Friday, December 2, 2016

Never Eat Alone

I go to dinner with some former coworkers, at which one of the topics of discussion is "never eat alone," the idea being that every meal is an opportunity to expand your network, your knowledge, and your world view--if you eat with someone else.

I suppose this idea is not so different from my having tried to "have coffee" with people when I was out of work. Not only does sharing a meal or having coffee expand your network, it keeps you from living an isolated existence, no matter what your current employment or financial status.

While I was once quite committed to the "have coffee" idea, fairly steady work and the preservation of the schedule and energy to maintain that work have come to change my focus. When given the choice, I often opt for the control of the "alone" situation, rather than the risk of the "never alone" scenario. As we continue the "never eat alone" conversation, however, I realize that putting yourself out there, even when there is not the imminent need for connection, is still important, and still empowering. When you eat (or even just drink coffee) with someone else, you open yourself to different viewpoints and different opportunities. When you "don't eat alone," you situate yourself not just for how things are now, but for how they might be if circumstances should change five minutes or five months from now.

I'll admit, often my "never eat alone" company will be my family. While that's not really the intention of the instruction, family too can provide perspective that munching alone just can't.

It took a leap for me to go to the dinner where I had the opportunity to discuss "never eating alone." Often, it is a lot easier to face just a plate in front of us, rather than a person across from us. But when we try never to eat alone, we transform the meal into much more than just a little nourishment. It becomes the source of the kind of energy that helps sustain us going forward.

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