A friend recently posted about discovering going out to lunch by herself and how it was a treat to eat alone. She has a house full of boys and I don’t blame her one minute for enjoying lunch alone. I can’t say I relate to a peaceful moment away from a house full of kids,but I started to think. Why is this such a revelation? To take time to be alone. Regardless if it’s a table for one or a morning walk, we seem to avoid our own selves for some unidentifiable fear. While I don’t understand the life of a mom, I do understand the power in going to eat alone, or going to the movies alone, traveling alone, or attending local community events alone because missing out was worse than showing up alone. I’ve even driven myself to the beach for 6 hours alone. I wasn’t at the beach alone, it’s just how travel plans sorted themselves out. I could have said “Oh I don’t want to drive alone” and missed a beach getaway, but 6 hours in a car can be therapeutic if you let it. How does one entertain themselves for 6 hours? The answer may surprise you.
I’m not sure why I don’t fear a table for one. I dislike a table full of three 2’s and one 1 more than a table for one. Maybe it’s my fierce independence or my introvert side creating an enjoyment of a table for one. I won’t claim attending events and traveling alone always leaves me overtly happy, but it’s still better than not showing up at all and wondering what if. A table for one means quiet and calm. A chance to sit and be still. To slow down the pace of an ever-accelerating life. A table for one means getting to know ourselves a little bit better. A chance to sit and figure out how we are managing life. A table for one means no pity parties and people watching. .
Reading books and listening to podcast can change a day and the two are never far from my reach. Yes, I could sit and scroll social media for thirty minutes while I sit at a table for one, or I could get lost in a book. Studies show one of these actions will leave you depressed and one of them will not. Choose wisely, my friend.
A table of one teaches us to get over ourselves. We so often let the fear of being alone hold us back from living to the fullest. No one will pity you for sitting at a table alone if you don’t look pitiful. A woman sitting a table reading a book and enjoying her meal looks like a lovely one to me. We can stand in a crowd of people and feel completely alone, yet we fear being a party of one. We need to learn to enjoy being alone instead of fearing it. Albert Einstein says it best, “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”.
I’m not sure what your table of one looks like, maybe it’s a class at the gym you can’t convince your friends to attend, go any ways. Maybe it looks like an empty church pew or empty theater. Go. Find a podcast you love and go to the park for a walk. You don’t need a walking buddy to enjoy a nice stroll. Check out the new local restaurant on a Tuesday simply because you want to. If you invite your friends and they can’t tag along, don’t let their can’t be your shouldn’t. free yourself of feeling selfish for going alone. Just go.
Maybe you just need a quiet moment to yourself when life is messy and hard. Go, make it happen. Drop the kids off at school and go get a fancy breakfast by yourself. Get to know yourself where ever it is you do you. Yes, walking in alone can be scary and hard, but let’s be honest. Walking through a doorway takes .5 seconds and no one is paying attention to you, so go my friend. Go sit at a table for one. You’ll love the company.