It occurred to me over the weekend that, I’m older than Bridget Jones. This brought back feelings of inadequacy from my roaring 20’s, until I realised that, I have things under control. The other night, I watched a re-run of The Edge of Reason, sequel to BJD’s first release in 2001. At the end of the movie, Bridget has found love in her leading man, (the epitome of every woman’s ‘dreamboat’, a knight in shining armour), Mr Darcy. “I like you very much, just as you are”, became a catch phrase for the movie.
As if our hearts weren’t already a puddle in our chest, at the end of the movie, swaddled in Mr Darcy’s warm coat, (while it’s still attached to him), Bridget, in a moment of doubt, puts on her best detective hat, “wait a minute… nice boys don’t kiss like that.” To which Mr Darcy retorts, “oh, yes, they fucking do.” Cue momentous pash!
At 34, I’m married to my very own Mr Darcy. He’s a calming influence, he’s many, many things and he sat watching the movie, by my side, a champion for fairytale endings. Lucky for me he echoes Mr Darcy’s sentiments of loving me just the way I am. Phew, because every day with me is a new adventure.
We have no children to dance along with to The Wiggles yet, because let’s face it, that would be super fun and one of the many benefits of having children. Not to mention the privilege of loving, nurturing and teaching a brave, new and intrepid soul.
The truth is really, since the commencement of my 30’s, instead of settling down, life has been ramping up. Watching the Olympics in 2008, my eyes turned to saucers when I realised how old these superstars were. In my late 20’s, these young whippersnappers were breaking records, while I was working as a Document Controller for a large corporate firm, feeling more and more ‘washed up’.
On the night of my 30th birthday celebration, a good friend asked if I’d play Marilyn Monroe at her Vegas themed 30th. Without hesitation, I said yes! Heading into my 30’s, I felt there would be no room for inhibitions.
Ever since my rendition of “Happy Birthday Mr President” topped the charts at the party, (pipping hired professional entertainer ‘Liza Minnelli’ at the post), my 30’s have been a sequence of bold moves.
I went part-time in my ‘intrapreneurship’ (thanks for that word Lisa Messenger – The Collective) at said ‘large corporate firm’. Emerging as an entrepreneur of my own life in 2012, starting a Health Science degree, my first time at University. (I used to think that Uni was just for ‘smart kids’ but it turns out if you’re not necessarily academic at school, life will make you smart). About a year later, I married my Mr Darcy, on a beautiful day, high up on a hill, shaded by an old ghost gum. Honing in on my desire for good food and writing I created, garnishfood. Still hungry, this time for French food apparently, I commenced work on my novel, The Blue Letterbox.
At the end of 2013, I left my desk job, and went on to become a Pilates Instructor. Also adding Barre Attack to my repertoire and reacquainting myself with my dance background and passion for movement.
Determined to make it as the entrepreneur of my own life and rebuke the status quo, I took the next step in pursuing my passions, attending a Magazine and Newspaper Writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre.
“It’s like someone turned on a switch in my mind and BAM! There’s a stage musical and the spotlight is on me, writing. Dancers leap across a Scrabble-like floor, covered in words, clutching books at their chest. The whole thing is so well rehearsed, like it’s been headlining on Broadway all. this. time! Last weekend the Australian Writers’ Centre bought me a ticket to my own show and I haven’t stopped writing since! I sent off my first pitch within four days of completing the course. Bravo AWC and thanks!”
I had great expectations for this course and deep down I knew it would be a game changer. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
My favourite movie growing up was The Wizard of Oz and somehow, I feel like I’m finally making my way over the rainbow. “That place far, far away, behind the moon, beyond the rain”.
On reflection of turning 30, I had written the following Facebook post, “I have embarked on a new decade, a new chapter of my life. That magic number 30 is no longer far off in the distance. I’ve reached the door (and it’s not a revolving one!) I never stopped to think what might be behind it. So it’s exciting times, like going from Kansas to OZ, (with some digital remastering in between).”
When asked by our lovely lecturer at AWC, Alecia Hancock, “what is your big, hairy, audacious goal?” I felt overwhelmed and slightly intimidated, thinking “that kinda sounds like a big deal.” It felt safer to stay small. “Maybe I’ll just play make-believe, like I did when I was a little girl”, I thought… (Yay I’m a writer, what can I write today? Oh lovely, I’ll just call the editor then… Oh really!? You want to publish me? Fabulous! That was easy, ok next game, now I shall play the role of… a teacher… a dancer… a choreographer… a chef.) They say we sometimes regress before moving forward… they also say, “life is not a rehearsal”.
Life will respond to the degree in which we surrender and I’m proud to say, I surrendered. I refrained from clicking those magical, sparkly red heels together, taking me back to a place I knew, my comfort zone. My big, hairy, audacious goal is to write a novel and to be published, even if I enter the next decade of my life before reaching that goal.
I can’t wait to see what else my life story brings; it’s not time to be “all washed up”. It’s time to like me, just as I am and build on my strengths.
I hope we will get to see the next instalment of Bridget Jones’ life too, set to be released towards the end of this year.