I recently felt the urge to really discover the city in which I live….ok I’ve been here over 10 years so yes, it’s about time! Phoenix winters allow us more outdoor social opportunities, not to mention patio dining with sunglasses and short sleeves some days! Today the temperatures were in the low 60’s (chilly for me but felt good in the sun!). So I bundled up and experienced my favorite part of the city: Central and downtown Phoenix. I’m quite social and I usually prefer having company when I venture out to fun places. But recently I discovered there’s something to be said about solitary experiences now and then. For one, I’m more aware of surroundings and I notice more detail whether it’s funky décor in a local bar or the interesting exchanges between people. And depending on the scene, you’re more approachable when you’re alone. I’ve met some fascinating people (and some interesting ones) on several occasions.
So today I had the most wonderful experience volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul, helping with Christmas decorations and crafts. Afterwards I took advantage of their location and drove up Central Avenue. I stopped in at The Duce (one of the coolest restaurants in the city) for a bite: slow cooked grass fed brisket sliders (without the buns so it looked like a bowl of plain shredded meat , but I didn’t care. It was delicious!) And I ordered their famous chicken pot pie in a mason jar to go for later. (Yes, I know, the gluten! Ughh! I can just see some of my friends and colleagues shaking their heads right now. I’m going to have to ingest some serious enzymes with that meal despite peeling away the crust.) What can I say? I’m a sucker for comfort food on cold days. As I ate, I watched the behavior of people wearing those “hello my name is” tags shyly gathering by the bar.
Funny, I thought it was a speed dating event about to begin. I was told it was a company holiday party. Who would’ve known? I stopped at the Phoenix Public market for some last minute produce and then off to one of my favorite coffee hangouts, Lux on Central. I met and chatted with a beautiful, strong woman who now in her 40’s is back in school studying nursing, divorced, mother of three including a special needs grown child, juggling shared custody and two dogs. Her will, strength and commitment to her goals despite life’s challenges, simply moved me. I always meet such interesting people with a story or a fascinating background at Lux.
It’s fun being a soloist in your own town, or any town once in a while. You don’t have to wait for anybody. You go at your own pace. Quiet, pensive moments are in your control because you’re not obligated to entertain anyone with conversation. You have a blank canvas to draw your road map for the day. And you are the only one holding the paintbrush!
I ran out of time for a museum stop but the city isn’t going anywhere. We never know where life can take us. So making time to try new things and gaining more cultural experiences now are two profound things that enrich our lives. It’s definitely one way to learn about yourself too. And sometimes doing it alone adds more color to the journal of memories we keep only to ourselves.
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