Even a few years ago, my eyes always drifted to people who were eating alone at restaurants. I couldn't help myself from looking, trying to decipher who these people were that felt brave enough or desperate enough to go out to eat on their own. I'm not talking about grabbing a quick sandwich in the middle of the workday, I mean a nice cloth napkin place on a weekend evening, or a decadently slow Sunday brunch with all the couples around.
It seems silly now, because its something I now do every once in a while. I don't like to eat out much at all, partly because I think cooking is one of my self-soothing activities, and partly because I'm one very picky vegetarian, and when I'm not on a sugar kick, like the cupcakes I baked yesterday to celebrate the finishing of Chapter 5, I do try to stay on the healthy side of things. The other part of it is just having moved to Postdoc city, and being in a dissertation bubble I don't get out that much, and when I do, its not for food. I'm sure there are places here that I have to discover, but I haven't put in the effort to do it.
Anyway, things have changed in a few years. I've been forced to move 6 times in the last two years, and that's taken its toll, I have only a few friends here Postdoc city. I now think nothing of showing up at a restaurant, asking for a table for one, declining the offer to sit at the bar (which I've found uncomfortable if you really want to eat and enjoy the meal), and feeling very comfortable sitting on my own. I used to bring a book to read, and sometimes I still do, but I don't have that naked feeling without my book. I don't hide behind my book anymore. I'm okay even without the book. It seems silly to post about this, but I am really feeling like its a milestone for me. I'm okay with eating out on my own. I feel a bit more grown up.