Just a few days ago, I saw an advert in TikTok (of all places) about a man eating his iftar meal (the meal to break your fast with) by himself. The whole advert, in my mind, started like any food advert. But the words that came on the screen startled me.
Those words made me think about life and the modern world where we live. In Nordic countries, at least, the construction companies are building smaller and smaller apartments as there doesn’t seem to be a need for large apartments anymore. This is because more and more of the younger generations prefer single lives as they want to concentrate on their careers. Thus, fewer and fewer children. So, there are fewer and fewer chances for people to dine together?
Iftar meal, for me, is supposed to be a social event. It might feel like a strange concept for a Finn, but for me, it feels natural to have someone or some people to share it with. The same goes for any dinner: ever since I was a child, my parents made it a point that our family would have at least one meal together. As a smaller kid and then as a teenager, I didn’t exactly appreciate this rule, but later on I have begun to understand the reasons behind it. And maybe that is why I feel very awkward if my Wifey tells me sometimes to start my meal before she is ready to come to the table.
But what if there is no one to share the meal with? I am quite sure you get used to it and just go on. I know of people who don’t really want to cook for themselves and turn to surviving with bread and butter instead, or with ready-made meals from the shop.
But what if you are forced, by circumstances, to dine by yourself day after day after day, even if you have parents and relatives, that have decided to leave you out because of who you are. How can you survive this? As was said in the advert that prompted me to write this article: “My family doesn’t want anything to do with me as I came out as gay.“
I come from a family that supported me wholeheartedly after I came out – or actually after I was outed to them by my cousin for whatever reason he had to out me. There were tears, but that was it. What mattered to my parents was that I was happy and that I knew I could always come to them about anything.
And now I saw the short video, which made me realise that not everyone is so blessed that I am. But as it is so, should we not do anything? Should we not, when we know of a person who is forced to dine alone, invite them to have dinner with us? By doing that, we would make new friends, and perhaps make another person have the feeling of belonging.
This also goes for the elderly who live alone. We could prepare food for them and ask if they would like to join. Or if that feels too much to start with, we could just have a chat with them, as this also alleviates feelings of loneliness.