Lots of plane rides lately, long plane rides with lots of movies. Instead of diving into writing next chapters on my new book about women and work based on our Women Executive Leadership Learning program, I watched and watched the small screen in front of me.
There was Julia Roberts in Italy, India and Bali searching for true love. It was a modern version of boy and girl in love, out of love, into a new love, out of the new love, until the real love shows up in the container of a sexy, strong, and competent man. It was fun watching her “Eat, Pray, Love” in exotic places around the globe.
Next, Sara Jessica Parker and her “Sex in the City” girlfriends searching for true love in the heart of Manhattan. She had “Big” in the palm of her hands. After ten years they were finally getting married. And what a wedding it was to be! Gorgeous gown, great food, lots of people, just the way the big bash that meant to be. Dreams of a perfect wedding have been planted in our minds ever since we were old enough to cheer Cinderella when the shoe fit and the prince was hers.
Then there was a rerun of “Mona Lisa Smile” and Julia Roberts was back as a teacher at Wellesley over fifty years ago searching for true love in an era when women needed to get their “MRS” Degree to make life meaningful.
All three movies touch on some universal truths about us as women. The key, as I have pondered how far have we really come since Virginia Slims informed us “you’ve come a long way baby”, is in one word “SEARCH”.
Then the big question arises; what are we searching for? Can we find it in love? Can we find it at work? Can we find it through possessions? Can we find it by having children? Can we find it by doing charity work?
And the next big question is: in all our searching how do we know we have found what we are looking for?
What I suggest we all do this holiday season is give ourselves a personal gift of time. Take a day, or a half day, or maybe an hour and sit with the question “What are you searching for”?
One thing I know is that at the core of the chick flicks lays some important truth for each of us as we take our journey to ourselves. T.S. Eliot says it perfectly “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”