The Evolution of Eating Alone

Dear 20-year-old Me,

It took you a lot of guts to go out to lunch alone today. Your classmates are busy, your friends are in class or sleeping off a bender from this weekend, and your boyfriend is working. But you really wanted to get out of your small, wood-paneled, one-bedroom apartment, so here you are. You look around at your favorite sandwich chain, everyone seems to be sitting with someone, except for you. You get out your iPod, turn on some O.A.R., put in your earbuds, and you hope to gosh that everyone here does not think that you don’t have friends, as you gracefully try to choke down your turkey sandwich as quickly as possible.

You will never believe it, but 12 years later you will change so much. Although you love your kids and husband dearly, you will treasure the lunches that you eat alone – because they are so few and far between. You will do a little happy dance in your living room when the planets have all aligned and you have figured out that you can go out to lunch…alone. When you are back at that favorite sandwich shop, turkey sandwich and Diet Coke in hand, you will not look for the most inconspicuous spot in the room, where hopefully no one will notice you. Rather, you will be the Sheldon of the room. You will look for that perfect spot, the booth with the cushy seats, with sunlight but not too much sunlight, away from any noisy teenagers, and with the a/c vent right above you.

When you are in your 30s, you will not only stay at the restaurant just long enough to eat your sandwich, but you may stay an extra thirty minutes to an hour on top of that! You will multitask! You will be queen of the world! You will enjoy the silence! You will also chat it up with the nice girl that is running the register that is pregnant for the first time, because you can and there isn’t a toddler in your arms trying to throw your keys or a four-year-old begging you to buy the giant rainbow cookie.

You think that you are so mature and independent now, but once you become a mother, you will slowly blossom into a really cool person who loves her family and herself, knows the importance of self-care and taking time for hobbies (like contributing to a blog), and is not afraid to occasionally just hang out by herself. Keep it up girl. You have so many exciting things ahead. And P.S., if anyone is looking your way because you are sitting by yourself, let them stare, girl!

Much Love,

32-year-old You

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