The ups of lunching alone

Wonderful autumn weather in the capital

I went alone for lunch and this is what happened: I survived it free of devices and other tools of distraction. I actually enjoyed it enough to think that I will do it again.

I am having lunch alone once in a while. Constantly if I eat at work, but sometimes I eat out alone as well. I am usually having my phone and my headphones with me, at times my kindle or a book. What matters is that if I don’t intend to be present, I can’t stay present – there is always something to be read, listened to, watched. I am never catching up with all the things I find interesting on all the apps I have on my phone. But I am usually having lunch alone because if I don’t have it, I will not eat at all. So it’s mostly practical and not a choice for itself.

But a few days ago [or were it weeks?] I read about having lunch alone and intentionally keeping yourself focused – it was one of those articles on how to go through feeling discomfort, especially to achieve goals [I’d link to it, but can’t find it]. I am interested in this because at times, I feel resistance building up and, most of the times [or more too often than I’d like], makes me quit what I want to be doing.

It mostly happens with writing: I need to write, but I can manage to keep myself on the chair, feeling uncomfortable for long enough that it becomes exciting. It obviously doesn’t inconvenience me as much that I get nothing done, but it restricts the quality of the work I could do.

It was a wonderful Thursday afternoon in Bucharest. Leaves change colours, the sun is up and shining, there aren’t many cars on the pretty streets in my neighbourhood and it feels like the weekend’s close. But I am starving. I wish I were eating right there while walking home. I have years since I stopped buying food from the bakeries, so eating and walking is not my first choice. But eating at a nearby cafe surely feels like a good solution.

And right there on the spot, I’ve decided that, as I am alone and going to eat out, I should stay present: no phone, no podcast, no kindle, no books, no notepad. Distraction free zone. Just me, the food, the hot chocolate and the people around me. Enjoying the early autumn weather and the pleasant sunshine.

I sat at a table for two, the waiter came immediately with the menu, I ordered and then I just sat there, on my chair. Enjoying being outside. Grateful for having enough money to treat myself in this manner after a tiring week. Grateful for having this idea.

I though about the people at the other tables, who they were and whether they enjoyed their lives. I looked at the cars and wondered for the 18th times [that day] why do people drive as much. I had a blast eating my pizza and focusing on how delicious that crust is when one has pizza once in a while. I took immense joy [way too much] that I couldn’t finish it all [but still tried].

And then I realised that I was feeling perfectly comfortable. I loved being alone without being distracted. I was also quite tired and this outing worked wonders for me. Made me more focused, more engaged with my actions and even happier.

I must say I checked my phone once for a work related emergency, but it was near the end of my lunch and then I put it down.

I hope you try this and that it brings more calm and happiness to hectic work days.

Make today count.

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