I went for brunch with Ruth today. We met at an adorable spot in a hidden away part of the city, a pastel haven with a leafy patio and lovely cakes. We opted for a three course brunch accompanied by coffee and a mimosa because sometimes it’s important to treat yourself and sometimes it’s important to celebrate being alive and in good company. When I say sometimes…I basically mean always, if you can.
Ruth is one of my favourite human beings and having plans with her is to have plans to have a good day. There aren’t bad days with Ruth. That isn’t to say we haven’t been there through bad days but somehow she always turns a bad day into a good one because we’re friends, best friends, and that is the effect that good company has on a well-meaning mind. I remember in the depths of winter 2018 we spent one of my worst days together and it ended with us getting pick-n-mix, drinking Prosecco and making mutant foxes out of LEGO, racing our creations across her living room floor in fits of giggles. One of my worst days turned into one of my best because she was there and we both have a mutual interest in joy. No matter what.
Today WAS joyful. The uncomplicated kind. We munched colourful eclairs and dived into plates of eggs and smoked salmon, talking between mouthfuls and sips about our lives and everything that is good and bad. As much as we are delighted by one another, we agreed that we are also really happy in our own company too and how much of an important attribute that is to our ability to deal with what life is serving as its dish of the day.
That wasn’t always the way for me. I lost the love of my own company through the best part of 2018. At the end of it, I pulled myself up by my ill-fitting boot straps and took myself away on a trip. Just me. I know I find comfort in my friends and that people like Ruth make living my life an enjoyable adventure, but I also know now that happiness can’t be tied up in one person, or two or twenty other people, some of that has to come from loving spending time with me too.
We chatted for over an hour and then, after we had had our fill, the time came to pay up and go our separate ways for the day. We were sat in the shade but the sky was blue. The wind was rustling through the leaves of the trees surrounding the patio. People were smiling and the air smelled like butter croissants. I have places to be, I always do… but after all my good practices I still sometimes forget to make a time and place for me. Just me. Not me doing a task, not me walking across the city. Just me. Sitting. Quiet. Restful. Happy. So I did.
Ruth left and I stayed. I ordered a glass of rosé and sat watching the sun approach my table, sat sipping my wine and reading my book, sat thinking my thoughts and writing my notes. It was only an hour. If you’d asked me this morning I would have told you I didn’t have time, but I do. I’ve always got time for my friends and my boyfriend and my family, so I should always have time for me too.
I feel so good today. Thank you Ruth. Thank you me. Thank you sunshine. Thank you trees. Thank you quiet reflection. Thank you eclair with sprinkles. These are the moments that save my soul.