One of the biggest issues with not having a 9-5 job is that you immediately lose access to a a large social circle. Typically in a work group the people you interact with will provide a diverse pot of opinions, interests and thoughts. It’s likely they will take you out of the bubble of your usual friend circle.
So once you are no longer working (and you move to a new city like us) you essentially have to start from scratch with your social circle. Of course unlike the olden days it is much easier keeping friendships going from long distance due to the internet and smart phones. However no amount of texting will compensate for face to face interaction.
So how do we ensure that we are socially active.
Firstly we are a four person family living under this roof. So we spend lots of time now with the kids, also with both of us not working we can do plenty of activities as a couple.
One of the reasons we moved to Portland was that Tuffy’s sister lives here. So we spend time with her and her son and we know some of her friends and neighbors.
Family therefore forms our first social network.
We are lucky that on our street we have come to know several families and can chat and hang out with them. Now that the weather is getting better the kids and parents hang out on the street in the evening.
I have my Tuesday night running group. Although we are not at the “hanging out” stage, I do get to spend a couple of hours with them each week, both running and then cooling down afterwards.
We have our regular Wednesday night pub quiz. We have got to know several people there including teaming up with three other people for our team. They are quite a bit younger than us, so provides a different dynamic to our social interactions.
I hang out at the local game store quite a bit. I am part of a regular Saturday night group, and also pop in other times during the week to meet up with other gamers. Gaming was always something I had an interest in, but never really had the time in my previous life. Now I’m not too tired to go out in the evening and I don’t feel guilty about it either as I have way more family time.
Tuffy volunteers twice a week at the local humane society, so she gets to meet people there while working on projects and helping them out with their mission.
Tuffy is more involved in this than I am but we obviously meet other parents through our children and the general school run.
We are actually more socially active now than we were before we moved and it’s not unusual for one of us to be something 4 or 5 days a week, so this is doing a good job of getting us out of the house and meeting new people. We are still building close friendships, but that will come in time.
There are other areas we could make more social groupings through things like meetup.com. Also it would be cool to meet other FIRE families in the area to exchange ideas, thoughts and tips. But at present there is only so much we can do during the week!