Love at my age? Are you kidding?

Well, no. I’m quite serious. Where is it written that love is reserved for the young? That people who are past middle age are immune to falling in love. That happiness and romantic love decline with age. Those ideas are quite simply false. In fact, there is growing evidence that the best years are in the second half of life.

According to Francine Russo, author of Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It,Studies show that love after fifty is more satisfying than at any other stage in life. At this stage,” Russo writes, “you are more emotionally stable and more focused on the present; you know what you absolutely have to have, but also what you can live without.”

Of course, love in your later years will be different from what you remember from the past. It probably won’t be as intense or exciting, as passionate or hormonal as when you were young. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be tender or intimate or satisfying or fun.

According to Psychology Today, “The happiness associated with intense love is excitement; the happiness associated with profound, mature love can be described as peacefulness (calmness) and serenity.” So, if that sounds appealing, at least, keep an open mind on the subject.

If, like most people, you’ve spent more than a year sequestered due to COVID, you are probably ready to get out into the world and reinvigorate your social life. If that includes dating and you are wondering where to begin, here are five ideas for meeting people.

  1. Think about the traits you would like a potential date to have. What is important to you? Do you want to meet someone who is intelligent, active, a good dancer? Make a list of desirable characteristics, just for fun.
  2. Take inventory of your friends. Does anyone have the traits you value? Is there anyone you would be interested in spending more time with? Yes, they’re friends, but what’s wrong with spending time with friends?
  3. A time-honored way to meet people is to be “fixed up”—at least that’s what we used to call it—with friends of friends. When someone says, I have a buddy I would like you to meet, be willing to say, Sure. I’m willing. At worst, you might not like your friend’s buddy too much, and that will be that. Or you may become friends. Best case scenario: you will enjoy each other’s company enough to date.
  4. If you really want to meet someone who shares your interests or beliefs, go to the places where they hang out: your place of worship, a political party office or campaign, a civic organization, any group devoted to something you care about.
  5. If you are computer savvy and a bit adventurous, there are so many ways to meet new people. If you haven’t tried Meetups, you really should check out groups in your geographic area and areas of interest. You will be amazed at their number and variety. Of course, there are online dating apps, some geared specifically to older adults. Be willing to take the risk of posting your photo and bio, but don’t share too much personal information too soon. Keep your expectations in check. Don’t take it personally if things don’t work out as you hoped, but realize that sometimes, happily, they do.

So, if getting back into the dating game is on your mind, it’s time to leave your comfort zone and take the first step.