Natalie Workman in Florence on a Trail

Last night was the very first night that I’ve ever gone to a charity function without Brandon. And let me tell you. It was weird.

Brandon had to fly to NYC yesterday for business so I decided to stay in Scottsdale to work on the house and see some friends. Last night, we were invited to a charity kick off event and I was flying solo. Reservation for 1.

I had some last minute to do’s across town so I even drove to the event by myself. Now look: I am a strong woman who can make friends with just about anyone. I can be outgoing and was looking forward to seeing my friends at this party.

But man, it sure was a strange feeling getting ready by myself and walking in the door alone. And all of the sudden, it hit me that this might be the first of many events that I attend alone. Brandon has promised me that he’ll live to see our 50th wedding anniversary but, since we’re not even married yet, there’s not a high likelihood of him making it to 100+.

Sure, I will be later in life before I start attending events alone but it’s unbelievably scary for me to think about. This is a harsh reality of our age gap. It’s such a fear-mindset and I don’t want to be afraid. I want to trust that I’ll handle everything that comes my way with grace and strength. But I can honestly say, I still get scared that the last portion of my life could be filled with many moments just like last night, where I show up alone and widowed.

Natalie Workman in Florence on a Trail

It makes me want to cry. I’m totally crying just thinking about it now. Brandon is my best friend. My sidekick. My greatest love. And my fear of losing him one day is very real.

It sits with me and lingers. I wonder who I will be when that happens. If I won’t want to go out at all. How old I’ll be when things change. How much I will miss him.

And honestly, it makes me appreciate him so damn much. I get to fly to Portland to see him tonight and I can hardly wait to give him the biggest hug and squeeze him as tight as I can. It’s overwhelming to think of losing him.

But this is whole “going to events alone” skill is one that I need to intentionally hone. I have such admiration for women who have lost their husbands but still choose to show up. Beforehand, it’s easy to let fear paralyze you and lead you to believe you’ll have a better night at home in your PJs. Everything down to how many seats are at a table indicate that you should have 2 people, not 1. Putting yourself out there is not easy. So what did I learn last night?

Natalie Workman in Florence on a Trail

4 Tips for Going to Parties By Yourself

Make Your Relationships Your Own

Let’s be smart here, ladies. As a younger woman dating an older man, it is alluring to let him hold the friendship cards. He’s likely more established than you are and that is okay. Don’t let that scare you off initially. But once you’ve made the commitment that you’re in it for the long haul, don’t continue to assume that all of your mutual friends are his friends. They’re your friends too. Pick the ones you love – because you won’t love them all. But be intentional about the ones who are keepers. Send them texts and call them to catch up. Nothing is stopping you from being a real friend, even if they weren’t your friend first.

Be Okay Getting Uncomfortable

This is priority number one. No one likes showing up to a party by themselves. This is a fact. It feels awkward and a little forced. You don’t know what to do when you show up so you head to the bar and search for familiar faces. Not one bit of this feels natural. But you have to trust the process and do everything you can to be present in that moment. You’ve got this. What’s the worst that can happen? You’re by yourself all night? Okay – cool. You like yourself so what’s so wrong with that? Even if the entire night is a bust, which it never is, you will certainly wake up and look in the mirror the next morning and say to yourself, “Way to freaking go! I’m proud of you.” Prioritize making decisions that you’ll be proud of yourself for.

Natalie Workman in Florence on a Trail

Feel Great About Yourself

Alright. This is important too. Whenever you’re a little nervous about going to a party by yourself, make sure you feel fabulous. Wear your favorite lipstick. Put on the heels that make your legs look great. Pick out your favorite, most flattering dress.

Yesterday, I did all of the above, AND got a blowout. I felt like the best version of myself and that’s the first place to start. The last thing you want to do is show up already feeling uncomfortable. Don’t wear your tightest dress that you’ll have to fidget with all night. Pick a different night to pull that sucker out. Stick with what makes you feel confident and you’ll be off to a good start.

Last night, I showed up to this event and wore one of my favorite black dresses (because what other color would I wear?) and I picked my favorite pair of Giuseppe Zanotti 5 inch mules. I showed up as my favorite version of me and felt great all night.

Ask Great Questions

Once you’re at the event, make sure to ask great questions and pay attention. At large parties, it’s common to find people asking questions but not really paying attention how the person responds. Choose to be a good listener and ask questions to get past the surface bullshit like the weather or where someone’s from. There is no point in going to these events if you’re not going to make it a point to really connect with people. It’s a complete waste of time and you’ll feel empty inside if you’re not focused on going deep. It’s easy to get caught up in the fanfare of how you look and what you wear but don’t second guess it once you leave the house. Everyone else in the room will certainly look just as fabulous as you so don’t get all caught up in that. The key to meaningful interactions with strangers is asking great questions and being an even better listener.

Natalie Workman in Florence on a Trail

Alright. That’s enough for this week.  Enjoy your weekend and see you next week!

Xoxo Natalie

 

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