These past few months, I have undergone a bit of an epiphany. It started with my trip to New York in October when I visited my cousin and her fiancee. Whilst I got to spend time with my cousin in the evenings, during the day I was left to my own devices. This was the first time that I had ever done that. I’ve travelled for business alone before but always spent ‘down-time’ with colleagues or friends. So for the first time, I was left to make the decisions for the day on my own on holiday – I was answerable for my own decisions and plans during the day, not needing to consult with anyone and it was liberating.
I loved the fact that I could eat whatever, wherever and whenever I wanted. That if I fancied walking 70 or so blocks from Chinatown to Columbus Circle that I could do so. That I could meander around galleries, shops or find a particular spot from a movie that I loved without having to check what another person thought of the idea.
It also made me more confident. The counter-side of doing things alone is that you tend to also dine alone too. For some, this can be a scary prospect. In fact, I have spoken to friends and discovered that you either fall into the camp of loving the idea of dining alone, or the other of never daring to try it. I have discovered that waiting staff are kinder if you dine alone. In one particular restaurant in New York, Bocca di Bacco, that I visited on my first night with my cousin and for my last lunch in the city, when I had lunch alone. I was given a fantastic seat from which I could watch the world go by or read my book. I ordered the most incredible spinach and ricotta tortelli with asparagus and sage that I have ever tasted and as it was the last day of my holiday, I paired it with a delicious glass of prosecco (as if I needed an excuse?). I was eating at a leisurely pace, and when I finished my glass, the waiter came over and poured me a second glass that he insisted was ‘on the house’. I very much got the impression that this wouldn’t have happened if I was dining with another person.
Whilst my opinion is not swayed by the free prosecco, I have to say that ‘going it alone’ in any situation is very liberating. If you want to do something, why should you have to wait to see if it is convenient for someone else to join you, for you to be able to do it? I recently fancied going out for breakfast, knowing that my flatmate was cherishing her Sunday lie in, I got up and headed over to an amazing little cafe with my book and had a great breakfast.
Not only do I find it liberating, I also happen to think it is very good for a person to be able to spend time in their own company. I think it is a chance to evaluate, reflect and relax that people don’t get to do all too often these days. So here’s to the cherished time alone, the taking a risk, the experiences that you might not have had a chance to experience if you were waiting for someone else to become available. Enjoy any time alone that you can get in your busy lives as, trust me, it will help you to be comfortable in your own skin; a quality which is all too often overlooked.
Photo by Kris Atomic