BB King used the phrase, "cost of being the boss." I now realize what that means. When everything in your life--house, family, career, budget--is riding 100% on your shoulders, sacrifices need to be made.
I've taken a hiatus from this blog for the past few months, mainly because life has been hectic. My daughter has moved off to the university, I've had several new releases with more pending, my son's been going through some physical challenges after a lacrosse injury, I have a 10 month old unruly puppy I'm attempting to train (she's the joy in my day), money has gotten even more tight with all of these changes, and I've been dealing with some health issues that I've kept private. It's life, and to be honest, if it weren't chaotic, I'd probably be bored. But I've needed to focus on keeping everything functioning rather than spending time socializing and this has had some fallout.
I love my job and am happy to be in demand. I prefer writing over almost anything else. Aside from the pressure, there are a lot of perks to being my own boss and I embrace them all.
My friends are mostly used to my independence, but some are critical of it--more so lately. I've been reprimanded for not asking for help or remaining aloof, yet the past has told me that confiding in people usually leads to judgment on their end. It's the one thing that's been truly consistent in my life--being judged for who I am, or in some cases, being misjudged for things I would never dream of doing.
Not to sound callous, but when my career is at this phase of taking off and there's more projects than not, I'd be a fool to slow it down to spend time with anyone who criticizes, misjudges, or nit-picks me to death.
Life is too short to spend it with people who bring you down or trivialize you in any way. So why do it? Just to be nice? Because they've been in your life for a long time? That's silly.
I'm a best selling author and a single mom who has succeeded despite the odds against me. My kids are excelling. Despite this, I have people who treat me like my opinions and experiences are irrelevant. I'm dismissed as a joke at times. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I always show up smiling and try to keep things light-hearted. Perhaps because I'm a pretty blonde who still enjoys getting wild and flirting. Maybe because I'm a writer and that always seems to freak people out. Or maybe because they see my success and resent it. Whatever the reason, I'm not putting up with it. I am simply saying, "no."
No more tolerating people judging anything about me. I don't deliberately hurt people. Never have, never will. Anyone who feels that I've sabotaged them is delusional about their own significance to my life. (Refer to the top paragraph--I've got my own stuff going on.) Live and let live, I always say. I don't judge anyone for how they live their life, who they vote for (so sick of this one), or spend their time. I expect to be treated the same way.
No more wasting time doing things I really don't want to do. Here's the thing: my time is precious. So is yours. If I take time away from my work, my family, my puppy, or whatever else I enjoy to spend time with someone, I want to laugh and enjoy every second of it. If I'm uncomfortable or bored or being cast into the role of court jester, I'm leaving. I deserve better. So does everyone. Social situations should lift us UP, not bring us down.
No more listening to people's opinions of what I should do or should not do. Listen, if I want a sounding board, I'll ask for an opinion. I actively seek feedback from trusted counsel--if you haven't been asked, you're probably not it. However, if I'm enjoying a cocktail and a friend decides to jump in with all of the things I should be doing or the people I should be socializing with, I don't care. I don't even tell my kids what they should or should not be doing. We discuss options and I ask them what they think would be best--we work it out that way rather than me shoving my ideas down their throats. Surprisingly, they usually make good choices. If they don't, life lesson learned. I don't expect 'reprimands' from my friends. I expect acceptance.
No more allowing disrespect. This happens to me more than I'd like to admit. I'm polite, too much so in certain circumstances. Some people openly mock my career to my face: You're a writer? Really? Do you actually make money from that? Oh, you write romance novels? *snort* Or they mock my daughter's college because it is only 45 minutes from home and despite the fact that it is the 3rd hardest university to get into in Colorado: Wouldn't you let her go out of state? Couldn't she get into Boulder? It's all bullshit! I would never--repeat never--do any of things to anyone else. They don't even enter my mind. Why do they do this? I have no idea, but for too long I've ignored it for the sake of avoiding confrontation. Sometimes, especially when you're being disrespected, it's not only okay to get defensive, it's HEALTHY. Stand up for yourself and let the other person know they've crossed that line.
I'm moving in two years after my son graduates high school and both kids will be in college. I know where I am going. I have already decided and am making plans. Am I going to tell anyone? No, not until the boxes are packed and arrangements finalized. Why not? Because they'll tell me it's unrealistic or impossible or God only knows what. Hmm...I think I heard those things before I published my first novel, yet hear I am looking at book ten releasing in a month.
The cost of being the boss of your own life is that some people need to be let go--just like in a business. If they're not contributing to your well-being and happiness, then step away. You deserve only the best that this life has to offer. You deserve to surround yourself with people who allow you to relax, accept the differences between you, give you the benefit of the doubt, and love it when you're your unfiltered fabulous self. Don't settle for less.
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. In addition, she is a professional editor and mother of two extraordinary human beings. She currently lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com.