“One step at a time towards embracing this next chapter will slowly build your confidence and bring wonderful experiences into your life once again.”
If you’re recently widowed or divorced or have otherwise found yourself over 60, single once again, and ready to mingle, the thought of getting back out there can be terrifying. It’s natural to be hesitant if you haven’t dated for decades and can’t imagine the thought of being with someone new.
However, keep in mind that there can be positives about starting over in later life. For example, you know who you are and what you want, you’re far less likely to take bad behaviour from others, and you probably have fewer responsibilities to juggle, leaving you more free time to explore new things.
If you’ve faced an unexpected setback which has left you in a position you never planned to be in, it’s helpful to have steps to get you back out there enjoying life again. Take your time and gradually dip your toe in the water by trialling a few different strategies.
For example, before you begin dating again, get out of your comfort zone by making some new friends. Many mature women have kept the same small group of friends for years and haven’t spent time in situations surrounded by different people for a very long time. Rectify this by getting off the couch and being more social. Don’t wait for someone to come knocking on your door to help you get back on your feet; it’s up to you to be proactive and open to making new connections.
If you’ve had to move recently, start exploring your new location. Become a regular at a local coffee shop or join a walking group that meets in your vicinity every week.
Another tip is to discover if there is a homeowners’ association or related group in your building or neighbourhood. Joining this type of organisation can be a great way to get to know people who live close to you and are therefore practical options to spend time with. You never know what kind of invitations you might receive from taking this step.
Another good way to make new friends is by exploring a hobby. For instance, join a bowls club, writers’ group, sewing circle, golf club or similar, or take a class in something you’d like to learn, such as a language. You can also examine community boards in your suburb to learn about interesting activities to test out.
By putting yourself out there to meet new people, you will gain more confidence and improve your social skills. Plus, just by mixing things up a bit, you’ll expand your social circle. You never know who you might meet – perhaps even the perfect partner.
It’s important, too, to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally, so you have more confidence to date, not to mention emotional resilience and clarity about what you want. By taking up a new exercise, as mentioned above, this can help with the physical side of things. You could also join a gym, do some yoga, swim regularly, or do Pilates. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it helps you to be active and feel good. Also make an effort to cook healthy meals, and to overhaul your diet if it needs it. Make one change every week and you’ll soon feel much better.
Take care of your emotional and mental wellbeing by doing some deep breathing whenever you start to get overwhelmed, and learn to meditate. You may also want to chat with family or friends about how you’re feeling and the changes you’re coping with, see a mental-health professional for support, and start journaling. Free-writing, keeping track of your emotions, and noting down three or more things you’re grateful for each day, for example, can make a big difference to your state of mind.
Travel is another way to get back out into the world. Make a bucket list, if you don’t already have one, of places you’d like to explore. Then, contact a travel agent for help with bookings. Remember that there are many excellent solo travel tours to join these days if you don’t feel confident going by yourself. These trips can provide you with not only a new lease on life as you see exciting parts of the world and experience new cultures, but can also provide you with an opportunity to meet other like-minded senior citizens.
One step at a time towards embracing this next chapter will slowly build your confidence and bring wonderful experiences into your life once again.When we enjoy our lives, it shows, inside and out. And, you never know who might notice you along the way!