Love The One You're With
Sex, Lies & Stilettos 2
December 9, 2013
Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series simmers to a boil as two high-powered magazine writers find love amid a war of words.As a leading columnist for Stiletto, Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancé would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men’s magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she’s not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses . . . or is she?Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what’s-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job . . . except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto. But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously.
CONQUERING QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS
We’ve all heard of the mid-life crisis. It’s the aging father who’s spent the past fifteen years working too hard, losing his hair, driving a mini-van, and all of a sudden reaches mid-forties and wonders how the hell he got here. Cue the convertible and the hair dye and the flirtation with the sexy new neighbor. Or maybe it’s the dedicated career woman on the verge of her her fiftieth birthday who realizes that despite a lifetime of not needing anyone, she’s . . . gasp . . . lonely.
Now let’s take the phrase “quarter-life crisis.”
It’s as clear, is it? And yet it’s gaining popularity. It’s similar to the mid-life crisis in that it’s well . . . a crisis. But it’s different in that it generally occurs in your twenties, right as your life is supposed to be really taking off, only you realize that you’ve never felt so lost. You no longer can define yourself a student. You’re supposed to be beyond those early twenties “how will I pay rent?!” freak-outs. But maybe your professional and personal life isn’t where you thought they would be. Or maybe they’re EXACTLY where you thought they’d be, only they’re not making you happy the way you expected.
The quarter-life crisis is that nagging suspicion that life is supposed to be more . . . it’s that bone-deep knowledge that it’s time to change BEFORE you find yourself blowing your 401k on that yellow coverable while trying to pick up a boy toy half your age.
My heroine from LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH is going through exactly this kind of quarter-life crisis. Her boyfriend of almost ten years has left her for another woman. Her confidence in her professional life is wavering. She’s sick of her hair cut, and she’s tired of dieting, and she’s pretty sure the Disney movie happy-ending she’s been seeking is a complete and utter fantasy.
But Grace Brighton isn’t about to let her quarter-life crisis steamroll over her. When the story opens, Grace has just returned from a little R&R at her parents’ beach house, and is ready to take charge of her life . . . even if it’s not the life she thought she’d had. Split ends? Gone. Role as doormat girlfriend? No more. Brand new apartment? Leased. Love of chocolate? Embraced. She’s even invented a new version of herself called 2.0 to lead her on her crusade.
Grace is lucky enough to conquer her crisis, but only because she admitted it in the first place!
How may of us cling to a job or a friendship or a home for too long because we keep telling ourselves that “it’ll get better. probably.” (raises hand). Or maybe this is familiar: Monday mornings suck, Friday afternoons are euphoric, and Sunday evenings are melancholy. Yeah. Been there.
Now, I know what your’e thinking: that’s not just a quarter-life crisis. That’s life. And I will absolutely grant you that these types of feelings are NOT limited to twenty-somethings. But no matter your age, and no matter what you label your crisis, there are ways to banish the “blahs!”
Here are some quick ideas that work for me:
Put together a bucket list, but make it more short-term than a “before I die” list that you’ll probably lose. Try “30 before 30,” or “40 before 40,” or “10 things to do before the end of the year.:” And think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be skydiving or backpacking through Europe. Sometimes something as simple as buying a bold red lipstick can break us out of a rut. Or training for a 5k, or taking water color class . . .
Exercise. I know, right? But seriously? It helps. Science says so.
Every time you start to complain about work, or that annoying lady at PTA meeting, or your husband, write down one thing you can do to fix the situation. Being solution-oriented, even in a tiny way gives a GLORIOUS sense of control over one’s life!
Write down your vacation/weekend day, in detail. Where are you? What are you wearing? What are you doing? From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, write down everything. Your feelings, your action, your meals . . . Easy, right? It’s vacation! But now do the same thing for your average weekday — it’s harder, but even more important. In a perfect world, how do you feel when you wake up? How much time do you give yourself to enjoy that cup of coffee? What do you do after you drop the kids off from school? Who’s your boss? What did you have for lunch? What’s your occupation? Do you make time to read before bed? . . . it’ll feel like a fantasy at first, but THAT’S OKAY. Most of us are pretty good at identifying what we don’t want, but have a much harder time identifying what we do want. Figuring that out is half the battle!
Curious to see how Grace Brighton conquers her quarter-life crisis? Check out LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, available Monday, December 9th!
This is one of my favorite guest post this year! Ms. Layne captured my long battle with life crisis! I'm way past "quarter" but not quite mid so I'll just generalize it.
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Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career, she decided to quit talking about writing and actually do it. A Seattle native, Lauren’s also tried on the Bay Area, Orange County, and most recently Manhattan. She’s currently back in the Pacific Northwest, missing the big-city life but also enjoying the cheap price of wine in the burbs. She lives with her husband and badly behaved Pomeranian.