By Tom Blake
One of the themes I often mention in my columns is the importance of social interaction for seniors.
I strongly urge seniors to get off the couch, out of the house and become involved in activities in which they will make new friends and rediscover old friends. By getting out, loneliness, which is prevalent among single seniors, will likely lessen.
And getting out of the house is imperative for senior singles who hope to meet a potential mate. And chances are, the people they meet will likely live within a reasonable distance from them, making seeing each other more convenient. Long-distance relationships for single seniors are nearly impossible to sustain.
It’s also important for seniors who aren’t single to socially interact as well. Medical studies have proven that social interaction is good for one’s health. Here are some social interactions I’ve recently experienced.
On Thursday mornings, at the Heritage Park Doris Walker lookout in Dana Point, I attend a tai chi class taught by Dana Point resident Ron Cohan. It’s free and open to anybody, not just residents of Dana Point.
At a recent session, a woman came up to me and said, “It’s nice to see you again.” She looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember from where or when.
A little embarrassed, I said, “Remind me how we know each other.”
She shared her name and said, “You introduced me about 35 years ago to a friend of yours at Tutor and Spunky’s, your Dana Point deli. He and I dated for a while.” She wouldn’t tell me his name.
I gave her my business card and said if she wanted, we could meet for coffee sometime, and she could elaborate on the man she had met. We never would have seen each other if we both weren’t socially interacting at Ron’s tai chi class.
And speaking of Tutor and Spunky’s, which is still operating under new owners at the corner of Blue Lantern and PCH, I stopped by for a sandwich last week and was pleased to see my first two employees, Teresa and Rosa, still working part-time.
Each has been there for 36 years. They were chatting with a customer named Maria. When Maria saw me, she said, “Tom, I knew you when I used to come here 30 years ago.” She proceeded to show me photos of her children and grandchildren.
Two weeks ago, a friend and I went to the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts concert venue to listen to a Motown-era band. We, along with lots of other people, were dancing among the tables and having a great time.
Another couple was seated nearby and smiled at us as we danced. As the concert was winding down, the man said, “You are Tom Blake.”
I said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “You and I worked together 40 years ago.”
“Where?” I replied.
“In Oakland. We both worked for the Oakland Invaders of the United States Football League (USFL) in March and April 1983, the league’s inaugural year. You were the marketing/sales guy who got people to purchase game tickets.”
I was taken aback. How could anybody remember what I did so long ago? I can barely remember the USFL.
I said, “What did you do for the Invaders?”
He replied, “I was the punter on the team.”
I was dumbstruck. We shook hands. He said, “I’m Stan Talley, and this is my wife, Cynthia.” Cynthia and my friend had been chatting and already had become pals.
Turns out that Stan and Cynthia live in Niguel Shores in Dana Point, a mile from where I live in Monarch Beach.
These fun encounters show what can happen when seniors include social interaction in their daily routines. You never know whom you are going to meet.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.