All By Myself

I am not an only child, but I can most certainly relate.

As the youngest of three girls, I spent a lot of time playing alone. My older sisters only had two years between them, whereas I was 4 and 6 years behind. I learned how to make my own fun and spend time with just myself. I became my own best friend in some sense and as an adult I still revel in that time to myself.

Over the weekend, I stumbled across this video called How To Be Alone. It’s a video to accompany a poem written by a Canadian spoken word artist. It’s fantastic and I highly suggest you watch it!


It got me thinking about how I never mind doing things on my own. While I do thrive off the energy of others, I also crave that time in my own thoughts. I like shopping alone, going to the movies alone, working out and exploring this city alone. Lately, I’ve also been dining out alone.


I’ve come to learn that the Pickle Barrel is a bit of a Toronto institution. I’d never heard of it until moving here, but it’s a place people like to go to whenever they’re in town!

I came here after work one late Friday afternoon. I was actually on my way to Subway, but I had time to spare and a relaxing dining experience sounded enticing. They seated me in a small booth and I spent a loooong time going over the extensive menu filled with all-day breakfast options, deli sandwiches and big salads. In the end I opted for the Grilled Chicken Hummus Wrap: Grilled chicken breast strips, black olives, mixed bell peppers, red onions, sundried tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese and hummus tightly wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Served with mixed greens, balsamic vinaigrette and fresh fruit.


A+ Pickle Barrel! I’m a sucker for soft flour tortillas, the chicken was plentiful and well cooked with lots of hummus and sundried tomatoes (the best part). I didn’t get any fresh fruit, but the salad was fairly big and consisted of more than just greens.

After a busy and hectic couple weeks of work and pleasure, I decided to take myself out on another date this past Sunday morning. It started with a free yoga class at Lululemon. It was a Vinyasa class which I’ve come to love and even did crow pose for the first time!!

Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, I walked down the street for a perfect Sunday brunch treat.

Cafe Crepe on Queen Street in downtown Toronto has been on my extensive and ever-growing list of “restaurants to try” since I got here. I had high hopes for this place seeing as one of my favourite restaurants back home, Cafe Archbald, is a crepe place too!


Cafe Crepe has a to-order window on the street, then a take-out counter at the front with a small eat-in counter. At first I was going to eat here since I was only a “party of one.” But then I thought “what the hell” and got seated in the dining room in the back.

I was surprised to see that while the menu was large, it didn’t necessarily have a lot of crepe fillings to offer. I opted to make up my own filling combo of ham, swiss, mushroom.


What they lacked for in options, they made up for by stuffing the crepe full. Definitely did not hold back on any of the fillings! The crepe itself was a little on the sweeter side for me, but it was perfectly crispy and didn’t go soggy.

One thing I will say about dining alone is that servers get more nervous when you start taking pictures of your food :P

On my way back to the subway station I stumbled across this:


A restaurant specializing in baked potatoes. Something else to add to my “to try” list. Although I think I may need reinforcements in the form of dining companions for this one ;)


Question of the Day: Do you spend much time alone or do you prefer being with others? What’s your favourite thing to do when it’s just you? I could easily seclude myself away from others without noticing, that’s why I try to make an extra effort to be social! And I like grocery shopping alone best :)


!! Voting is now officially open!!

You can read and check out my entry for Project Food Blog here if you want to help me become “the next food blog star!”

Posted on September 20, 2010, in Restaurants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I have spurts where I love to do things alone. Hunni is a homebody so I go to movies and coffee shops alone a lot. But I prefer to dine with others.

    I learned to do things alone while single so I’m okay with it now too.

  2. Jennifer@aknackfornutrition

    I love spending time alone. Being in my own head is great as it let’s me sort though all of the thoughts that build up in my mind. :) Glad I’m not the only one that embraces a peaceful moment to themselves.

  3. I love spending time by myself too, especially grocery shopping! Back when I lived in Japan I would just wander around stores by myself on the weekends, and I would eat at restaurants by myself too. I had no problem with it :) Even though being with people is nice, sometimes it’s just more relaxing to be by yourself. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  4. i have a HIGH need for alone time and personal space and unstructured time. i always have. one of the hardest things about motherhood is that you are NEVER ALONE. And even if your child is sleeping, they could wake up and “blow” that little hour you had counted on and hoped for. that’s what kids do, they wake up. They need their mom. But as mama, it’s hard to adjust to it. Especially when you lived your life, as I did, as one who enjoyed closing the door to the world, being alone, and just vegging out. I totally relate to you wanting to be alone.

    But when i wanna go out, i am LIFE of the PARTY!

    I am total loner and total party lifer, all in one :)

  5. I really thrive on alone time. One of my favorite solo activities is going to movies by myself

  6. Even though many would describe me as being very social, I love my alone time. I had a great Sunday. My husband was in a golf tournament so I took full advantage of our empty home and puttered, went for a ride around the park and simply caught up. Yeah.

  7. I’m from a very social, outgoing Irish family and I do love the company of other people but I get very grumpy if I don’t get my alone time! (I guess you could say ‘alone time’ is my ‘adult nap’.) Movies are my favourite especially as I have a fairly broad interest range so it’s easier just to go on my own than trying to find the right person who wants to go to this type of film.

    As for grocery stores, do people actually plan to go with other people? Other than my mom coming so I could borrow her car for the odd case-lot sale, I’ve never planned to go grocery shopping with someone (as opposed to walking back from town and one of us has to pop in to pick something up).

  8. I voted for you, good luck!

    I’m an only child with several half-siblings who have never lived in the same home with me, so I’m pretty OK if I have to do stuff alone. I also think it’s refreshing to be alone sometimes and not surrounded by others. The thing I learned about myself few years back, is that I feel good in myself and have fun too.. there not always a need for other people :)

  9. That video was brilliant, I liked it a lot, thanks for sharing!

    I like to be alone sometimes, but I almost always like to be with someone.
    Especially walking outside.
    Then I don’t feel so vulnerable.

  10. I really apprechiate time on my own, I love my own company! I’m also happy to do more things on my own, basically because I don’t want to be restricted to what I do as my friends don’t always enjoy some of the things that I do – for example spending 2 hours wondering around markets picking out fruits and veggies! I think there has to be a balance though, I wouldn’t want to do everything on my own, some things just have to be experienced with others like a really good meal!

  11. I just watched that video last week. It is so beautiful! I like spending time alone. I have spent a good amount of time alone this summer because my husband works a lot during the summer months, and I feel like it is a good time to relax, and do the things I love.

    I love going out to eat alone as well! [And I just realized I never replied to your offer to go to free Lulu yoga… So sorry! I was super busy with the inlaws]. It’s nice to not have to worry about how you look eating, or how “healthy” your meal is ;)

    I do also love socializing… we need to go out again as soon as I am back from the States! :)


  12. You know, I’ve never had a problem doing things on my own. I can go to the movies, have dinner and just wander about by myself with no problems. I figure just because I don’t have someone to do it with doesn’t mean life needs to stop!

    It’s nice now to have a boyfriend to do a lot of this with but if he’s working and I still want to do something and no one else is around? I’ll head out! It’s refreshing! Gives me a chance to spend time with myself which is just as important as spending time with others!

  13. I love my own company, I like to sit and read blogs and write mu=y own, I love to go running alone it helps me to go through all my niggling thoughts and smooth them over. I have to say I never really go out to eat on my own, I eat my lunch on my own sitting on a bench with my own thoughts and have no problem with that but I guess it just doesn’t ever occur to me to go out and buy food alone………

    I voted for ya x x x

    You can check mine out here:

  14. I definitely need my alone time and often like to spend a day on the weekend on my own, but I still consider myself a fairly chatty person. Like you, I still try to make a little extra effort to go out and be social. :)

  15. I’m not an only child either, but the only girl, so I had a similar situation to you, although I excluded myself by choice ;)
    I really love grocery shopping, window shopping, and going to museums on my own. I can also be anti-social where I’m happy locking myself in my kitchen to cook or in the bedroom to read for hours at a time.

  16. I do like being alone. I live with my partner and even though we’ve been together for almost 5 years I need to escape him sometimes. I do remember when I used to get in trouble for talking on the phone with you for hours when we were kids. Those were the days.

    • Haha, my sister and I were talking not that long ago about how we don’t memorize phone numbers anymore, but can still recall the phone numbers of all our best childhood friends. Yours included :)

  17. I am someone who really needs their alone time. I pretty much live by myself (I live at my Dad’s but he stays with his gf) so I have a lot of time by myself. After being around a lot of people for a while, all I want to do is go home and have quiet time :). I do LOVE going out though and make a point to get out with friends a couple times a week so I can unleash the outgoing side of me! I see some girls who think they need to be around people or have a boyfriend to be “o.k.” but I think it’s really important to be “o.k” by yourself!

  18. I freaking love that video!! And I also love spending time alone….. movies, groceries, gym. It just grounds me and reminds me of who I am and that is a very nice and comfy place to be :)

  19. I’m the same way – I LOVE to be alone and have to make an effort to be social. I enjoy being out with other people, but crave alone time.

  20. I’m a loner, besides being with my kids all the time. I enjoy being alone, but wish I had more people to hang out with. That you tube video, I found that a couple weeks ago, love it.

  21. I am an only child so sometimes I have to go out of my way to try to be around people and actually really engage.. not because I don’t want to but I think because my natural tendancy is to be in my own world

  22. I am an only child and an introvert to the core. I’m a social butterfly, but I draw energy from being on my own. You’ve got me craving a crepe now!

  23. I love my alone time, but I don’t spend too much time alone. When alone, I prefer to watch a movie or watch some trash TV, but it’s usually spent cleaning, shopping, or blogging :-P I think it’s awesome that you choose to dine alone:) Less talking more chowin’ down! ;)

  24. I actually really enjoy spending time alone. I can do things at my own pace and go places other people may not care to go. I never get tired of being with my hubby (which is a good thing). Family and friends are great, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the noise in big get togethers because of my more quiet life at home.

    Mr. Spud? I remember a long time ago going to a baked potato place and I was in heaven.

    Good luck with the voting :D

  25. I usually work out by myself so that’s my alone time. When I lived alone I spent a lot more time by myself. Now that I live with my boyfriend we spend a lot more time together.

  26. i saw thta video when you posted it on twitter, love it! and although I am not an only child either, I realy do enjoy time to myself…it is a freedom like non other and can be impowering!

  27. yay, voting for you right after this! mmm.. mushroom, ham and swiss. lovely combo.

    and i LOVE to be alone! absolutely LOVE it. it is weird to have a husband!

  28. Sounds like we have a few things in common–my sisters and I have the exact same spacing in terms of age (I am the youngest as well). I also enjoy time alone–I like to think of it as a skill that I can be content by myself if need be.

  29. I’m totally the same. Although I get the occasional taste of loneliness (usually when I have no work on the go), during busy periods of life (ie. most of the time) I crave being alone. I’m not sure if it’s the academic tendency in me that makes me want to live in my own mind, or if I’m just becoming more introverted as the years go by :) Either way, I’m happy for it. I know myself better because of it.

  30. I’m an only child and have a touch of social anxiety so I like being alone for the most part. I use my alone time to read books, take naps, and monopolize the tv. My husband never watches the things I want to see! lol!

  31. i love that video! i watched it awhile ago, and it was quite moving. i am like you – i thrive off of being with other people but then i get to a point where i shut down and just need to be by myself!!!

  1. Pingback: Things I Learned – September | The Great Balancing Act

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