Ten years ago, I was invited to New York to lead a training class for the American Management Association. I had three school-aged children at that time and I’d been working part time, but felt unfulfilled and exhausted from those early motherhood years. I jumped at the chance to travel alone, envisioning myself to be Mary Tyler Moore from the television show of the same name. There is an iconic scene in the beginning of that show where the young, single, career woman (Moore) throws her beanie into the air in a moment of joyful, independent womanhood. That was sure to be me as I arrived in Manhattan, ready to take on my first trip alone.
It didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t Mary Tyler Moore, in that I was older than her, married, had three young children, was in Manhattan versus Minneapolis, and had never traveled without my family. Plus, I don’t own a beanie. My glorious road to freedom was suddenly feeling a bit scary and maybe not as thrilling as I had originally assumed. I grew up in a generation where women didn’t really travel alone very often and business trips were predominately for men. We are only a couple of generations past a world that didn’t allow women to be alone in public . . . ever.
My feminist adventure was a new one for me and apparently not as easy as Mary Tyler Moore made it look. After walking, shopping, and people-watching, I was ready for a nice dinner in Manhattan and realized that I had never in my life uttered the words, “Table for one.” Although I love to spend time by myself, I usually did it in my own home, with my nose in a book. I had never walked into a busy restaurant and had a meal on my own. It felt uncomfortable for me to do so.
Sitting at that first dinner by myself wasn’t so great. I had talked myself into being sad and lonely. I missed my husband and my kids. This was an adventure that would have been more fun with them or with some of my girlfriends. I single handedly made that dinner an unhappy one and I walked back to my hotel feeling sorry for myself. Since then I have taken many solo business trips and admittedly the first few were similar to the first. “Table for one” was code for me feeling sorry for myself and only thinking of how alone and lonely I was.
Changing Our Point-of-View
Then one day I realized that I got to choose how to look at that table for one. I could see it as a sign of my loneliness or I could see it as freedom, adventure, and time with myself. I started to relish those dinners for one and look forward to them as I said goodbye to my beautiful family. Those dinners were my time. I people-watched, I reflected on life, I read a great book without interruption, and I learned that a table for one can be the best table in the house.We get to choose how we see life. The situation doesn’t change, but our lens in viewing it does. #perspective Click To Tweet
And so it goes with everything in life. We get to choose how we see it. We can see misery or we can see hope. We can feel loneliness or we can feel freedom. We can choose problems or we can see possibilities. The situation doesn’t change, but our lens in viewing it does. Maybe a table for one doesn’t sound like a challenge to you, but it was for me. What situations in your life could you switch the lens on and see an opportunity versus a problem? Let me know how you do.
Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC
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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident
by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.
About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, CPC
Certified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.
I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.
“I would have accomplished so many things by now yet my life just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.”
Are you one of these women just hoping and waiting to finally be really happy? Why wait! Why not figure out right now what’s keeping you from a truly fulfilled and joyful life. Is it a career issue? Relationships? Self-esteem?
Life is Too Short to Play Small
Whatever it is that keeps you from happiness can be solved and usually solved within a short amount of time. Life is too short to play small and without happiness.
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|Curious Versus Defensive||I’ve Been Me For A Long Time|
|Curious Versus Defensive|
|I’ve Been Me For A Long Time|