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Leaving Bridget Jones Behind

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Editors Note: This story is 1 of 5 finalists in our Quarterlife Crisis Essay Contest. Cast your vote for this story by "liking" it on Facebook. (Use the Facebook "like" button at the top of this story.) The story with the most Facebook likes by midnight October 19, will win placement on our homepage and a $100 gift card. See the full list of finalists here.

 


When Bridget Jones first landed in my life, with all of her quirks and idiosyncrasies, and her desperate search for a real boyfriend, I was twenty-two years old, and a month shy of finishing university. College life had not been all I’d originally intended—shy and unsure of myself, I wasn’t the femme fatale I had hoped to be, and dated only here and there. I’d had some wonderful experiences like London Semester and the excitement that comes with being a music major, but otherwise, I was looking to my “real” adulthood as a chance for life to really take off.

Bridget was just like me—slightly heavier than one would want to be, socially awkward, and perhaps a wee bit defensive at being perpetually single with romantic inclinations towards inappropriate men. She gave me hope; after all, if Bridget could land Mark Darcy wearing nothing but tiny knickers and a cardigan, I must be able to find my own true love, right?

Fast forward eleven years and here I am, thirty-four, still single and living with my parents for a spell while I wait out the economy. Still falling for the wrong men and turning to my urban family of friends for endless advice. I’m about the same age as Bridget was in the movies now, and yet, I barely relate to her anymore.

Where I used to endlessly quote Bridget and her friends, these days, I’m less likely to turn to dear Bridge in moments of confusion or hilarity. I used to watch the movie at least monthly, but now, it’s sitting on a shelf, collecting dust. Every once in a while I think, “I ought to watch it again…” and then turn to something else instead.

What happened?

It turns out that I learned one very important life lesson: Being single in your thirties is not a tragedy. My entire body is not covered in scales, and my aunts and uncles and my parents’ extended circle of friends do not whisper about me behind their hands, wondering when I will get a proper boyfriend.

While I’ll always have a soft spot for Bridget and her propensity for hilarity, I’m afraid I’ll never quite relate to her as I did twelve years ago, sitting in a darkened theater, thinking, “This is my life, minus the constant smoking!”

I’ve given up on finding Mark Darcy—recognizing that such a figure hardly exists, and honestly, his snobbishness would end up driving me mad within minutes. Instead, I’ve cultivated friendships, worked on my career, traveled, and met men who are so very imperfect…and yet just perfect for me at this point in my life.

As I settle into the cooler weather of fall and spend more time indoors, perhaps I’ll pull out my old DVD and laugh Bridget’s adventures with a cup of hot cocoa. Then I’ll turn it off and remember that my life is so much richer for having left Bridget behind.

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