“Solo Sushi Night – A mini blog series about dining alone.”
“You’re sure brave to be doing this.”
I remember telling the woman next to me that I was dining alone at a favorite sushi place of mine near my house, and that I had been dining alone for as long as I could remember. Sure, I had dinner with friends and family once in a while, but oftentimes, the demanding industry I work for doesn’t allow me to have much of a social life in sync with everyone else that I know who work a steady 9 to 5 job.
Her words had struck me as odd; I didn’t think that dining alone was a big deal, to me it was out of necessity. Necessity, however, sometimes keeps us oblivious to the others around us, and I didn’t realize that it was some sort of infraction to dine alone at a restaurant, to me, it was just a way of life.
I came across this revelation about dining alone probably in my mid 20’s. I had just graduated and was still working in an industry I was sure to have left a long time ago, trying to escape it during one of the worst recessions since the great depression. With no real options for employment, I found myself working nights and weekends, whilst other friends who had found gainful employment were living a life I could only imagine. I felt as if I wasn’t growing up, that life had held me back for some reason, but I will leave that for another blog.
I realized that I wasn’t living in a vacuum, that there was a world around me that begged to be experienced, either alone or with others. Social conditioning has programmed our minds to cooperate with others for long term survival, but I hit the manual override when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to connect with the people I knew on a regular basis. I dont remember the first time I dined alone, but I do remember how awkward it felt for me. I remember feeling like I was being stared at by others, that the waiter probably felt a sense of pity for me. I do also remember how hungry I was and how I was probably craving a certain specialty of this restaurant and, for some reason, it overrode the need to be with someone for lunch.
Over time, i got used to eating alone. I didn’t like it at times however, to be quite honest, it made me feel kinda isolated at times, which was ironic since I would usually be in a restaurant filled with people. I was often jealous of them at the time, yet, a part of me wanted to keep my sense of freedom intact, unbound by the need to keep someone happy. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed the moments where I would dine alone, accompanied only by my thoughts.
If you’re going to dine alone, the best advice I’d give you is just to enjoy your time. Many times, we lose sight of what we came for by the distraction that is other people. Enjoy your food, take in the ambiance, its the little details that matter there.
My goal with this is to learn how to dine alone, and in a greater sense, learn how to be alone. Being alone is a skill we’re losing everyday thanks to the internet and technology (I know, the irony is delicious, no pun intended), its time for us as a species to re-learn what it is to truly be invested in your own time and your own self.
Thanks for reading, leave me your comments below.