A counseling center told me to go to a senior center to connect with others, but I donít feel comfortable with just old people - I feel old as it is. Where can a shy person meet people to be friends with without commitment?
My dear, there is nothing wrong with your attitude. Iíd have much the same reaction.
Here are a few suggestions, which you should use as starting points for generating ideas that fit your interests, past experience, and the resources of your town:
1) You could go to the local elementary school and offer to do volunteer work with little kids: help them under the teacherís supervision to read picture books, do activities, supervise play during breaks to give the teachers a few minutes of rest, help teachers with preparation like putting protective covers on books, etc.
2) Where I live, there is a weekly free food occasion where homeless and other poor people get a nice cooked meal and some friendly, decent company. Find out what such services there are in your area, and volunteer your time.
3) There are probably thrift shops. You may well enjoy in working a few hours a week in one.
4) I donít know how physically healthy you are, but you could take up a sport thatís within your capabilities. There may be walking groups that go for daily walks together, or nature study groups like birdwatchers.
5) Hospitals also have volunteers that make things work well. Check them out.
6) The more you give, the more you get. Do things to make this world a better place for others, and it will be a better place for you.
OK, you say you are shy. Thatís a feeling of being on show, that other people are judging you. Actually, thatís not true. Most people are too busy desperately trying to make a good impression to judge others. If you take on a task and do it with a smile, to the best of your ability, you can easily forget that itís a social situation. For example, in a thrift shop, after a few sessions youíll know how the place runs, where things are, how to assign prices, stuff like that. So, when someone comes in, you do your job, and donít need to worry about the impression you are making. Youíre just one of the nice ladies in the thrift shop. Same with the other examples.
Adapt these ideas to the situation in your town, and find opportunities to do pleasant things that are of benefit. You can enjoy life with the best of them.