The other night was a big night for me. I dropped my daughter off at a party and made arrangements for my friend to go pick her up later. I got myself all dressed up. I put on makeup and styled my hair. And then I took myself on a date.
A dear friend of mine was performing in a play at a local theater Saturday night, and I really wanted to attend. I was pretty hesitant to go alone, though, since I was convinced I would feel awkward. I mean...everyone goes out to things like that in couples or groups, right? Okay maybe not everyone, but that's how it seemed inside my head. The only places I go when I'm alone are the store or for a run at a park or bike trail. Going out strictly for entertainment has never been an option when I'm not with someone else.
I decided to face my fear of whatever it was that had kept me from enjoying the town on my own. (To be honest, I almost called myself to cancel because I was so afraid of....of....of I don't know what!) But then I made the conscious decision that I would go out and enjoy myself. Call me vain, but I didn't want to go out looking like the pitiful girl who couldn't get a date, so I made sure I was looking and feeling good before I left the house.
I went to a little sandwich shop to get something to eat and made small talk with the cashier while I was there. I ate my meal and headed to the theater. I got there a little early and the doors hadn't opened yet, so I was standing in the lobby with a few other people. And of course, those people were in groups of 2 or more. I spent the next couple of minutes fighting the urge to pull out my phone and entertain myself with facebook or by texting or calling a friend.
After a few minutes, though, I noticed a woman who looked to be in her 60's and who was standing alone. I assumed her husband must be in the restroom and would join her shortly. I made eye contact and smiled at her. She smiled back. Several minutes passed and she was still standing alone, so I walked over to her and struck up a conversation. Turns out she was solo that night, too.
WHAT?!? You mean I'm not the only one who came to this play alone? Who would've thought? (Yes, I know...many people would have thought. But I wasn't one of them.)
After talking with this sweet woman (whose name was Linda) for about five minutes, the doors to the theater opened. Linda asked if she could sit with me. I smiled and said, "Of course!" We sat ourselves in the front row and continued to chat about our children, our jobs, and a multitude of other topics right up until the performance began. She had shared with me that her husband passed away a few years back and that it had taken her a while to be okay with going out alone. I shared with her that my ex-husband had left over 4 years ago and this was the first time I had treated myself to a night out alone. She encouraged me to continue doing so.
I truly believe that I was supposed to meet Linda that night. Even though she was a complete stranger and I will most likely never see her again, she made my entire evening comfortable and enjoyable.
Oh...I have to add that the play itself made my evening enjoyable, too. I wouldn't want my friend thinking otherwise! (Hi Tom...you were great!) Of course, the most entertaining part of the play was when one poor actress had a wardrobe malfunction and her skirt fell to the floor! She was brilliant, though....she laughed and remained completely in character while fixing her clothes and covering herself again. I had been worried that dating myself would be awkward, but she most DEFINITELY had a more awkward night than I did!
Since Saturday night, I've been thinking about what I can take away from my date with myself. At first I was wondering if I had failed at my self-date since it had pretty much turned into a date with Linda. But then I realized that's exactly what should happen when I go out alone. After all, I didn't go out with the purpose of isolating myself. I went out for the sake of having a good time without needing a friend by my side. I chatted with a few different people, and I connected well with one in particular. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Before I had headed to the theater, I had updated my facebook status to say that I was taking myself on a date. I logged in later to find a couple of cute responses about calling myself back in the morning and single female friends offering to go on dates with me. Then one person made the following comment: "Aww, you'll find somebody special one day." That struck a nerve with me, since the point of my post hadn't been to whine that I was single. I may meet someone one day...I truly hope to marry again and have more kids. But I don't want anyone pitying me simply because I went out alone. For now, I am my somebody special.
My experience with dating myself taught me 2 things:
1. I need to do that again....regularly!
2. I like me enough to want to hang out with me. That realization gives me confidence like never before!
I definitely plan to make dating myself a regular part of my life. I'll be sure to let you know if anything interesting happens the next time I date me!
And now that you made it to the end of this rather long ramble, check out this AMAZING spoken word video interpretation about being alone: