We have a lot of snowbirds down in the Mesa Arizona area and when you only stay in a community for 4 to 6 months you want to make the most of that time. Getting involved quickly and early is the key to really enjoying your retirement years or even just a few months each year. Rather than letting it take half the time you’re down here to get settled in and really enjoy your life, use these 5 steps to getting involved early and truly enjoying the Arizona area while the rest of the country is under a blanket of snow.
#1. Meet the neighbors.
If you are an introvert this can be one of the scariest moves you can make, but I promise you, it will pay off. You don’t have to bug your neighbors by knocking on everyone’s door all hours of the day and night, but a simple wave, smile, or striking up a conversation when you see them outside gardening or washing their cars often the best way to get to know your neighbors.
If you like to bake or cook, consider making a batch of cookies and just stopping in to say hello, who you are, and if your neighbors can count on you for anything they might need. This is a great way to share community. Perhaps you will be gone for a couple of days and need someone to watch the cat or your fish, perhaps they need someone to water the plants if they’re gone on vacation for a week or two. This is a good way to create community, meet your neighbors, and find like-minded individuals.
#2. Talk to the Association about volunteering.
Most 55+ communities or active adult communities around Mesa Arizona have active social calendars and homeowner associations. Speak to the board or those involved with the Association and find out where you can utilize your talents. Perhaps they have meal trains for individuals undergoing surgery, maybe you can organize the weekly game night, perhaps you can create a shopping day and volunteer to drive the bus. See what kind of volunteer opportunities are available and lend a helping hand when you can.
#3. Register for and attend events.
This can be awkward, especially if you don’t know anyone in the community, but the more you attend these events, the better you feel and more comfortable you’ll be around other people. If you’ve done #1 first, you may even meet people you’ve already spoken to, which will make you feel a little more comfortable. Volunteering at a lot of these events can also be a great way to ease the awkwardness because you have a job, something to fall back on instead of standing around waiting to talk to someone.
#4. Ask for advice.
Simply asking where the best place for a hamburger is, often seafood, or an area was good nightlife can put you in touch with like-minded people and give you something to talk about. Are you a foodie, wine connoisseur, sushi expert, musical lover, concertgoer? All of these activities can lead to finding like-minded individuals or couples and strike up conversations that can otherwise seem awkward.
#5. Throw a housewarming party.
If you are an extrovert, this is a great way to find similar people in your area or just introduce yourself. Put up signs at the local clubhouse and take a walk around your neighborhood several times a week telling people about the event, who you are, and what you are doing here. You’ll find other extroverts excited to attend your party and strike up conversations about your life and your history.