Staying social is almost as important to our health as staying physically active—and loneliness has been estimated to shave about five years off our lives.
But living in Santa Cruz can sometimes feel like living in a bubble; it’s just isolated enough to feel pretty small, and meeting new friends can require some creative innovation. While tackling the ennui of routine, and the harsh reality of friends moving away to more affordable areas, I came across meetup.com, which brims with opportunities to expand your world of friends and get out. And, if you don’t see something that intrigues you, you can start your own group.
Here’s a breakdown of four active meetup groups in the Santa Cruz County area that welcome a mature age group.
GES 55+ Social Club
Green Earth Singles began in Santa Cruz more than 30 years ago, with an emphasis on outdoor activities. Today, group activities include events of all kinds, from lunch to movie nights, beach walks and bonfires.
Women’s Walking/Hiking Group for the Less Than Perfectly Fit
This is the perfect meetup group for those women who know that a 5-mile hike is out of their capability, but still want to walk and hike in nature, with a little support along the way. Hikes range from Arana Gulch (followed by happy hour at the Crow’s Nest) to Elkhorn Slough, a West Cliff midday walk, Henry Cowell State Park, and more.
Aptos-to-Live Oak Girlfriends 50 Plus Weekdays Fun
This brand-spanking-new meetup is geared toward women over 50 who have flexible time in their weekdays to connect. Meeting between Aptos and Live Oak (to avoid traffic), this group is all about coffee, potlucks, happy hours, walks, and laughter.
Laughter Yoga Santa Cruz
Open to all ages, from children to seniors, this group is aimed to beat stress and induce joy through laughter, and promises that you will leave feeling peaceful, relaxed and energized.
Find these groups and many more by visiting meetup.com.