This afternoon I was getting a few things done around my house and needed to run a couple of errands before my evening plans. I was thinking about dinner options and since I was going to be on the road, I didn’t want to eat in my car and that’s when I got my stuff together a little quicker and cut some time out for dinner out…by myself. With a book.
In my “corporate days” I spent a year traveling back and forth to Atlanta (shout out to Buckhead – what a great little suburb and getting to go to Louie Giglio’s Tuesday night Bible study on the regular) and often times after a long day didn’t want to talk to anyone else, didn’t want room service and I found myself eating out, alone. After that year was over I still went on business trips by myself often enough and some nights was on my own for dinner.
For some reason eating alone is not socially normal for women, though not usually looked at as awkward for men, party of 1. I’m not sure why that is, but it just seems to be. My favorite was to get sushi, because not a lot of people I knew liked it and it was a good meal I really enjoyed. I usually took a book or magazine with me, as this was before the days of smart phones and scrolling status updates to look occupied and not “alone”.
Eating out alone is different than being in a coffee shop alone. I love coffee shops, but it’s like acceptable alone space. Hook up to music & your computer with an artistic latte and everyone is ‘together’ while never really connecting.
Tonight as I was eating at the formerly known as Mission Burrito now referred to as Uberrito, I snapped a pic of the moment. #nofilterburritobowl The only thing I was disappointed in was not having more time. The book I’m reading right now, Nobody’s Cuter Than You by one of my favorite bloggers, Big Mama, speaks my language. It’s all about best friends. So, when I realized I had to go, I felt like my time was cut short and I really wanted to stay.
I was thinking as I was sitting there, I was so glad to be “ok” in that space. I know there are a lot of busy women who would relish in the idea of a few quiet minutes to themselves with no one asking questions, needing something or working on a to-do list, instead trading a few minutes of quiet with a book, magazine, or maybe just status updates to read.
But, often we’re not ok in that space.
I went to an event recently where someone asked me “did you come alone?”. Yes. I did. I am single, so oftentimes I am alone. That’s not a pity statement, it is just a fact. But, just because you’ve got a significant other doesn’t mean you’re not at times doing things on your own. I love people, my people, and tables full of people. Being gathered at the table is one of the sweetest gifts of life. I grew up with dinner around our table most every night. I love meeting friends for meals and catching up on life over a meal. And, sometimes, I love the table to myself.
It’s all about getting out of our comfort zone. The first time I ever said “party of 1”, the return look was almost shocking. Enough to make me look around and question if EVERYONE in the place heard my request and was going to be looking at me walking to my PARTY OF 1 table.
Tonight while volunteering at an ESL school, I had an out of comfort zone experience. We work on conversational English and I’ve said before how often I learn something from them, potentially more than my conversation teaches anyone. Tonight we did discuss skim vs. whole milk, nail polish and a few other topics until belly dancing came up. Our “student” has experience belly dancing in the country she came from which immediately prompted a request for her to demonstrate. One person in our group is a gifted dancer. The rest of us, not as gifted. But, we all stood up, she called up the Google DJ to play a song and we gave it a shot under her instruction.
Take me back to the table: party of 1. Belly dancing is OUT. OF. MY. COMFORT. ZONE.
However, language barriers were lost and laughter erupted and there’s no shame in doing something you’re not good at, that’s how “out of comfort zone” experiences become less and less difficult. Tonight is now a memory that will forever be with our group.
I saw this sign at Hobby Lobby today during my errands…