Sorry for my recent absence from the blog, but starting a new job can be stressful and time consuming. I thought that learning the ways of a new office and position would be the hardest part, but I've had other challenges in addition to getting acclimated to a new setting and responsibilities. I've had the good fortune in the past of working in amazing buildings with cafeterias. There's never been any rushing out to the sandwich place or salad shop, no trudging through the rain for a midday snack. I've always had good, hot food in the comfort of my office building. Among those food comforts I've also always had the good fortune to work with friends. If not in the same office, at least in the same building. The closest I ever came to eating alone in recent years was a quick sip of soup (or anything I could eat one handed) on a super busy day when there was no time for lunch. But this new job has presented challenges of a different sort.
I'm once again fortunate enough to work in a building with a cafeteria, which has a great selection of hot foods, sandwiches, taco stands, stir-fry and an excellent salad bar. But this time I don't have anyone to eat with. I have no friends here and have spent every day eating at my desk, hunched over the computer like I do for the other 9 hours of the day. It reminds me of the days when I started in this business and had to squeeze in a five minute meal that mostly ended up on my keyboard or whatever my boss handed me. I swore that when I was no longer in that position I would take my hour lunch every day that I possibly could and eat away from my desk (and I did). After all, studies have shown that eating alone at your desk is a direct cause of weight gain and is just plain unhealthy for both body and mind (I know my body gained 10 pounds and my mind was definitely rotten because of it). So it's tough all these years later to find myself stuck at my desk, hoping someone will ask me to join them for lunch.
And then one day last week, as I skulked sadly back to my desk, to-go container in hand, I noticed several people seated in the cafeteria, eating alone. Some were reading, others just ate happily, smiling to themselves. And then I asked myself if I could do it. Could I eat alone in public? I've always shuddered at the thought, convinced that people would point and snicker, thinking me a lonely spinster without a friend in the world. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, but these negative thoughts consistently crossed my mind. Why is it that I'd rather be miserable at my desk than risk being happy in public? And so, with this anecdote I ask you your feelings on eating alone in restaurants (or cafeterias). Can you do it? Have any advice on how I can muster the courage? I know so many people that love it, sitting in a corner table or at the bar, ordering what they want and taking their time. Please let me know your thoughts and in the meantime, I'll see how today goes, and if I can make it through another day eating at my desk.