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Meetups provide chance to meet kindred spirits

As I got ready to leave my nest, I sensed the call of my couch, my mystery book “Hangman’s Row Enquiry” and, of course, snuggles with my pug, Henry. My friend Shirley kept telling me about the meetups she enjoyed and the people she met there. The groups were relaxed and were created by people to share their love of hiking, sailing, bicycling and happy hours with kindred spirits.

I decided to start with a happy hour at Mahers in Lake Oswego. As it turned out Shirley was not available that night. I went anyway and kept telling myself that this was not a group date grope where I would have five minutes to introduce myself and hope to make a connection. Rather it was a gathering to get to know other singles and couples who were looking for connection.

And connection is very important to me. Henry, my pug, is a reliable companion and listens to me without judgment or comment. But I do seek human communication and play bridge, belong to two book groups, am a regular at estate and garage sales (really what is the difference?), dance with a NIA group, hike with friends and volunteer at the farmers’ market and most recently a consignment shop in Lake Oswego called Reruns. I do more, but you get the idea.

So why was I going to the meetup at Mahers? Shirley told me about a recent trip sailing on a 100-year-old schooner for a three-hour trip. I have never sailed on a schooner and my sea adventures have been on cruise ships and a 17-foot motor boat. She also mentioned theater, concert and travel groups. And I found out that some of the groups are devoted to rock climbing. Imagine that! We all know the way to stay young and avoid creaky joints and a rigid mind is to seek adventure and be open to new experiences. Of course I don’t know what my children would think. They take my elbow and gently help me to climb the bleachers at my grandchildren’s baseball games. I am cautioned about my driving skills especially when I am pulling into traffic. I wonder if that is why they always want to drive.

Most groups require a photo and some basic information to join. I have noticed that a lot of social sites want pictures. Perhaps someone with a white beard and missing teeth might be encouraged to join a more suitable group, but I doubt it and don’t worry about it because I have my teeth. However, I do find it hard to hear in large groups and have the habit of leaning into the direction of the speaker which may be a giveaway about some aggravations of aging especially when I can’t hear and thus remember some of the names.

As I told a close friend, I can hear best when I am listening to myself talk out loud at home. But I intend to continue to explore the meetups. I check out the pictures of the group members so that I will be prepared if I find myself climbing Smith Rocks with a 21-year-old. I want to live my life with energy, openness and laughter. Yes, I will have to learn to twitter and tweet and that will be a challenge, but I am up for it. The possibilities are endless.

Joan Waldron is a member of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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