Columns > Published on January 14th, 2016

Advice From A Literary Character: Bridget Jones

As we grow and change, the advice we need also changes. When it comes to life’s big questions, we grapple with them in different ways, depending on where we are in life. It would only make sense that our favorite characters from beloved books would have varying kinds of advice for us. For LitReactor’s third installment of Advice From A Literary Character, I’d like to welcome Bridget Jones (of Bridget Jones’s Diary days)!

1. What happens when we die?

My hope is that we become beings who embody the opposite qualities of our earthly emotional traumas. If that is indeed the case, I will be stunningly beautiful and endlessly charming, with the self control of a saint and the allure of a goddess. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

2. How do I avoid pain?

Happiness is something you enjoy in the moment, and you don’t have to know it’s there. It may be best to just ignore it entirely next time it comes around.

Oh, I’m entirely the wrong person to ask about pain. I rather like putting myself through pain, of both the physical and emotional sort. I suppose you could follow me around and learn from my mistakes, of which there will be many. On the other hand, why not just read my diary? I’ve done a thorough recording of them for you already. I like to keep things simple if I can. Oh! There it is. Avoid pain by keeping things very simple.

3. What’s the best way to deal with conflict?

Grab a friend with a good ear for listening and a bottle of red wine. Drone on and on about all the conflict you’re experiencing in all aspects of your miserable life until you’ve extinguished every last bit of you that ever gave a bloody hell about it, and then avoid the conflict for the rest of your life. Install dozens of locks on your door and resign yourself to a life of sweatpants and alcohol. That ought to do it.

4. How do I know when I've met my soulmate?

Aren’t I my own soulmate? In the end, I would like to hope so. To think I have spent all this time worrying about men, chasing men, trying to please men, all while I’ve been with my own soulmate since day one. Despite my ridiculous expectations for myself, no one treats me better. Yes, have that extra bit of cake. You deserve it, Bridget. Go ahead!

5. How will I know when I’m happy?

It does seem like there is always something new to fix, doesn’t it? Or, something you thought you may have fixed already, like losing the twenty pounds you promised you would but swiftly gaining those pounds back after a particularly bad week at the office. Happiness lasts as long as those twenty pounds are kept off, which is to say, not long. Then again, are happiness and arse size so directly connected? Well, yes. Perhaps. On second thought, I agree with my first thought. They certainly are.

Things so rarely work in my favor that when they do, I tend to hold the happiness of an entire room of people. A grand hall’s worth! I am quite aware of when this happens, this blind and rabid happiness. It could be argued that I am too aware, and my awareness squashes all genuine feelings of happiness and I’m sent into a black hole of crushing disappointment. I suppose happiness is something you enjoy in the moment, and you don’t have to know it’s there. It may be best to just ignore it entirely next time it comes around.

6. What’s the cure for a broken heart?

A little bit of everything that’s bad for you does the heart very well. Wine, lots and lots of cigarettes, something sweet, rich, and positively delicious, and flirtation with an otherwise completely ineligible bachelor. Tick off as many bad qualities as you can and spend the night with that one. Then perhaps pick yourself up and invest in an unexpected hobby or two.

7. What is the meaning of life?

Upon entering my 30s as a radiant, single woman, I realized many interesting and important things. People look at you differently, and by that I mean they wonder what could possibly be wrong with you. The five pounds you lost last week will inevitably come back in the form of a chocolate cake or three consecutive nights of heavy alcohol indulgence. On one of my recent nights in, shut out from the world and saying no thanks to yet another questionable date with a man who is probably already married, I drew myself a bath and lit a candle or two. I got to thinking about my hands quite intensely. I wiggled my ten stubby, but adorable, fingers and counted one, two, three, up to ten. Perhaps we only have ten fingers because there are so few things we can rely on in life. Those ten (or less) things are what makes life worth living. For me it’s adventure, friendship, baths, desserts of any kind, and dare I say it, love.

Bridget’s outlook is incredibly relatable and humorously realistic, advice best taken with a grain of salt, or a bottle of wine!

What literary character would you reach out to for advice?

About the author

Christine J. Schmidt is a writer originally from New Jersey. After receiving her BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase, she worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre as their artistic literary intern. She recently left Brooklyn, where she was a bookseller and events host at WORD, to reside in Los Angeles. She has previously written for New York Theatre Review, and her plays have been read and produced at theaters in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Washington. Coffee is her favorite thing.

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