All the recent life changes proved to me, once again, that I am a novice at being alone, and particularly eating lunch alone. I’ve experienced high school fears later in life than the designated time. I promise it’s not because no one likes me – hopefully – but I’ve gone from a workplace of numerous friends and a mass of people, to one virtually opposite. Lucky if I make up half the office most days. Here are my lessons so far in not giving up on the world and learning to make the most of that strange time alone.
#1. Sign up for alerts from your city council. Through this I’ve managed a free lunch ( thanks to Oz Harvest ), experienced culture ( NAIDOC Week ) and wandered about. Every week I open their email longing for some kind of interesting free event happening. And, go to pretty much any of the events you can manage to in your designated lunch break – it’s about doing something out of the ordinary and adding spice to the day.
#2. Bring a book or magazine everywhere. You will always have a friend of sorts, look interesting and occupied – so no weirdos try to approach and make uncomfortable conversation. Downside – all that heavy baggage ( worth it ).
#3. Save up all your errands and then go nuts in the break. BUT try not to smash them all out in one go – we have 4 or 5 days of this a week people. Post office one day, bank the next, then the chemist, on and on and on.
#4. Con your friends and family in to tripping all the way into the city, just for an hour, to share a meal. This is obviously the best outcome possible. Especially when it involves a free meal, and the opportunity to open your mouth without talking to yourself. Then comes the profuse thanking.
#5. Get lost on Pinterest, because it is far less depressing than Instagram. Sorry but I don’t want to see your glamourous catch ups and coffee dates while I eat my salad solo ( jks, how often do I settle for salad? ). Instead I would prefer to scroll and save, and scroll and save, an array of inspiring pictures that give me ideas and creative juicing without the pangs of jealousy or regret.
#6. Sit in the sun and get a head start on the tanning process. People with work friends will be jealous come summer.
#7. Get comfortable with it. There are plenty of lunch loners lurking in the city every day, equally trying to find somewhere to sit that doesn’t make you look too conspicuous. Proudly join that club and just be.
But whatever you do, do not go near the shops. Steer clear because credit card + boredom = grave danger. Trust me. Now for some favourite Instagram foodies ( another reason to avoid during lunchtime – they will make you hate your meals and crave everything apart from what you are putting in your mouth on your own lunch break ).