I used to hate eating alone. I used to hate being alone.
After Owen was born I was never alone. When I wasn’t at work I always had him with me. I would get up in the morning and get us both ready and take him where he needed to go. When I left work, I would go straight to my mother in law’s house and feed him before we left to go home.
Then my marriage ended. And suddenly I was living in an apartment and sharing custody of Owen. For the first time since he had been born I had whole evenings and days to myself to do what I wanted. And I really had no idea what to do with myself. I was like a wagon that had lost one of its wheels.
One of the things that was most uncomfortable for me was eating alone. If I was in my apartment, sitting at the table alone at first felt strange and lonely. If I went to a restaurant I learned that sitting at the bar felt less like eating alone, even when I was.
Over time my perspective has changed. I have come to really appreciate the nights when the only person I need to please is myself. And I have also found that I like my own company. Last night, Owen was with his grandparents for dinner, so I made a kimchi bowl with rice and tofu and sat down at the table and ate and it didn’t feel lonely or awkward. It felt joyful.