One evening recently, I had the opportunity to go to dinner by myself. A few things fell through and I had someone looking after the kids so I took advantage of it.

Going to dinner by yourself is weird. BUT I am a bit used to it because I used to travel frequently for work and when you do that, you get accustomed to going to dinner by yourself. And in all honesty, I enjoy it. I can read whatever I want to on my phone. I can watch whatever I want on TV (if I’m in a sports bar) and I can order whatever food or drink I want without fearing the ping of remorse (aka – I order more to drink than my guest does) or the guilt of too many calories (until I put on my pants the next morning).

So I found recently that I had the opportunity to go to dinner by myself and I took advantage of it. And it was glorious.

Before I go further, I want to clarify a few more truths about traveling for work. When we’re traveling, we pack our days full so that we can get home as soon as possible. So when we sit down on a plane, it’s usually our first time to actually sit for more than 30 minutes without having to be lectured at, sold to or listened to. We enjoy silence. Why do you think that BOSE and Sony have sold so many ‘noise canceling’ headphones? This is our downtime, sometimes our only downtime before we get home to a house that needs to be cleaned in addition to our work and in addition to the lunches that have to be made and clothes that have to be laundered and folded before 7 am after a midnight arrival flight. That’s a small picture into a travelers’ life.

That’s what I’ve been used to for YEARS. And I’ve been okay with it. I actually miss it. Because it was quiet. And I don’t have quiet now.

I have mixed emotions about not having quiet now. Quiet to me, now, means being an adult…not having to be responsible for anyone but me. And choosing whether or not to be quiet or loud…having the choice to be quiet because I usually don’t have the choice.

But the lack of ‘quiet’ also means that my kids aren’t there and they bring me such joy. My little redhead thinks that the louder she is, the more she’ll get, (and she’s kind of correct because the boys hate to hear her ‘upset’ cries) and the boys are just loud, and honestly, even when I try to whisper, I’m loud, so they get it naturally.

It’s sometimes hard to find a balance between ‘full-house’ loud and ’empty-house’ quiet. But I’m trying so darn hard.

Back to my ‘alone’ date.

I was flirted with. And it felt darn good, even though I ignored the flirting after smiling about it.

Then after sitting at the bar for a little while and enjoying my quiet, a little old man sat next to me.

I was trying to find my ‘quiet’ and this man kept trying to strike up a conversation so I went with it. I talked and talked and talked after he talked and talked and talked. I was once again reminded about how perspective was really the key to dealing with any situation.

God was trying to remind me that my issues are small in comparison to others. And I think that God was reminding me of this because he knows how I am ‘wired’ and that will help pull me out of the ‘down’ mood that I could potentially be in, considering I found out today that my soon-to-be-ex-husband is STILL playing hockey with the ugly-soul that he cheated on me with.

This man, at dinner, (a man older than my father) opened up and shared with me that his wife of 42 years passed away about 18 months ago from breast cancer. Which is exactly what my mom beat, twice. He shared that he was so lonely on his acreage of land and missed his wife so much, that he was having a hard time coping with the silence. So he would drive to the restaurant once or twice a day to have dinner and talk with strangers just to avoid the silence. The one thing that I wanted and craved. And after his talk, I didn’t crave it so much.

I still have a hard time going to bed alone, even though the lack of ‘ridge‘ is making it easier to cope. 🙂 But I would much rather know that I have the opportunity to make a better life for my three kids and myself than to deal with an Irish Idiot that just wants to be single and date ugly, soul-less people…and that I have YEARS to do this, rather than being almost eighty years old coping with the loss of love.

This man went on and on about his wife and how marriage is difficult but when you work through the difficult stuff the good times seem so much better. And that when you’re working through the difficult times, the issues seem SO much bigger than they really are but once you commit to toughing it out, you realize it really wasn’t that bad.

I wish my husband could talk to this man. But I doubt it would have changed anything. His mom raised him to think that he could drop and run to her if life got tough for him because she would lie for him, cover up his mistakes, even to her husband (my husband’s father), and fix everything for him and his three brothers. When that has been instilled in you year after year for a lifetime, it’s hard to want to actually be an adult and work through problems.

Back to my story.

I was feeling so bad for this little old man, and then…a ‘woman-friend’ and her daughter came in, clearly an unexpected arrival, and they stole him away…and good for him. He was looking for companionship and he got it. I hope to be that open to things one day. Not looking for anything more…not looking for more relationship…not looking for more than someone to talk to…someone to give attention. Good for him. It was awesome watching someone be so open to possibilities in life.

And it gave me hope and made me smile about the reality of life.

Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get.