Many of you may think that my proclivity to eat lunch out with a friend a few times a week is frivolous. “You don’t have TIME to go out for lunch.” “You shouldn’t waste your time.” “You are SO busy and everything is SO CRAZY and blah blah blah.

First of all, let’s just acknowledge that most of us are going to eat lunch. If you choose to eat this midday meal at your cubicle, over your kitchen sink or while driving to your next appointment, that is your deal. As for me, I say to all of you ladies who don’t lunch: Relax and give it a try.

As my kids have grown up, I’ve had fewer opportunities to see friends at birthday parties, to bump into neighbors at school events and to talk while waiting at the bus stop or the carpool line. Facebook helps, but it isn’t the same as spending 45 minutes over a salad with grilled chicken breast (dressing on the side, NO CROUTONS we cry!) and trading tales with someone you care about. Admit it… the salads at Tarantella at Weston Town Center are so good, you don’t even MISS the carbs!

I was once like you: too busy and, yes, too important to go out for lunch. I had to spend every nanosecond of my day working, doing errands for my family, getting the endless to-do list checked off, volunteering… and lunch was just not gonna make it on my list. I was immensely proud of this, of course, and wore my NO LUNCH OUT FOR ME status like a badge of honor.  

Time marches on, and as it does, so do our lives and our patterns. People move on, kids grow up, friends divorce and remarry – and with those changes, our opportunities to just plain see one another diminish.

For me, eating lunch out is a way to connect, something I have only recently made time for. Sure, it is actually easier to just keep working through the day. But when I stop and treat myself to a nice lunch out with a friend, I feel so good. And, there’s this: When I have lunch at home, I ALWAYS put the croutons on.