This post is for the very sweet, very young hostess at Ventana Inn who could not hide her horror that not only was I eating alone on my birthday, I actually planned it that way. I get it…in my early 20s I would have judged me too. I’d have also demanded a birthday week, a big dinner (the table all servers throw a side eye at), and a night out dancing until the wee hours of the morn.
As an extrovert, I love talking to people, spending time with people, in fact strangers always come up to me to ask for directions. I’m that much of a people person. But eventually you realize that being content while alone is an earned luxury and you begin to crave those moments of solitude. In my overly articulate life, dining alone is the one time where silence is gloriously welcomed.
Trust me when I say that eating alone is a liberating experience. At first, it’s all sorts of awkward and you’ll have coping mechanisms like a book to read or checking all the social medias on your phone. But there comes a moment where you’re eating food so divine you truly just want to savor it. Or you get a glass of Cabernet so good, you just want to sit back and take your time drinking it while daydreaming. It’s in that moment you realize that your perceived awkwardness about eating alone is just that, a perception.
This was also a very significant birthday for me because 2014 was the year of huge life changes. I decided to move to the city I’m the happiest in, a move about five years in the making. It required plucking up some extreme courage to tell my employer that I was moving and commit to it, whether the job moved with me or not (it did). And plucking up some more courage by deciding to leave said job at the end of the year because the truth is I’d stopped learning. So this birthday is more significant than others because instead of 5 yr. planning my life to death, I’m trusting that the universe will unfold itself as it should be.
So sweet hostess, please don’t feel sorry for me. I planned this birthday exactly this way and as I raised my champagne to toast the ocean, the thought running through my head was “this is happiness”. And I truly meant it.