By Janine Sjostrom
Things were different when I was growing up. Families made meals at home, and ate together. Neighbors knew each other, and looked out for each other. Sunday was a day to attend church, enjoy a family Sunday dinner, and then get together with extended family and friends. It was a time when people collected their thoughts… and shared them in letters. And they actually called each other when they had something important to talk about. Plus, families and friends tended to live within driving distance, and visited frequently.
Over the years, it seems we’ve lost much of that sense of community, or, at best, it has changed. Yes…our Facebook and texting friends are part of our community, but can our digital relationships begin to replace the face to face community we grew up with? I’d like to think that we can balance the connectivity of today’s digital environment with that real-life sense of community we experienced as children.
Fortunately, today’s retirement generation has options that didn’t exist when we were growing up. Retirement communities, like New Mexico’s Jubilee Los Lunas, have sprung up all over the nation, giving us amazing opportunities to develop new, meaningful and lasting personal relationships… and have a lot of fun along the way!
Rather than looking at retirement as a time to wind down and retreat into a cocoon-like existence in the home in which we raised our children, active adult communities give us a renewed sense of energy, with things to do, place to go, and people to do it all with.
Let’s face it. Retirement can be lonely. Depressing. Boring. But all that changes when we become residents of an active adult community! New friends and new experiences become a new way of life. There’s simply no reason to be bored, lonely or depressed.
Plus, residents of active adult communities tend to be more fit and stay healthier than those who live alone. After all, there’s a lot to do! Take Jubilee for example. Swimming, working out, bocce ball, tennis, pickleball, basketball, hiking and biking are just a few of the many activities to choose from on a daily basis.
And the social interaction at Jubilee and similar communities can lift spirits and add purpose to our lives as we develop new relationships, new friendships, and a new, vibrant and ever-expanding sense of community. Classes, clubs, music groups, dance groups, mahjong, poker, billiards, parties and other activities give us reasons to connect, bond and reconnect.
Community. Whether we consciously think about it or not, it’s something most of us need and want. As we consider our retirement years, we owe it to ourselves to weigh our options and explore the possibilities offered to us in an active adult community. After all, our retirement years should be the best years of our lives!