m always on the lookout for more opportunities.

So how do you find younger friends, much less keep them? Anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite suggests, “Find something you like to do and find people of all ages to do it with.” Here are some ideas:
 

  • Volunteer with a political campaign. Many young people work for candidates, and you wind up working with people of all ages. I was paired with a young man to register voters, which was great fun. I learned a lot from him on how to approach strangers.
  • Join Meetup.com or search for events at LifeExperienced.com. Look for meetups that aren’t exclusive to your age group, like book clubs, movie groups, trivia groups, and game nights. Consider widening your interests to areas that attract young people, like horror movies, computer games, or hiking and biking if you’re able.
  • Become a mentor. Traditionally, the old and young interact through mentorship. The virtue of age is that you have wisdom to impart to the younger generation. MENTOR is an organization that matches mentors with mentees, but there may be other organizations in your area. Many mentors become friends with their mentees after the mentoring period ends.
  • Get involved with your church, your synagogue, or other faith-based organizations. Join a committee with young people on it that’s active in the community. Working together toward a common goal is the best way to get to know people of any age.
  • Join local groups on social media. Facebook has groups for just about every location in the country, and Nextdoor will hook you up with a local group when you put in your address. Sometimes online connections can turn into IRL get-togethers.
  • Invite a young neighbor over for tea. Unless you’re in a senior community, we all have younger neighbors. Extending a friendly invite can be very welcome.
  • Get a dog. It’s the best way to meet other dog owners of all ages. Hang out in the dog park; you’ll have an instant topic of conversation.  
  • Be intentional. Intergenerational friendships can be awkward. You may have to risk rejection to make one happen. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but someone has to do it. 

If you have trouble connecting with young people, don’t blame them. Consider an attitude adjustment. The biggest complaint young people have about us old folks is that we don’t listen to them and that we tend to lecture. I’ve heard this from my daughter (not about me of course 😊) and seen similar complaints online. Treat young people with respect and show interest in their lives, and a friendship of equals may blossom.

Life Experienced featured event

 

Low-impact workout
Thursday, March 24
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET

Get moving and grooving with exercise physiologist Velma Garnes. Velma will lead a 30-minute workout to get your heart rate up—without hurting your joints. With a warm-up, fun cardio session, and stretching, this workout is perfect for all fitness levels!
RSVP
This event is brought to you by Life Experienced and hosted by one of our ambassadors.

Meet the dancing queen, Sue 

At age 59, Sue decided to take burlesque for a spin (and a twirl). The result? A new passion that keeps Sue active and fills up her cup. Watch her full video to get her advice for trying something new.

Partner spotlight

At Online Meditation Events (OME), we strive to help people find their true nature and inner peace through meditation. Our meditation method teaches people how to de-stress and calm the mind. We can create a more harmonious world by helping one person at a time.

OME is a nonprofit born out of our worldwide meditation organization. When the pandemic began, our centers started holding online guided meditation classes. We hold monthly donation-based retreats and give 50 percent of the donations to other charities. Visit us at OnlineMeditationEvents.com.

What to read

I was inspired by the stories of Ukrainian elders ready to fight the Russians alongside their children and grandchildren. Here is one story about a 79-year-old great-grandmother taking combat training. “Valentyna Konstantynovska has begun civilian combat training held by the Ukrainian National Guard. ‘I'm ready to shoot. If something happens, I will defend my home, my city, my children,’ she told ITV News. ‘I will do this because I think I'm ready for it. I don't want to lose my country, my city.’”

Become a partner

Does your organization reach a community of older adults? Get in touch with us for information on amplifying your events and activities on the platform and expanding the Life Experienced service to your network. There is no cost to partnering. Get in touch with us here: https://lifeexperienced.com/become-a-partner.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. And if you want to chime in with your two cents on what this newsletter should include, email us at Info@LifeExperienced.com

Until next time, 
Erica  
 
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