Community involvement goes a long way when it comes to creating new relationships

On Life and Love After 50 by Tom Blake
On Life and Love After 50 by Tom Blake

By Tom Blake

I love it when older singles contact me with a question or a comment after reading one of my “On Life and Love After 50” columns in The Capistrano Dispatch, Dana Point Times, or San Clemente Times. The readers don’t always agree with what I wrote, but I appreciate them responding.

They often say something like, “I was at my hair salon, or at a shopping mall, or my doctor’s office, or maybe even at a friend’s house and read your article.”

Which is why, on Dec. 30, I was at the Starbucks across from the Mission San Juan Capistrano, discussing the tri-city senior dating scene with Jim, a 69-year-old divorcée. Jim had read an article in The Capistrano Dispatch and thought I might be able to suggest where to meet quality senior women in and around South Orange County.

While he and I were discussing the importance of older singles getting out of the house and becoming involved in activities, I spotted my friend, Ann Ronan, sitting at a window table.

Ann is well known in San Juan Capistrano—she owns San Juan Capistrano Travel, has been a Chamber of Commerce board member since 2012, is a board member of the Friends of the Library, and is also a docent at the Mission.

I introduced Ann to Jim; Ann told him she met her husband Ted online nine years ago. Learning that piqued Jim’s interest, as he hadn’t had much luck in the online dating arena.

Ann also said that attending Chamber of Commerce mixers and events in all three south county cities is a great way to meet new people.

Jim enjoys riding his bike and said meeting people along the bike trails isn’t easy, but there is always a chance that he can make some new friends there as well.

By coincidence, later that night, I received an email from a woman named Yoko, who said, “I recently started receiving your weekly online newsletter and I have to say those newsletters are a ‘hoot.’” Of course, Yoko’s comment got my attention, so I read further.

She said, “I am 61 and just moved to SJC and am having the time of my life. OC is raining men! I have met so many wonderful people and even though I have finally narrowed my dating to one man, I keep in touch with others as I value their friendships.

“Senior dating is about the attitude. If you grumble and complain all the time, who wants to be around you? Tell those singles out there to be positive, happy, active and volunteer in programs that help those less fortunate than you.”

Yoko’s next comment surprised me: “I’ve discovered great biking trails and hiking is fantastic in OC. ‘Silver Sneakers,’ (the age 65+ exercise group she observes when she is at 24 Hour Fitness) is a blast, and I volunteer in a homeless outreach and a food pantry through my church. Meetup.com (an online activity website, not a dating site) is also a great place to meet people.

“I belong to Sunset to Sunrise Hikers and there are three to five hikes every day. The Saturday Hike with Mike along Dana Point Strand and Salt Creek is a great place for a man to meet ladies.”

Yoko even offered to be Jim’s “bike friend” if he wants to road bike (no off-road bike trails for her). I shared Yoko’s comments with Jim.

Another great place for seniors to make new acquaintances is in the Emeritus program at Saddleback College. The courses offered there are free to seniors.

Yoko is right. Single seniors hoping to meet other singles just need to get out and involved in our tri-city area as she has done with so much energy and enthusiasm.

Here’s to Yoko, Jim, and all the tri-city senior singles, in 2017.

Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites at www.findingloveafter50.com; www.vicsta.com and www.travelafter55.com. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at www.FindingLoveAfter50.com. Email: tompblake@gmail.com.

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