Today, a day before my 31st birthday, I ate by myself in a restaurant. Prior to that, I had a glass of wine, by myself, in a busy, trendy bar. For the first time, I crossed that imaginary line, eating and drinking in public, all by myself. It was wonderful.
Far from thinking people eating alone are lonely, or sad, or need company, or are waiting for someone, I’ve always admired that people have the confidence to do it. A person at a restaurant with a wine and a book makes me happy. But I was always scared to do it myself. I’m not sure why.
I felt silly, or that I’d have to look like I was working, or waiting for someone, or texting someone so it would look like someone knew I was there. Why? ‘Cos I don’t want to look lonely? I’ve absolutely no idea. But there we are. Despite all this, I wanted to explore, and so off I strode, by myself, boxing training at the forefront of my mind.
Overcoming the hurdle of looking lonely eating alone
You know what? It was fine. Not just fine. Enjoyable. Awesome. I bought myself a hideously overpriced wine and sat by the river near some businessmen and a gang of ‘yoofs’ and was entirely ignored. Which was ace. I leant on the wooden table and gazed over the river, watching the setting sun glinting off the glass in the old brick building opposite, catching on the water’s surface, reflecting a million shades of gold, intense, fleeting. I watched couples and tourists and fitness fanatics. I watched worldies and suits. The sun sank lower, a glowing backdrop to the industrial flower of bridges, stone and iron.
Later, in the restaurant, I ordered another Pinot and perused the menu. I folded my hands under my chin and watched with no expectations. I felt safe, I felt adventurous. I wrote many words whilst waiting for my food. I wished I had a few more days.
It’s lovely to share life with special people. But it’s nice to know I can go it alone too. I took a step, to me, and was pleasantly surprised. So next time you see a woman with a wine and book…it might just be me.