As this realization soaked into me, I started to worry about dining alone — and being alone — forever. "Is this how my whole life is going to be?" I wondered in-between bites of the flatbread. "A table for one with no one there to share my lunch with? No one to share my life with?" I felt my appetite waning and the internal panic rise inside of me. So much for being an independent woman.
I've always had a hard time letting go of love, foolishly believing the age-old idea that "you're nobody until somebody loves you." So when my relationship ended, the memories of the good times haunted me. Every street in Philadelphia reminded me of our doomed partnership. Food was at the center of these memories, since we both shared a love of dining out. There was the Old City wine bar where we had our first date, discussing politics and poetry over red wine and dark chocolate. The cash-only Italian BYOB where he introduced me to his family. The South Street diner where ate pancakes on Saturdays. The sushi restaurant where I admitted that I wanted to be with him forever. (It turned out that forever didn't mean forever after all.) I had love in my life and I lost it, and that fall from grace made everything I did solo seem meaningless.
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I temporarily allowed myself to melt into the depths of despair while I reminisced about the good times I had wining and dining out on the town with my boyfriend. Then, I took a deep breath and brushed off my sadness. I knew what I had to do: suck it up, get out of my rut and start living again. I needed to reconnect with myself and carve out a new path in life, regardless of whether I was going to walk it alone or hand-in-hand with someone I loved.
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So, I took out my cell phone and snapped a photo of the remaining half of my flatbread. I savored each bite and had a photo to remember the new memories I was beginning to create on my own. It really was delicious, even if I didn't have someone to share it with. I looked around the beautiful restaurant, took it all in, and smiled from my deep within my heart. "This is the moment when I will start living," I thought — and I did.