In Nebraska if you go out with friends after work, you meet for drinks. In Pennsylvania (at least in this area) you meet for “happy hour,” which is what I did this past Friday night. This may not sound like a significant event to most, but it’s somewhat of a milestone for me. To date, my social outings have consisted of lunches and dinners with friends who I used to work with.
A a single person, I’ve discovered the value and importance of treating myself to the things people do when they’re part of a couple. During the week I cook myself nice meals, attend a drawing class, and occasionally make it to my writer’s group meetings. On chilly nights I curl up in front of my fireplace and doodle in my ink journal or work on a drawing.
On weekends I treat myself to an evening out on Friday or Saturday night. Sometimes I request a table for one, other times I sit at the bar, and I always bring along a good book. It doesn’t bother me in the least to ask for a “table for one” or to read my book at the bar; upon occasion I end up putting my book aside and engaging in an entertaining conversation with the people sitting near me.
I find it interesting that people quickly jump to conclusions regarding the reason I’m out by myself. I’m not sure why but often-times they seem to think they should feel sorry for me because I’m alone. A few weeks ago I was sitting at a table, enjoying my meal when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Oh my dear, I feel so sorry for you,” said a well-meaning woman.
“Why?” I asked.
She patted my shoulder, “Well because you’re all alone, and that’s sad.”
“Really there’s no need to be sad or feel sorry for me. I’m actually very happy and I’d rather spend the evening with a good book than to dine out with someone I don’t enjoy being around.”
I look at it this way, I have two choices: one is to sit at home and feel sorry for myself or two I can live life the way it’s meant to be lived and embrace the community I live in. Having said that, it was also nice to be invited to a happy hour and extend my social circle beyond co-workers from my previous life.
As far as the “well-meaning” woman – I hope she now understands that there’s no need to feel sorry for someone who sits at a “table for one” or in the future keeps her comments to herself.