Adding another voice to Sunset Years: guest writer Linda Richardson outlines one strategy in her retirement transition.
When my husband and I retired and moved to Victoria BC in May, 2014, I knew I would miss family members, great neighbours and dear friends. What I really didn’t think about was how I would replace those relationships.
Initially, we did lots of exploring together — walking, hiking and visiting various golf courses. However, I realized it would be important to try to establish separate identities. I wasn’t sure where to start to meet some compatible “gal-pals”. When I was raising a family and employed, it was relatively easy to meet and make new friends through our children’s schools or their activities or through my work. In addition, many old friends were close at hand since I was living in a city near to where I grew up and where I took most of my post-secondary education. Within a fairly short period of time, my husband found a compatible group of golfers who have become good friends as well as golf-mates. Interestingly, age was not a factor in his choice — he is the youngest by seven years.
Serendipity intervened to help me. Former neighbours of ours were in Victoria visiting a friend of theirs whom I had met a few times. This friend, who was also relatively new to the city, encouraged me to join the Newcomers’ Club of Greater Victoria (NCGV), that has more than 200 women in it. The slogan for this wonderful organization says it all: “Where friendships flourish and adventures await.” NCGV has allowed me to meet many warm, funny, spirited and talented women from across Canada and the globe, to get to know Victoria’s beautiful parks and trails, its history and heritage buildings, and to feel at home on the Island.
Although I have a husband to help in the transition to our new city, I’ve been amazed to meet, through the Club, many single, widowed and divorced women who bravely moved themselves from all around the world to Victoria. They too tell me the Newcomers’ Club has been a godsend in terms of making friends instead of feeling isolated in a new city.
For the past three years, I have immersed myself in Committee work and then in Executive positions with NCGV. Since I believe volunteering constitutes an important part of my retirement, these roles have certainly helped me fulfill that goal. As the Club only allows members to stay for four years (needing to make room for more newcomers!), I will move on after next year. But I will always be grateful for the hand-up and stepping stone that NCGV gave me in my transition to retirement living. I hope readers who face a similar situation will make use of associations in their new cities or towns.
NCGV is part of the National Newcomers Association of Canada, which includes 65 clubs across Canada.
Meetup brings people together to do things they enjoy. Whether for wine tasting, walking, writing, this association boasts 30.3 million members in 182 countries, with 600,000 meetups monthly. •