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Aging is a fact of life, but aging in the LGBTQ community, especially when your single may be another matter entirely. While there are certainly serious concerns to worry about, dating and socializing can be more of one than most of us care to admit. In many areas, especially if you don’t live in the big city, gay life revolves around that beloved institution, the gay bar. While this might have worked great when you were young and didn’t really care if you showed up at work hungover the next day, it’s a bit less appropriate when you have a mortgage, aging parents, and two dogs who really don’t like to be left home alone most of the night. While many people pair off as they get older and meet that Mr. Right, maybe you’re newly out of the closet, newly broken up, or just haven’t been that lucky yet. How can you maintain a social life, have fun and still make it to work in the morning?

If you have been single all along, you can probably stop reading right now. You likely have the social life you want, simply because it’s never been significantly changed in one way or the other and has evolved to meet your interests and lifestyle. There is nothing at all wrong with being happily single and living a full life on your own.

More of us, however, are single due to being either newly out or newly broken up. While you might have meandered into your local gay bar and found yourself either ignored or fresh meat, depending on your community, perhaps this is not what you’re looking for at all. You can meet people, find friends and develop relationships within the gay and lesbian community without setting foot in a drag show, drinking shots out of test tubes or otherwise potentially embarrassing yourself in a drunken stupor.

What can you do? Even in smaller cities, you do have many options to meet people outside of the bar subculture. First, become involved in things you love that matter. It does not matter if that is the local animal shelter or the local arts scene. Consider volunteering your time with gay, lesbian and other queer causes. Many of those who volunteer are in a place in their lives that is also incompatible with weekends drinking in the bars. Be open and honest about who you are, whenever you feel safe and comfortable doing so. You might be surprised who you can meet. Moreover, making the most of your life and your time will make for a happy and full life, whether you are alone or not. Once you feel comfortable in your own skin and your own life, if you want to actively pursue finding a relationship, consider on line dating options, social networking sites, and even just putting the word out to friends that you’re looking. Many great relationships have been made by matchmaking friends.