If you are anything like me, you got hooked into watching the TV series Bridgerton Season One during the height of the Pandemic. So, when Season Two came along recently I just had to watch. Even Thom, who is not big on “period pieces” fell victim to its drama. We aren’t finished just yet with the entire season but there is enough going on that it got me thinking about why it is such a compelling story. I’ve also had lots of random thoughts about responsibility and duty as well as my personal desire to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. And lest you think they aren’t connected, let me share with you how I think it causes us to consider those issues in our own lives and hopefully make better choices.
In case you have no idea what Bridgerton is, it is a television drama based on a British rural aristocracy. The visual spender of the show features beautiful (and very diverse) people, lavish estates, and extremely elaborate costumes. For example, the queen is a stunning black woman who wears enormous wigs of every color, extravagant gowns and enormous jewels. The ingenues are always lovely and exude sweetness while the men are handsome and dapper. The large families are filled with a variety of temperaments and moods. And as in every good drama there are the good guys and the bad guys—but all of them do it with style.
As in the first season, there is the prerequisite challenge of bringing the two central young lovers together despite the challenges confronting them. Season two offers a unique challenge for a new set of lovers, but as always, it isn’t easy. (Else what’s the point?) Like I said, we haven’t watched the entire season, but the outcome is fairly certain. Don’t worry though, I won’t fill you in with details.
So how does any of this have anything to do with responsibility, duty and our daily lives? Well lately I have been struggling to set myself down and write a blog post. Why? Thom and I leave for an extended summer vacation in less than a week. The amount of planning (which I love) has taken longer than I imagined. It has made it difficult to sit and think about any topic (besides my upcoming travels) that I thought might be interesting enough to share. And to be honest, I just didn’t want to do it.
That hesitancy got me thinking about whether it is even feasible for any of us to imagine that we could live and never do anything that we didn’t want to do. I get that my life is extremely fortunate. Currently, I don’t have anyone dependent upon me (besides Thom) and I also have the health and financial resources for a great deal of freedom. I don’t have to write a blog post—any more than I have to do a lot of things that some people might be obligated to do. But that doesn’t mean I can just do whatever I want, whenever I want, even so. And perhaps the bigger question is, “Would I want to?”
I think many of us believe that freedom is everything. Isn’t some people’s idea of retirement like that? But while it is important to me, freedom isn’t everything. Bridgerton offers a great example. One of the minor characters is a young woman named Eloise in a very central and prominent family. From the beginning Eloise has always had a mind of her own (unusual in those times!), has an amazing amount of freedom and seems to just act from her heart’s desire. And while it is tempting to cheer her on for her free-thinking mind and choices, in the latest episode that freedom and her choices have dire consequences for both herself and her family. Freedom does come at a cost.
So, while I have a lot of freedom in my life, I know that I choose to do certain things because they are good in the long run. I exercise, try to eat healthy and stay away from sugar, and brush my teeth twice a day. I care deeply about my husband, friends and family and do things for them that aren’t always “fun.” Luckily, even when I don’t feel like following through, I do it anyway. If we are paying attention and hopefully have learned from the past, we know that the consequences of not doing some things carries a high price. Likewise, because my writing is important to me, sometimes it is just taking the step and doing it even when I don’t feel like it.
On the flip side of freedom is duty and that is also playing a major role in this season of Bridgerton. One of the central characters is a young man driven by his family role as elder son and his own self-imposed obligations. In fact, it is his sense of duty that is creating more of a crisis in the long run than any of his more positive desires to protect his family. By portraying how duty can be as much a prison as too much freedom, the drama swings back and forth. That reminds me that for most of us, our sense of duty is a choice that we have the ability to clarify and adjust when necessary. Knowing when to do that is a key.
In Bridgerton the young lovers are full of passion for one another and skillfully drawn together and torn apart on numerous occasions. That, after all, is part of the drama that makes the series so successful. There’s little doubt that they won’t end up together, but the fun is seeing how it will play out. Then again, I’m reminded in my own life that passion and drama can throw us off course as much as it can serve to bring us together. Staying conscious about freedom, duty and our underlying values is always important when passion is involved.
I admire writers that can spin a good story and present it in a way that takes you into another world. But in my opinion the best ones also weave in examples that all of us can use in our lives. There are many more themes in the show that could be used as life lessons, but for now these were enough to make me think. Oh, and I was able to write a blog post that I actually enjoyed doing at the same time. Perhaps it is SMART to always remember that when you choose to do something even when you don’t want to—you still get to make it up!