I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the coloured arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.

Sylvia Plath

Wild flowers. Wild.
Wild flowers. Wild.

So let me ask you something… When was the last time you felt jubilant?

It’s a nice word, isn’t it? All jooby and succulent. Jubilant. The very sound of it makes me feel like jumping up and down.

Jubilation is a bit different from happiness, I think. I’m very good at recognising and appreciating happiness, and I it feel it in various guises all the time. I’ve had some fairly low points in the last couple of years – we all have to have them, right? – but if I look at even these difficult times as a collection of moments then the bright, happy ones definitely dominate the dark. When a lovely friend came to stay with us in the Chateau last year she commented on the frequency with which I uttered the words, “Ah, I love my life.” I hadn’t even noticed. I do love my life. It’s not perfect but it’s gorgeous and it’s mine.

But jubilation… That’s something different. Jubilation requires a whole special combination of people, place, serendipity and circumstance to bring it into being.

In my old working life, when I travelled a lot, I felt something fairly close to jubilation every time the plane that I was strapped into left the runway. There’s nothing like take-off, when you can feel the thrill of a new adventure in your gut as the force pushes you back into your seat. My lips involuntarily broke into a smile every time. I loved it. But it wasn’t quite jubilation.

I do remember feeling jubilant once at work. We were at a broadcast exhibition in Amsterdam and we made an unexpected sale. My friend and I literally danced in the street afterwards. (And yes, when I say literally I mean literally.)

But jubilation…

Ah, yes. I remember another time when I experienced it recently. There was something of a build-up to it. First I’d auditioned for a part and got it. Then I spent six weeks rehearsing and getting to know a group of amazing women. Then we had a dress rehearsal three days before the first performance and realised we still had a long way to go. Then we heard that the show was sold out so the pressure was on to make it great. Then we came off the stage after a brilliant first night and ah, there it was…


Have you ever seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother when they talk about the Woo Girls? Even if you haven’t seen it I’m sure you can imagine. They’re the girls (and I have general consent now, to use that word to describe women of all ages) who celebrate any utterance with a “Woo!”

“We’re having a drink.” “Wooo!”

“Tomorrow’s Friday.” “Woooo!”

“We’ll all die one day.” “Woooo!”

I am not a Woo Girl. But I have to admit that that night I woo’d.

And now that the play is over I still love my life.

But I’m looking for my next hit of jubiliation.


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