Eating Alone

There I sat. Toes digging into the sand, the skirt of my dress still damp from the waves that had taken me by surprise earlier that day.


The sun sank lower and lower against the horizon as it slowly descended to the ocean and below.


I was hungry and I could smell food.


I was in the center of hundreds of tourists swirling around - conversations blending into a mass of sound. 


The sound of people enjoying time together, yelling in excitement, kids squeals, lovers calm and kind tones, parents trying to keep their kids from running away in excitement and much more.


A saxophone played some classic jazz tunes in the background, hustling for the wrinkled dollar bills in the pockets of those who walked past.


It was sunset. Prime time for people to be out searching for food and the beautiful sunset views along the coastline.


I was in the right place to get dinner. 


There were multiple restaurants merely steps from where I sat. 


Yet something caused me to hesitate…


I was alone.


I was traveling alone. I was at the beach alone. I had spent the day mostly alone.


Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that traveling solo is difficult, rather it is quite the contrary - traveling by myself comes easily. I am not one to shy away from spending time or exploring new places by myself. In fact, I quite enjoy it.


However, in my past I’ve either traveled between hostels or traveled with other people. In the case of solo travel, hostels happen to be set up for solo travelers - with shared dining areas - making it easy to start conversation with other travelers or even the staff. 


On this particular weekend, however I was not staying in a hostel and had no access to a common dining/kitchen set up. So I found myself in this specific situation.


Debating whether to venture into a normal restaurant alone.


While sitting there watching the sunset and debating whether I felt confident enough to venture in and eat at the bar alone in a packed restaurant I decided to google it.


Turns out, eating alone is not an uncommon insecurity or concern.


From what I found, many people struggle with it, and many people have had a variety of experiences while trying it on for size.


It turns out, restaurants are built for groups of people - or couples at least. Not those of us looking to grab a bite at a nice restaurant in a pretty setting, who happen to be alone.


And I happen to think this is rather unfortunate.


I enjoy pretty views and nice food as much as the next person and can only take so much cafe food and fast food before I want a “real meal” - which is what led me to this moment.


I could have walked back to my car and driven back into town to grab something from Subway or the local grocery store - but I was at the beach and I wanted to soak in the beautiful setting that was surrounding me - as well as the delicious chowder I had read about on Yelp. I wasn't about to just get up and step away because of this one problem.


So…what did I do?


I decided to venture in.


And after doing a full loop around the bar and noticing some other people grabbing food there - I decided to take the one available seat.


And you know what?


It was fine.


In fact, I met a few interesting people while sitting there enjoying my beer and chowder while watching the last rays of sunlight disappear over the ocean.


And, when I walked out, I felt accomplished.


Like I had done something outside of my comfort zone - and had succeeded.


Sure it felt awkward, especially when I decided not to stare at my cellphone the entire time. I consciously put the phone away and decided to just sit and enjoy and see what happened.


And what happened was great.


I enjoyed my delicious food, a yummy brew and some interesting company.


I walked out feeling accomplished.


So, if you ever find yourself on your own and feeling shy about going to a restaurant in a new city or even in your own city I would highly recommend that you take the step to try it - and have dinner at the bar - you never know what may happen.


Do you have any interesting stories of going to a restaurant alone? If so, share them!









Getting Off The Merry-Go-Round of Life

Alarm buzzes. I hit sleep. Five minutes later it goes off again. I hit sleep again, this time with a bit more annoyance. It happens again. And again. About the third or fourth time I give in.


Its a new day. 


The sun is slowly rising. The room is slowly becoming lighter.


My feet touch the cold hard wood floor and I’m up. 


First step, first. 


Contacts, brush teeth…coffee…


That is as far as my thought process goes.


Soon I will be in a caffeine fueled rush to get out the door, and another day will begin. Just like the last. And work will be work. Then lunch will come and go, and a few hours later I will be headed home, for another evening of activity or lack thereof, before crashing and doing it all over again.


Why do I write this?


Because this is the passing of time. 


And as we all know, time IS our most valuable resource and something we cannot get back.


So what do we do with our limited time?


Many of us continue to live in this cycle of day in and day out - with the days circling through like a merry-go-round.


Some of us though, notice the spinning - and rather than accept it, try to find a way off the merry-go-round.


So what do we want instead?


We want our life to be like a path of wonder and beauty. Of exploration. Of endless days. Of new experiences. 


Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not avoiding hard work or the “harsh reality” that is life (as many people like to remind us).


Rather, we are looking for another way. 


We are looking to find that passion that causes us to launch out of bed and be willing to work until the wee hours of the morning without the whisper of a complaint.


Sure it will be hard. We will be tired. We will have our incredible highs and lows. But we also know it will be worth it - because we are off the merry-go-round of merely existing.


So how do we do this? How do we find this ever elusive thing called a calling?


I believe it lies in our ability to be self-aware.


Do you know what following your gut instinct feels like? Have you been listening to your instinct - what God has been telling you - or have you been ignoring it? Have you even given yourself a moment to be quiet and truthful with yourself? 


Jeff Goins says in his blog

“Your life is a mystery, and your job is to study it. Through prayer, meditation, or simple reflection, we all must become more self-aware. This is the only way we can stop letting life happen to us and become more active participants in it.”


When we ignore that ‘gut feeling’ - and many of us do - it can be painful when we finally do stop and listen, because it often tells us things we don’t want to hear or things we have been ignoring.


However, when we are in line with our intuition there is no greater feeling.


It doesn’t mean that things are perfect. 


From personal experience, there have been moments when I knew that something was off - even moments when I knew exactly what the problem was.


Sometimes it was my fault and I continued to ignore the nagging feeling until it came bursting to the surface. 


Other times it has been more subtle. I knew what was wrong but couldn’t change it right away. So rather than ignore the feeling, I recognized it and started the long process of making a change, even if it wasn’t immediate.


This ability to be self-aware and to pray gives us the sense to know when something is right or wrong for us - even when the rest of the world disagrees.


It gives us the insight to turn down that job offer despite what everyone is saying. 


It gives us the confidence to return to school and this time study fine art because you just know that that is what you are supposed to be doing.


It gives us the ability to make the decision to uproot a life that looks amazing to the outsider and choose instead to live in a rural village without basic necessities and work with an organization like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders because it makes your soul come alive.


It means we have a sense of what we should be doing.


It means we have the ability to write our own story.


I believe we all have this ability hidden deep within us and God gives each of us purpose. We just need to spend the time to uncover it.


We all know when something feels right or when it feels wrong - even when it is the opposite of what others tell us.


Unfortunately distractions today are easier to come by than ever, so it is increasingly easy to ignore our own gut instinct.


I sometimes wonder what would happen to American society if everyone was forced away from their chosen distractions…


Would people become more aware? Would there be a sudden shift towards increased consciousness? Would we find more people challenging the status quo for something better? Something different?


If we all have the voice of God guiding us throughout our lives, then it just becomes a matter of whether or not we are listening.


If we ignore it, life can still be good. We can live in a great place, have a family, learn a skill, become a master in that skill and become “successful”. But will our souls be satisfied?


If we listen, we could end up anywhere doing anything and it may not be the “stable” normal life that has become the norm in our world or it may be just that. But if my soul is satisfied and I know I have followed Gods path for my life - that will make it worth it, 100 times over.


So today, give yourself a few minutes without distractions and pray or meditate silently. Allow your inner voice to speak. See what it tells you. And rather than ignore it, start to listen and take what you hear into consideration.


Are you listening?

The Opportunity All Single Adults Have - That You’re Married Friends Don’t

It’s the end of the work day. You breathe a heavy sigh of relief as you open the front door and drop your stuff just inside. 


“I’m home.” you think as you walk straight to the couch and collapse. Today was hectic. Work was insane and you are more than thankful for the day to be over.


As you sit, you start mentally mapping out your evening. “Hmmm let’s see…I could go running, try a new dinner recipe, go on a walk, join my friends for happy hour, read, spend time praying, watch TV, work on my website, get some writing done, go to yoga, etc…” the list is endless.


You have options.


And time.




It’s not something to be taken for granted.


And it happens to be what makes single life so fantastic!


Yes you may have a busy lifestyle and a busy full time job or studying schedule - but one thing you have that others do not - is time to yourself


Not just time to get things done, but time to focus on you - and what you want or need to do.


This is not something to take lightly or take for granted. 


I would be bold enough to say that this is the ideal time to pursue some side passions, to build skills and really spend the time needed to make yourself into the best version of yourself. This is the time to allow yourself to explore and really experiment with new ideas.


Because this phase of life is one that is precious and valuable. 


Singleness as an adult, is in a way, a gift. You have more time to yourself now than you will ever have once you’re married, and or decide to have a family.


Recently I saw a post that said something along the lines of, “your success is determined by what you do with your time outside of work”. 


The author was pointing out how much free time we actually have each and every day - and that every day, we get to make the decision of how to use our time. 


Every day we have the opportunity to choose to develop, learn, create and progress with reading, learning a new skill, taking care of our bodies with exercise, making healthy food, etc… Or we can choose to waste away our time by mindlessly watching tv or scrolling through social media.


It’s up to us.


And honestly, since reading that post I have come to the realization of just how much time I actually have at the end of my work day. 


And now that I am aware of the time I do have, I am consciously making an effort to use it to the best of my ability.


Some days “my best” includes going on a run and meal planning for the week. Other days it includes an hour long nap after a hectic day followed by some beach volleyball with friends. And some other days it includes quality time with friends and community. 


It all depends. 


But one thing I do know is that now that I am aware of the time I do have, I am consciously making an effort to use it in a beneficial manner.


And that is all that matters.


So when I catch myself scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, I pause, and ask myself what it is I should be doing instead. Am I exhausted? Would a nap be better? Am I bored? Should I instead pick up my book or join friends at the beach? Am I anxious about something and using this as a distraction? Should I pick up my bible or go on a run to clear my head?


This awareness is all that is needed to start making better decisions with my time and I would recommend that you give it a shot yourself.


So humor me and answer this question:


What time do you typically get home and what time you generally go to sleep? How many hours are there in between.


How many hours do you have?


For me it is something like 6-7 hours. That is almost as long as an entire workday. That means I have a pretty large chunk of time everyday that I get to choose what to do with.


Are you using your extra hours for your benefit or no? 


By knowing the answer to that question alone you can be on the way to changing your life.


So if it turns out you are like me and are LUCKY enough to be living the single life, embrace it, because this phase of life - this time where you can focus on yourself and use the time you do have to make yourself better - is really a gift not to be taken for granted or wasted. 


What will YOU do with the extra hours you have? Do you have a goal you want to work towards? Is there some skill you want to cultivate? Let me know in the comments below.