Top of the Bay Boomers
Besides my foray into the online dating world ( See Dating for Seniors) and “Stitching the Ins and Outs of Dating as a Senior”, I’ve been stretching my world to include face to face outings. Now, for city slickers, that may not be a hard thing to do since you have lots of people in a small area. However, for us rural seniors, we are kind of isolated with long distances to the market, bars, etc. So it’s a lot harder to meet other single people or find activities to do.
I started exploring the single face to face world by going to the Senior Centers. However, I found the clientele there at least 10 years older than me, and in many cases 20 years older. In addition, their tastes in music focused on music of the 1930’s & ’40’s with their idols being of that time period as well. And while I revere the heroes of that time period, my soul was craving folks with interests similar to mine, and music more from the 60’s, 70’s and upward.
I was feeling kind of lost until someone suggested to look up Meetup.com. When I did, I was amazed! There was a whole social world out there of things to do for all ages! The idea was to find others with the same interests as you, and meet together to explore that interest. There were game playing groups for families, hiking groups for all ages, computer-based groups, widowed groups, theater groups, sports groups of all types, pet groups, and you name it, there was “a group for that”. And those groups could be narrowed to zip codes, so giving only those within a certain mile limit from your location, so you could find things closer to do. I narrowed my search to “single seniors”, “baby boomers”, and hit on several within a 100-mile radius of me. I looked at a single women’s group in Baltimore, but most of their activities were south of Baltimore or closer to D.C. And while I LOVE my sisterhood, I also needed to explore how to relate to single men. In addition, every activity they were suggesting was over an hour drive one way for me. The drive to the activity didn’t worry me, it was the drive home later, in the dark, through challenging high-speed highways and strange parts of the city alone that was scary. There was another group an hour away from me toward Delaware, which was still 45 minutes away but at least it was across an open country road most of the way. There was another group an hour away from me toward Delaware, which was still 45 minutes away but at least it was across an open country road most of the way.
So I took my bravery in hand, traveled the 45 minutes to the meetup which happened to be a Happy Hour in a bar, and hung out for a little while talking with strangers. Not an exciting evening, but not boring, and I was proud of myself for making the first steps. The second one was a little more fun in that it was listening to a band at a bar, with dancing. Almost everyone danced the fast dances, but the slow dances were a little lonely. The ratio of men to women was about 2 men to every 8-10 women. So the men were kept busy, but some of us women just sat out the slow dances. The men seemed to focus on their favorites. But at least I was getting exercise. Bar scenes were not my forte, so I was a little disappointed, but the people I met seemed nice. The next activity was a play at the Community College near me with dinner afterward at a local restaurant, I went to that event. That event was the best so far. The play was good, but being able to talk with people and really get to know them without competing with loud music was nice.
A really fun event was the Holiday dance where 3 different meetup groups from the area got together and held the event. There were 100 seniors attending, with 60 women to 40 men, and included dinner. Some people in the group were going to have a PJ party in rooms at the hotel afterward since they had so far to travel. I had a blast at the dance and even hung out for a little while afterward at the bar, but didn’t stay for the PJ party.
After that, I was getting tired of the traveling alone, so decided to start my own meetup group closer to home. I figured I was going to do things by myself, so why not advertise and see if anyone else wanted to do that same activity. Since it was the holiday season, I figured people would be busy with shopping and family, but thought I’d start any. So Top of the Bay Single Boomers was born. I posted my first event which was a planning meeting at a local restaurant to talk about what activities we should plan. Within a week, 22 people had signed up with the group, but only four came for the planning meeting.
I felt that I wanted this group to be focused on doing activities rather than just hanging out at a bar. So I planned ice skating, bowling, Trivia night @ a restaurant, dinner and a movie, Theatre trips and dinner. The events I planned had anywhere from one to four people attending, all women. The most successful one was a hike that was attended by two women who I’ve become good friends with and we now attend the activities further away together.
One of the activities we attended was with a new meetup called Starting Over 50 – Widowed or Divorced , which has a different format yet that is encouraging. In this meetup, which is more like a support group, people meet together over dinner, snacks or just drinks, and discuss the challenges, pitfalls, and successes of Starting over at this age. The ratio of men to women there was 5 men to 8 women, but the discussions were relevant to all. One conclusion I came to from the discussion was that both men and women hate the dating game, and just want to hang out together.
Now that spring has sprung, Top of the Bay Single Boomers has planned quite a few activities through the summer, and is posting them on the Stitch site, as well as their own site, and the Starting Over 50 – Widowed or Divorced group page. It looks like we’ve got more participants than ever, so hopefully the groups will grow.
My conclusion in this process so far, people our age want basically what our parents had with Senior Centers… a place at this age to hang out and gather and socialize, maybe travel. But this generation has more energy and wants to be going out and doing more. I think the Meetups and Stitch Activities are this generation’s “Senior Centers”. And if relationships develop from “hanging out” together…. then they can avoid some of the stress of the dating rituals.
So any of my senior friends out there that are looking for activities…. check out the websites above and come join me in having fun wherever I’m at!
What does dating mean at this stage of life? See these other entries