Asian-American college blogger laughing

Table For One

I had just cozied into the perfect concave of my dorm-quality mattress – you know, when you find the one comfy sleep position – when I heard the front door, and a few seconds later our bedroom door, slam open.

“Will someone please come eat with me in the dining hall?”

Inwardly cursing myself for not making better use of the lock, I sat up as a questionable grumble of complaints slurred off my tongue.

“Why can’t you eat alone?”, I ask.

Her eyes break from mine, almost embarrassed: “I don’t want to look like a loser.”

Since when did spending time with yourself – in public – become associated with the L word? There are far too many nights where I have gone out only to wish I had summoned the willpower to pass on $30 Uber fares and regretful Domino’s orders and stayed in instead.

Why is it that wishing to be alone and actually doing it are two concepts worlds apart?

Recently I indulged in yet another Facebook personality test. To my surprise, it wasn’t a total waste of my bountiful free time: my extroverted-introvert nature means that as much as I love to socialize when presented the opportunity, at the end of the day all I really want is to recede to my room and shut the world out.

I can’t argue with that conclusion. Saving time in the day for just myself and the things I adore – cracking open a fresh book, painting, browsing Amazon, reading my daily NYT briefing, organizing my Spotify – is just as sacred to me as a girl’s first pair of Louboutins. Understandably, then, the concept of eating alone at my favorite café or taking a lonesome bathroom trip (ugh! the horror!) doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

And while I can recognize the appeal of constant company, I must ask: in a time where the continuation of conversation is determined by read receipts and Snapchat arrows and we hear Twitter’s refresh chime more times a day than the human voice, have we lost the ability to shut it all out and, for just a few moments, simply be by ourselves?

My favorite line of relationship advice to dish out (but never accept myself), is “if you can’t be happy by yourself, how could you ever be okay with someone else?” Realistically, does this not apply to all areas of our lives – romantic and otherwise?

There is something empowering about ordering your favorite meal to go and sitting down in the park, watching the Humans of *insert your city* go about. There is something so great about sitting in your little corner of a coffee shop, unplugged, and reflecting what’s going on in the world around you.

There is something so wonderfully serene about pausing – even only for a meal’s worth – to give yourself a breath of fresh air before continuing on with the day.

My mom always reminds me that “at the end of the day, the only person that has to live with you is you.” Granted, it’s usually as she’s scolding me to take better care of my body. But one thing’s for sure, Momma’s word ain’t ever wrong.

It’s true. You can keep the company of others for as long in the day as you’d like, but when you’re climbing into your nightly cocoon, the only one left in the room is yourself.

Might be a good thing to be okay with that.

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