Let’s talk Jane Austen, mothereffers. Why? Because the Merely Players, Durango’s innovative found theater company, are performing Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility.” Catch it and you’ll see a witty, romantic tale of people falling in and out of love, set against gossipy aristocratic aholes of the 18th century. Good dang times.
You might think you don’t like Jane Austen, or maybe you think that costume dramas don’t connect to your life. Dear and constant reader, you’d be wrong. Jane Austen’s here to pleasantly tell you to get your shit together.
Here’s 13 life lessons from “Sense and Sensibility.”
Note: Advice gleaned from the 1995, Oscar-winning adaptation, the 2008 BBC mini-series, and – obvs – Jane Austen’s actual book.
Get! It! In! Writing! Deathbed promises are for suckersGreed can turn anyone into a turd-nugget. Your half-brother might not be a greedy jerkass, but his wife’s a beast, and he’ll turn into an accomplice by inaction. Don’t trust your half-bro’s promise to your dying dad that he’ll take care of you. Get all wills in writing. Your family’s logical, kind brain may not be present when ordering the estate.
Doubling down: Don’t live in an era or country where women can’t inherit property.
Flash wisdomNever trust a lusty rogue who buys you a pony.
Standing near the edge of an English cliff staring at the gray sea will bring you mysterious satisfaction. Do this frequently.
Conduct background checks on all libertines who profess love to youThere might come a day when a velvet-jacketed, soon-to-be rich rake makes your insides quake and wants a lock of your hair. Don’t submit to this infatuation until you’ve gleaned all the Googled gossip you can. They may be suave, kind to your fam, and once gave you a speedy carriage ride, but if you ain’t careful, you’re gonna fall in love with a despicable SOB who has secret kids and bad coping mechanisms.
Flash wisdom“Come see my pinafore” is code for “I am so f*cking loaded we can die in tombs made of our loved-and-loving, union-waged servants’ teeth.” Go on this date.
Tea soothes most catastrophes.
GEEZUS H. WEEPING EVERYONE – work toward emotional balance “I will be calm. I will be mistress of myself,” said Elinor Dashwood. Good. Great, but don’t be so in control that you lose out on life because you’re too respectful to tell anyone your feelings ever. Likewise, don’t be so Marianne Dashwood, all impulsive spontaneity, that your heart explodes from your ribs every five minutes. If you’re having a hard time walking that line, maybe get you some Talkspace online therapy to embiggen yer emotional toolbox. “Know your happiness,” as mama Dashwood would say.
FLASH WISDOMThe translation of “I greatly esteem him” is: “I want to bone him till we are old and gray and pulverize each other’s thrusting pelvic arenas to dust.”
There’s always someone hidden in the library.
You are the master of your fate“But who will light the fires?” asked Mrs. Dashwood to her daughter Elinor in the BBC adaption. See, the Dashwood broads left their big ol’ estate for a humble cottage where they don’t know jackshit about daily life because servants have always done for them. Sounds unrelatable until you think about your own gaps. Know how to cook cheap and fresh? Can you change a tire? Can you live within a budget? Do you know that your best friend in this life is yourself? That you shouldn’t compare your path to anyone else’s? Do you light our own fires or rely on faithless fate?
Flash wisdomYour crush’s ma – who eats actual gold-plated candy – will disown your crush. Yes, because of you.
The rain wants to kill you.
No, really, you don’t have to choose either of themGoing against Austen here, but sometimes, life will give you a choice – say, between a steady partner who is 20 years your senior when you’re underage, or a fervent fiasco who’s saucy in the sack and full of vile secrets. Say no to both. You don’t have to pick either. If your choice is between a dude who’s decades older and likes you because you remind him of a dead relative, or an unreliable, whiney strumpet who’ll give you herpes and abandon you in a poorhouse, it ain’t really a choice. Move on. You’re better than that. There’s always another someone. Keep yourself and keep looking.
— Patty TempletonSpecial to DGO