As young girls, we are told we can be anything we want. True. Unfortunately, many of us interpret this statement to mean we can have everything we want. Not true. Many of us drink the Kool-Aid of those who want us to be wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, friend, employer, employee, community volunteer, community board member, housekeeper, and chief cook all at the same time. We think we can have it all. But having it all does not necessarily mean having it all at once.
That last line was the inspiration for my new novel, The Laws of Love. The heroine, Livi Miller, is a corporate attorney with little to no love life. Her love life became collateral damage as a result of her work ethic and all Livi’s future holds is the proverbial retirement watch.
Enter Jake Cooper, Livi’s long lost high school sweetheart, and her career now has competition from her heart. Livi soon finds it impossible to be the doting girlfriend to Jake while trying to maintain her executive position with her employer and now she must make a choice. If she chooses her company, she saves her hometown. If she chooses Jake, she saves herself.
Now, not every woman has the fate of her hometown resting on her shoulders, but every woman today can relate in part to Livi’s predicament. We don’t know the word “no,” so when asked to take on a new project at work, or head up a school fundraiser or even (heaven forbid!) try a new recipe because our family is sick of meatloaf, we nod and dutifully assent even if we really were craving meatloaf for dinner. Like Livi, we try to be all things to all people and we measure our success by the number of hats we wear, even if our hats are a little floppy sometimes. In the end, we make everyone happy but forget to take care of the only person who can truly make us happy – ourselves.
So how do we balance our professional life with our personal life? How can we have love and a career at the same time? How can we have it all? By realizing that we can’t have it all. At least not all at the same time. By finding happiness in what we have now, not in what we think we should have now. This doesn’t mean we should settle for anything – or anyone. This just means that right now, we may not be the perfect employee or the perfect lover. But we can be the best at what we are for that moment. And in the next moment we may be the best at something else.
When being our best, we must remember to devote our resources to that which will give us lasting fulfillment.
Last I checked, there were not many bestsellers on the fiction list about lost careers because, in the end, sharing a life with someone is much more satisfying than sharing an office. So the next time you are asked to work late, and you must cancel your date with Mr. Perfect for the fourteenth time – don’t. Unless your hometown will be destroyed if you leave work early, take a break and choose love for once. Put yourself first. For those few hours, be the best in romance you can be. You can put your work hat back on tomorrow. But for the moment you are in, for that moment with Mr. Perfect, wear the most romantic hat you can find and forget you are anything but the best date he has ever had in his entire life.
You will have to read The Laws of Love to find out Livi’s choice, but how do you balance life and love and everything in between? Send me your comments and let me know your thoughts.