I was just reading a post over on WATRD about dining alone, when I got to thinking about the reasons I never used to dine alone. For me, it mostly came down to the fact that I used to put my entire life on hold for “when I…”
When I lost weight was the most persistant one in my head, but there were others. However if I had a dollar for everything I put on hold “until I lost weight”… well, I’d have a whole lot of dollars to do all that cool stuff.
When I was in my 20’s I was so much more self conscious than I am now. Depression and low self esteem were part of that, but I do think that once you get past 30, most people are more comfortable in their skin anyway, and start to realise that there is a whole world out there and bugger anyone who gives them a hard time for being who they are.
I went through a patch in my mid-20’s where I barely left the house. I would get up, go to work, and come home again. I refused to stay over anywhere, even my own Grandparents house, because I just wanted to be home where I felt safe.
It took losing a friend to cancer to give me a bit of a shake up, to realise how short life is and that you have to jump in and live it, or you’ll be gone before you know it. Six months after my friend died, I got on a plane and flew to Melbourne for a fortnight on my own. Stayed in a hotel in the CBD, visited friends for their wedding, and caught up with a few other people, but mostly I took myself around the city on my own. It was a liberating experience.
Even more liberating was getting on another plane and heading to the US, where I knew practically no-one, and travelling around for three months, staying with people I had never met before. Included in that, was a jaunt to New York City, most daunting of cities, all by my lonesome, staying in a hotel! I would never have believed I could do that 10 years ago, but I did, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The thing is, life is short. We only have so many years we get to live our lives. And I just reached a point where I realised I wasted so many years putting my life on hold for whatever reason. There is a point you reach that you realise that you actually regret wasting those years.
So have that meal by yourself in a nice cafe. Travel on a trip on your own. Buy an amazing red dress. Go to that movie by yourself that nobody else is interested in. Join that group or club or sport or whatever that interests you, even if you don’t have a buddy to take with you. Don’t wait until you realise that life is short and that you’ve wasted years waiting until you lost weight, or got fit, or found a boyfriend, or whatever else has been holding you back.
And if anyone gives you a hard time, to hell with them – they’re just afraid that you’re having more fun than they are. Which is probably true!