by Shannon Ables
Eastern Oregon writer
The Simply Luxurious Life
“If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.” -Anonymous
This past weekend was a rare opportunity to be free from nearly all obligations and just putz around the house (view my Instagram pictures  that tell the tale). And as I rarely have such weekends, I reveled in it (just as much as I adore my weekends away).
Needless to say, I took some time to contemplate love. Not only romantic love, but doing what one loves and immersing oneself in such pursuits. With a lovely early morning conversation on Friday with a dear friend, our conversation sparked the notion that life is about doing what one loves and not chasing it. And that in essence is what draws to you opportunities that are worth pursuing – whether in one’s professional or personal life.
While I know TSLL readers are a menagerie of all ages ranging from 14-70, I can only speak from the experience I have gained in my nearly 34 years, but what I do know and have learned I would like to share with you today as I noticed that last Wednesday’s Why Not . . . ? post  provoked conversation from both my single and spoken for readers. After all, it’s the holidays and love tends to be everywhere whether we are comfortable with it or not, whether it is genuine or contrived (media).
1. Spend your life doing what you love. My twenties involved far too much time trying to be someone who someone else would want to be in a relationship with. Why? Because that’s all I knew. I wish I would have had female mentors to reveal to me that being single and on your own is an amazing adventure not to be rushed through. So instead of looking up to someone, I decided to become the someone I needed in my life. And while it may have taken me longer to learn this most valuable lesson, at least I finally learned it. Instead of living to be the perfect partner, use this time (no matter what your age), to get to know who you are, develop your talents and take advantage of opportunities that you wish to attain. Doing so will attract the people you wish to meet. I can’t tell you when, and I can’t tell you how, but it will occur.
2. Just because a potential partner or employer wants you, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Learning this life lesson is very empowering. And the best way to know when you should say yes and when you should say no is to be clear about exactly what you want, know what you deserve and don’t allow yourself to be under-minded or manipulated. Let me explain. At a particular teaching job, I was given a particular teaching assignment, the one that I was trained for and had applied for, but one day they called me into the office to shift me to another position (in another field that I was accredited to teach, but another candidate was not) so that they could hire someone else. I took a risk at the time, but said no because I knew what my strengths were, and I knew what I was most passionate about and thus would excel at in the classroom. It wasn’t easy, but it paid off. And I learned that we need to trust ourselves, and then stand up for ourselves when a situation arises where it’s warranted.
3. Make sure you love the reality, not the dream. In other words, in your work, make sure you are in a field (or pursuing a field) that involves what you love and find a purpose in. The same can be said for a relationship. Make sure you are in love with the actual person, not the image that you two present to the outside world. So long as the passion for the career or person is authentic, it doesn’t matter what the outside world thinks because you will be reassured that you made the right decision for yourself each time you go to work or snuggle in for the evening.
4. Take the time to get to know what it all entails. Whether in your career or in a partner, everything about either one can’t be learned in a brief introduction. Regarding the career you have your eyes set on, do your research, intern, investigate, work part-time before leaving your current job to chase your new one. And when it comes to relationships, have patience to wait until the rose-colored glasses have faded and their guard is down so you can truly see who they are, and they can see who you really are as well. There will be people you will meet who upon seeing the authentic you won’t understand you. Let them go. Be kind, but let them go. There is nothing wrong with you or them, but the people who truly love you are the people who know who you really are and “get it” and love you even more. Be willing to wait for these people to come into your life. They are out there.
5. Sex is not love. Come to understand and know what the hormone oxytocin  is. Don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching against sex (there is a right time and place for it based on your values), but when it comes to allowing it to be the determining factor in whether or not someone loves you and you them, consider yourself warned. The dance that hormones and chemistry orchestrate are not for the faint of heart. Understand the difference.
6. Good things take time. If he falls head over heels in love with you in mere days, you might want to reconsider. While we both know that you are deserving of someone loving you, how is it possible that the love he expresses is genuine when he doesn’t know you? On the flipside, be patient getting to know someone who initially may not be what you had expected. Similarly, when starting out at a new job, you usually are placed at the bottom of the hierarchy, and it takes time to reap the benefits that are gained with hard work in which you prove yourself to your boss. In other words, take the time to put in the effort and see if they want to put in the effort to get to know you as well.
I have no doubt that lessons about love will continue in my life, but these six things I now know for sure. As far as why I shared them with you today, I hope it has provided more comfort, a bit of insight and confidence that you are going about seeking the love you deserve in the right way, more so than you may have thought.