Table for One: A #GirlBoss Guide to Keeping Your Love Life Fresh With Your #1 - You!
Most people in this world have a line. As soon as that line has been crossed, they know it. These folks say no to extra projects. They don’t have that extra drink when the floor starts to tilt. They don’t try to fit in a few more appointments, photoshoots, gossip sessions, or people into their already poppin’ google calendar. They go say no, go home, put their coziest socks on their feet, and sip their preferred beverage of choice and forget about the outside world.
I have never been one of those people.
I have four jobs and counting. I write for multiple sources, am a full-time teacher, part-time photographer and visual artist, Type-A personality, INTJ, Cancer with a Scorpio rising and a Taurus moon (sorry to everyone I’ve ever interacted with), perpetually-saying-yes, live attached to my calendar app kind of person. There are ten browsers up on my computer going in a hundred different directions, about 400 unread emails on my phone, and if I don’t get this blog post submitted in a few hours all of my friends will be drinking without me while I perfect verb tenses and insert a few more zingy hashtags, all while crippled with excruciating FOMO.
Maybe that lifestyle stresses you out, or maybe you, like me, are a manic Renaissance gal -- someone who thrives on seeing life from as many different angles as life has to offer, never satisfied with doing one thing at once, always hungry for adventure and letting that lead you down some pretty wild roads.
But here’s the thing: it’s also exhausting, and really easy to miss a deadline or let someone down because of a rushed job or a misunderstood text message. One little domino can send an overworked Girl Boss into a tailspin of doubt and anxiety-fueled late night woe-is-me panic attack, fueled by sugary cereal and whiskey. (Not that I have any experience with that at all…)
So what are we to do? How do we keep ourselves centred, sane, and strong?
My answer came in my early 20’s. I was out at a new restaurant with friends, when we saw this totally boss looking lady eating alone at a table next to us. Before this, I was used to two types of solo eaters:
1) the busy, on-the-go, basically eating while standing and then running type, or the
2) you live alone with cats that are probably going to eat you when you’re dead type. But she didn’t fit either of those categories. She was calmly enjoying her meal, alone. Not staring at her phone, not rushing, just eating.
The whole meal, I was completely drawn to her, fascinated by her ability to sit, and eat, and be alone without seeming to feel awkward or rushed. I don’t know why this was so revolutionary to me at the time, but it was. A few days later, I tried it at a coffee shop. I was someone who never went anywhere alone, preferring large groups of people to disappear into. And yet, here I was.
I loved it.
The next week, I tried going for a drink alone. Then, a full meal. I’ve seen movies alone with a can of wine, concerts alone in the front row, art gallery openings, and bars. The solo date is my go-to coping strategy for when the world gets too overwhelming. It’s self-care, yes, but it’s also way more than that: it’s alone time with my #1 honey-boo, my fantasy girl, my everything: myself!
If you’ve never done it, try it! It’s super simple, ready?
Take yourself out on a date.
I plan my dates with myself the way some people plan first dates with the hottest guy in their Calculus class: meticulously. I pick out an outfit, throw an extra layer of polish on my nails, fill in my brows, choose a good restaurant, order a sexy drink and some aphrodisiac appetizer, and then…
I enjoy my time alone.
Sometimes, I bring a book. Sometimes I spend the date on the ‘gram, or reading blog posts, or writing. Sometimes I spend my date staring out of the window. It’s whatever Shahaf wants for that window of time. My inner goddess gets to make all the petty demands she wants, and there’s nobody across the table to have an opinion about chocolate or lemon cake, or to debate the merits of seeing an arthouse film over the latest romantic comedy. Oh, she also gets flowers. Duh.
There is a huge difference between eating alone and taking yourself out on a date. It’s a mindset thing, I think. When I’m out on date with myself, I have an intention. I am checking in with my emotional and mental being. I am asking myself the challenging questions and giving myself space to react. I’m flirtatious, funny, relaxed, and best of all?
Just doing it for me.