On eating alone

People often ask how I can bear to eat alone most days.

They say mealtimes are social, a time to catch up, go over the day, share stories.

But there is a quiet ritual to my mealtimes, especially in the evenings, and even more so now I’m self employed.

A table set for one, with pasta and a drink, and a tea towel featuring pink teapots.

Photo by Elli O. via Unsplash

In my working days, mealtimes were a pause – a sort of peace between the hustle of the day job and commute, and the quiet, determined industry of my evenings spent working on my then fledgling businesses.

Now, they are a reminder to stop, to nourish and take care of myself. Mealtimes are a chance to catch up, and to go over the day – but with myself, not with a cacophony of other voices and experiences.

The act of cooking, and then sitting down to eat (yes, alone), is one I find deeply soothing. As a child we almost always ate at the table rather than on our laps, and I try to make sure that happens at least a few times a week.

Though indulging in my favourite films while eating on my lap is also one of the many pleasures of living alone. This evening’s was Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes.

I like my solitary meals, and I love my own company. And, should I crave chatter and voices to accompany my food, I’m never lacking in friends to eat with.

The choice is the thing – one of the many parts of singlehood I find magical in spite of others’ misplaced pity.

Do you eat alone? Is it joyful or do you find it strange?