About 3 years ago, I discovered a new time in the day; pre-7.30 am. Having a job where the earliest I’ll start is 10am meant lie-ins were the norm every day. This all changed when I started going for coffee with a group of 6 lads every Tuesday morning at 6.30am. I would (and still do) run up to Clifton Village and we would have a great time chilling, chatting and listening to each other every week. It is literally one of my favourite things to do each week and I am a much better man because of it. Discovering this time changed my whole life though. It taught me a new social hour. Teaching guitar often means I’m working late into the evening and being a massive extrovert, I missed out on social occasions so often that I wasn’t getting my ‘fix’. This led to me asking other people if they wanted to have breakfast/ coffee early on in the mornings also. Currently, I meet with a friend every other Monday morning, my Tuesday morning lads, a mate on a Wednesday morning and a mate on a Friday morning. I’m not gonna lie to you, when I meet with these people, my whole day is SO much better. Inspired by my friend James, this had me thinking… What if I met with someone or a group of people every meal time for a week. In other cultures it is such an important social event each day, why do I rush lunch on my own, at my desk or what ever? I wanted it to be a different person every time too (not just eat with Helen every meal and claim I completed the challenge). The only rule was that if I didn’t find someone to eat with, I didn’t eat that meal at all.
I met with loads of different mates, I had lunch with my mum and at the weekend I was hanging out with a big group of friends in Devon anyway so that was made easy.
I’m not going to bore you with every meal, who I met with, what we ate and what we talked about; that’s not the point. The point is that I had an amazing week. It was tiring at times as I had to organise it around my weird schedule, but I genuinely felt really great each day (even though on 2 occasions I went hungry). I think connection with other people is vitally important for mental health and although it can be a bit vulnerable at times (as I get bored with shallow conversation very quickly), it opens up opportunity for deep friendships to be made and for a sense of feeling ‘known’ which is kind of what I think life is all about.