04 Mar Table for One
What am I doing for dinner tonight? It’s a question I often ask myself. I try not to think about it until 4 o’clock. Sometimes referred to as the bewitching hour. The un-doing of the day.
I like to call it “empty nest dinner syndrome.” It’s just me. And I really don’t know what’s for dinner.
And yet why does it seem like everyone always asks, “What are you doing for dinner tonight?” “Have you been to so and so?” “How is the food at blah blah?” “What did you do for dinner last night?”
Once upon a time I was running around like a mad woman—the 4 pm bewitching hour looked quite different. I was the crazy car-pooling mom figuring out how to get four kids to four different places at 4 pm—all the while figuring out “What’s for dinner tonight?” to be ready at 6.
Here’s a more recent answer to that question: I curled up under my covers and ate Honey Nut Cheerios with the tiny amount of milk I was saving for my morning coffee. Even cutting up a banana was too much effort (and what was I supposed to do with the leftover half of a banana?).
Some days that’s the best answer I’ve got. Some days aren’t perfect. On some days, being alone IS lonely.
Let’s face it; dinner for one can take some getting used to.
One tip I have learned is definitely don’t eat dinner for one while surfing Facebook. All these people can’t possibly be this happy, this suntanned or this much in love. Is the entire human race on a beach somewhere with a perfectly perfect sunset….of course with their dog and husband of 30 plus years (or new husband?)
On this day, the empty nest dinner syndrome is eating me alive. It seems far far away from a sunset on a beach with Mr. Wonderful. No, my Facebook cover photo today would be of a gray freezing snowy Chicago.
Nevertheless, I overcame my desire to just call it a day…lights out at 6 pm (what would happen when I awoke at midnight still having to answer the dinner question?). Instead I gathered my uninspired self along with my winter gear (it takes 10 minutes just to pile it all on), grabbed an iPad and two cellphones—just in case someone needed me—and I sat at my table for one at the restaurant on the corner.
I eat at this restaurant on the corner quite often. With the warm greeting and personal hellos, I was reminded of the things I love about my independent, empowered life. In fact, many nights I welcome my own best company. I read or email or phone a friend. Some days I actually prefer the quiet over potentially phony companions.
The fact is—my life is pretty damn great. But some days you just have to let the gray days in. The most liberating part is admitting it.
Now that there so many Facebook “liking” options, perhaps my gray day photo deserves a “like” or a “haha” or a “wow.” I challenge you to post a gray day…we all have them, right? So why not curl up with them, hit the “like” button, or maybe even the “love” button, knowing a gray day means that you are fully engaged with all of what life brings you.
Oh, and in case you were worried—I invited a friend for dinner tomorrow tonight…setting a table for two!