Mel from Georgica Pond is who I would like to be when I grow up.
She has the most impeccable taste in homes and style, is as gorgeous on the inside, has THE most adorable family and the most generous heart you can get. I am constantly in awe the more I get to know Mel, as she just keeps bringing out the surprises in regards to things she has done or been involved with. She is so not afraid to look her dreams in the eye and do that two finger point - eye to eye and declare "You're mine!"
So I wont keep rambing. Here's Mel with just a snippet of what she has done to date with her life.
While Sonia is luxuriating in the tropics and drinking her body weight in vodka, she invited me to step into the breach and share my story.
Now I’m a little nervous about this, because she is a wonderfully talented writer/blogger, and I have some very sizable shoes to fill. But on the topic of following your dreams and living your best life, it gave me pause for thought.
At first I thought it would be easy. Then the more I thought about what to write, the more uneasy I became. I started drawing blanks. Dreams? Have I followed my dreams? Really? Am I living my dream? Do I even have dreams? Did I once and have I forgotten them? Or are they just languishing somewhere in the distance waiting for me to have the gumption or inclination to pursue them? Perhaps they’re playing hard to get? Mmmm.....
I know what my dreams used to be. Believe me they have changed a lot over the years. When I was really young I wanted to be a kindy teacher and I suppose in a roundabout kind of way being a mum to three kids is a little like that. Then I wanted to be an air hostess. Again, motherhood kind of covers that one too. Then I wanted to be a property developer and in charge of a huge corporation. That was in the days of Dynasty when I was inspired by gigantic shoulder pads and even bigger hair and aspired to be Australia’s answer to Alexis Colby. But despite it being a family business, and studying it at uni, it left me a bit cold and I never pursued a career in it. Although I have bought, renovated and sold our homes five times over the years, so I guess that could be considered a little league version of property development.
This is a modern country house we built on 100 acres in the Southern Highlands. Very different to my usual style which is much more East Coast American and traditional.
Then I wanted to be an actor. I think I probably just desperately wanted to be famous, but I did have very grand and persistent dreams about being in stage musicals, being a Hollywood movie star and a musician. I kind of pursued these dreams in a very small way, working in a piano bar in London, then as a pianist on a cruise ship, as a GO for Club Med, in amateur dramatics and for various producers and agents in the music and theatre business.
I joined Club Med in 1991 cruising around New Caledonia working as a pianist, but I was really just chasing the French waterski instructor I had a crush on. It was a fun 6 months, wearing Hugo Boss uniforms and socialising until the wee hours, entertaining guests from around the world, teaching waterskiing during the day, doing shows and playing the piano at night , but it was damn hard work too seven days a week, no breaks.
I didn't have Vegas show girl on my list of must-do things - but I've done it nonetheless (not actually in Vegas I hasten to add) , and I can tell you from firsthand experience, those feather things weigh a tonne and stick into your back like the devil!
At Club Med we were paid so little and humiliated so much. This was some weird thing management liked to do - create ocean inspired tableaux at the entrance to the restaurant and I had to lie like that for about two hours while all the guests came in for dinner. I'm wrapped in glad wrap and painted, in case you're wondering.
It was while doing "The Boyfriend" with Willoughby Musical Society I realised the Anna Wintour haircut was not for me. Neither was red lipstick!
My starring role as Ado Annie in Oklahoma at the Hills Centre. I must have been good, they're pulling it down now to make way for a train station.
If you ever watched morning TV you've probably bought a piece of gym equipment from me, or a vacuum cleaner!
I met lots of famous people and worked on some amazing productions all over the world. But I never really had the commitment or drive to do what was necessary to make it in the biz myself. Even as recently as 6 years ago, I flew to London to audition for a reality TV show, where the prize was a starring role on the West End. I was gone for three days, leaving behind my very understanding husband and baby son. I didn’t get past the first round of auditions, but it was such a satisfying and liberating experience and one that I think quenched my burning desire and made me realise I didn’t really want it badly enough in the first place. Apart from which, nor did I have the requisite talent!
In between I have followed my dreams of being a wedding coordinator, then a wedding shop soon followed, then as a magazine stylist which is one of the best jobs I’ve had working for ACP, and a TV presenter, amongst other things. I fancied myself a screenwriter for a while, the next Nora Ephron, and even wrote a rather funny romcom script, which had some interest but I wouldn’t take criticism or notes so it didn’t go far. One of my major dreams was to be Martha Stewart, but I realised too many other people were sharing that dream, so I found another.
This was a fun job styling a Christmas story with Sonia Kruger for the Australian Women's Weekly a few years ago. I had to make that gigantic cracker, which I made from chicken wire, and wrap all those presents. I was pretty pleased with my effort on that job. Sonia was a terrific sport and a really nice girl. I kept telling her how much I loved her arms!
Whether they are dreams, goals or ambitions, I don’t know. Nor do I know what the difference is really. I’ve always wanted to be creative, so my dreams have always lead me in that direction. Some dreams were fleeting, others lasted a bit longer, some I realised weren’t really my dream after all. And now I’m following the dream of being a blogger, starting an interior decorating business and hopefully at some point an online shop. I’d love to work in TV again, perhaps a home decorating or renovating show, and I’d love to be able to help people create the home of their dreams.
These two shots are from our current house which we finished renovating about 18 months ago. I have a bit of an obsession with all things American when it comes to interiors and design, and I am a blue and white fanatic.
But at the end of the day I realised, the one persistent dream I have had since I was a child and that has never faded, or waned, has been to get married and have a family. I have wanted that since I can remember, and I just assumed it would happen easily and quickly without much thought or effort at all. I was wrong. I dated so many men, all the wrong men, at the wrong times, for the wrong reasons. The older I got, the more anxious I became. I watched my friends all getting married and having kids, and it seemed as though that dream was getting further out of my reach. Perhaps it was a dream I was not entitled to. So I moved away from Sydney, accepting my fate as a spinster and bought a house in the country. I met my husband 6 months later when I was 35. We were married within a year and I had my first baby at 37. I now have three gorgeous children, and had my last at 43.
Do I look excited about finally getting hitched?
Now it’s not all wine and roses I can tell you. At times I find motherhood exceptionally challenging, frustrating, monotonous, thankless, exhausting, boring and never-ending. I sometimes get so over it, I just want to quit and walk out the door. I probably drink too much, I never exercise and I should be more disciplined about what I eat, so I can lose those last 6 kg of baby weight. But I eat when I’m stressed and motherhood makes me stressed - a lot. Marriage is hard work too, and there’s plenty of moments I just wish I was that single unattached person again, who only had myself to worry about and a whole bunch of dreams.
But then I realise that I’m living the most important dream of my life - being that wife and mum. It’s that elusive dream, the one that’s been the most enduring, the one that’s the most significant, relevant, fulfilling, joyful and valuable. It’s the hardest, but it’s the one most worth doing.
So have I followed my dream? Yes, I guess I have and hopefully I'll continue to have new dreams to follow until I’m all dreamed out.
You can find Mel on Facebook here, Instagram and Pinterest too.
You can find Mel on Facebook here, Instagram and Pinterest too.
Don't forget to check back tomorrow for our next guest in the Dare to Dream Guest Post Series.