Photo: Scott Griffin
A few months ago I had a layover in Baltimore… Although I was alone, I wanted to take advantage of exploring the city for the first time. There was a festival taking place that week, so I wandered down to the harbor to take everything in.
Eventually I worked up an appetite that could only be cured by the best of Maryland’s crab cakes (I had to try the state’s delicacy). I made my way to the far end of the harbor, and found a really nice restaurant with waterfront views. As I approached the host stand, I was greeted with the common “How many in your party?”
When I told them it was just me, I was met with a confused expression. Being completely satisfied in enjoying a meal on my own, I wasn’t bothered by this. I also wasn’t surprised.
I expected to sit down and enjoy my dinner in solitude, but that’s not what happened. By the end of my crab cakes, I had talked to essentially every waiter at the restaurant, along with the general manager more than twice. The first few times I thought of these interactions as polite gestures, but after awhile I became annoyed. It became apparent that a woman dining alone meant to them “please talk to me I’m lonely,” so they proceeded to try and solve my obvious problem.
In my mind, this assumption confused me. I mean that evening I had chosen to leave my hotel and walk into that restaurant. Why was that something to be pitied?
Admittedly, a table for one isn’t something I would’ve always ventured. It used to make me uncomfortable to do anything on my own, so I was constantly surrounded by family and friends. Had it been a year ago, I probably would’ve just ordered room service that night.
However, since becoming a flight attendant my outlook has changed drastically. Because solitude is an inevitable part, this lifestyle change gave me an opportunity to grow. It was so important that I learned how to enjoy my own company, especially as a single adult. After a few trial runs, I even found a desire for those solo adventures!
I would’ve missed so much this past year if I had depended on the company of others. Whether it be a movie at the cinema or a new destination, I can’t escape the pull to experience as much as possible. Clinging onto that is what ripped me out of my comfort zone, and into my favorite version of myself (thus far).
Learning to fly solo has been liberating, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Each time I was approached by a waiter with awkward banter or discussion about the weather, I recognized more the growth this past year has given me. Realizing that (in part) made the interruptions more bearable.
I refuse to exist in a world in which I feel less than whole by myself. So go get your crab cakes, no matter how uncomfortable those who aren’t as brave will feel. Never be afraid to find your own adventure! Besides, an awkward interaction every once in a while is kind of fun. 😉 xo
What sort of experiences have you had on your own? Has anything ever held you back from putting yourself out there? Let’s take on this world (alone) together!
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