By Elaine Omann

Kathy Millspaw is a 50-something, widowed empty nester with a career in nursing. Her work schedule comes with long hours, weekends and sometimes evenings. She discovered meeting people for friendship, socializing and relationships a challenge.

Millspaw is a mindful person and seeks meaningful conversation, discussion and activities which foster opportunities to meet new people with similar interests that could lead to friendships and stronger relationships. After many different attempts to meet like-minded people, her solution became a Meet Up: The Over 50 Social (Book) Club which she created based on her needs and her interests.

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  • What were your reasons to create this particular Meet Up?


I was frustrated trying to find ways to meet people with my work hours and other Meet Up groups did not match with my schedule or age group or my interests.

I wanted to really get to know new people, have mindful conversations and read non-fiction books. I also wanted to go to new places to eat and enjoy good food and conversations.


  • What impact does the age factor have on your selection?


I wanted to meet with those who are in my age group and are not necessarily retired or single or empty-nesters, but people who could be open to this grouping. People have joined and said they saw it as a warm invitation. I had specific ideas of what I wanted and do not change those. It involves planning, researching and scheduling events as well as interacting with people who make changes or listening to their suggestions.


  • How do you make the choices of places to meet?


The places I choose to meet and eat are suitable to handling groups of 20. My considerations include adequate parking as well as a location that is somewhat convenient for the group to travel, especially after work and dealing with traffic. These have been mostly on the Southside, Tinseltown and Town Center area because there are many choices which meet the needs for our group. We often meet on weekdays so it is important for people to be able to get to a place after work, have a good meal, good conversation and a good time.

If the event is not related to a book discussion, such as yoga or painting then I find activities and places that support our group interests.

  • How do you determine the book choice?

I spend a lot of time reviewing topics and related books. At times I get ideas from the group or look for topics which are relevant based on previous discussions. I read reviews and selections before choosing. It is important to me to have quality planning and choices. The topic is used as a prompt for possible conversation. If people don’t want to read the book, they can read articles or research other information on the topic as long as they have some way to communicate with the group on it.


  • Why did you select the recent title ”Calling It Quits” by Deidre Bair for the most recent book talk? What responses from the group did you have to this selection? What discussion or conversation was important to most of the group?


The topic of “graying divorce” was brought to my attention by one of the members. I researched it and found that it was a very current topic and the book I selected could prompt a discussion especially with the last section of the book on starting over. I purposefully select topics and text that provide positivity and growth. This topic impacts this age group and it can be happening to coworkers, friends, family. An awareness is part of being a supportive person as we are vulnerable to each other and are still growing.

One of the women, going through divorce after a 34-year marriage, related with the scenarios in the book on the reasons for divorce. The idea of people thinking about divorce and preparing, and then the moment happens when the decision is right. Whatever it is they can say, “I’m done!”

One of the guys found the book to have “war stories,” but in searching other articles and text he found  it “to be a real thing with a lot of literature on it.”

And one final comment was more encompassing: “I found it to be relevant to any major relationship transition that occurs later in life.”


Photo courtesy Elaine Omann

Kathy Millspaw

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