Lunch breaks have long been a favorite part of my day. When I first started working at my company, way back in 1994, I would have lunch every day with a group of colleagues. We’d walk over to Third Street in Santa Monica, and eat at an international food court–one that is no longer there, alas. We’d do this nearly every day, regardless of the weather. Often we’d talk about work, but we tried hard not to talk shop. This went on for years.
When I transferred to our Washington, D. C. area office in 2002, things changed. Most of the people I worked with on a day-to-day basis were still in Santa Monica. I began spending my lunches by myself in my office. It was a quiet time I looked forward to. I would read, but often, I would quickly eat my lunch and then put my head down on my meeting table and nap. I’d fall asleep within a minute and sleep for half an hour, almost always waking feeling refreshed.
Somewhere in early 2013, when I began to listen to audiobooks, my lunch habits changed again. I often ate my lunch while I worked, and then, during my lunch hour, I’d walk two or three loops around the the block listening to books. These were, I think, my favorite lunch hours, with the exception of those first few years in the mid-90s when I’d hang out with my work friends.
These days, I work mostly from home. Each evening at dinner, my older daughter asks all of us what our favorite part of the day was so far. Often, mine is my lunchtime. I usually dash over to Subway for a six-inch turkey sub, which I bring back home. I sit at my desk and listen to a book, or catch up on a magazine article. I close my work laptop during this time and avoid looking at my phone. It’s not Thoreau’s Walden, but it’s probably as close to it as I’m going to get for some time.