Ever taken yourself out on a date?

Last week I did something I’ve never done before; I took myself out to lunch. This might not sound like a big thing, but as I sat in Wagamama’s ordering my usual ramen (instead of picking up a takeaway) I realised I’d never sat alone in a restaurant before.

I started to question why I’d created such a big stigma around the idea of eating alone in public- was I worried about what people might think; was I worried I might get bored? After I ordered, I tried to look busy replying to emails on my phone, I thought I’ll make it look like I’m on a working lunch, which is a standard thing people do all the time. After replying to all the emails in my inbox, I put my phone down and took everything in. At that point I started to feel empowered, I discovered that I had enough confidence in myself to eat in a restaurant alone and not give a crap about what anyone else thought of me and to be honest, I came to the realisation that no one cared that I was eating alone either.

In between spending time with Steve, my family and friends I’m rarely alone, apart from spending the odd evening in the flat or working from home during the day. I crave time to be with myself, which is why it’s become one of my new year resolutions. However this caught me off guard, it wasn’t planned but I’d decided before I left that I wanted to eat lunch outside the house; I’d been working all day and the four walls of the flat felt like they were closing in on me. There was no way I was going to grab perfectly hot food and bring it home for a lukewarm lunch.

Sometimes a spur of the moment decision can make you reassess your way of thinking and behaviour. What would normally be a lonely bowl of take out ramen, was an empowering lunch out on my own. It got me thinking about all the activities in the past that I’ve stopped myself from doing because Steve or my friends weren’t available to do it with me. After being in a relationship for 10 years I sometimes think I use Steve as a bit of a crutch when it comes to going out and doing things on my own. I feel like I need him there to cope with some situations, which is completely ridiculous. It’s nice to have company but you also have to learn to be happy in yourself where ever you go.

That type of self confidence doesn’t come over night, but it comes from doing things by yourself for yourself. At first they might scare you, but then they lead you to feel happier about what you’re doing. I want to embrace situations that would normally make me feel out of my comfort zone or that I would prefer to do with other people, even if it’s something as small as going out to lunch, it’s that sense of empowerment that will not only build my confidence but jump into any opportunity that comes my way. I’ve heard the words self-care thrown about a lot recently and I think this is one of the ways that I’m trying to take care of myself too.

Have you ever taken yourself out on a date? Next week I’m taking myself to the cinema!

All the photos for this post were by Steve Booker taken within the Rebecca Louise Law ‘Life in Death’ display at Kew Gardens. Open until the 11th March.