Last week I had two meetings right before and right after lunch. I considered grabbing something quick because I was hungry and in 100% transparent true-ness, I still get a little uncomfortable with the question “just one?”.
Why is it that when that question confronts me it feels like an insinuation of all the rejection I’ve felt in my life?
I feel immediately on guard and want to defend, explain and justify why I am here alone. Like alone is a virus no one wants to catch– especially at a restaurant of all places!
And yet, I sat down, spread out and enjoyed a fabulous lunch with myself — once I accepted that I was a perfectly delightful lunch companion and that I was choosing to eat lunch with myself. That’s a whole different story than the one that starts to play at the onset of this excursion.
What did I make her question mean? And what story do I tell myself about being alone?
This question still triggers me after all these years. Being alone was my crutch to staying in a life that I knew versus a life that was unscripted, unpredictable and out of my control. I believed for a long time that staying married unhappily was better than navigating life as a table for one because I was scared to sit down at life’s table with just me. I believed being alone would suck. That my life would be boring, lonely and I’d be missing out on life’s best adventures because I had no one to enjoy them with. In that moment, I didn’t realize that having myself to enjoy life with is the best person — ever! (This took some time to discover).
Every time I hear that question– “just one?” I am reminded that I can make that question mean anything I want. Even nothing except how many menus will the server need to bring to the table.
We can’t always immediately stop the old fearful stories that get triggered from time to time — the ones we now know aren’t even true. I’m gentle with myself as I recognize them for what they are and let them pass through. I can even utter a laugh at myself as I remember how lucky I am to be sitting down with the best lunch companion I know.