Petra Bagust: At 45 I’m finally learning you don’t have to be perfect

I used to notice only all the things I wasn’t doing right, the broadcaster admits.

After becoming a household name following her 18 years in television, Petra left her Breakfast TV day job back in 2012, but now she’s back with a recurring spot as a guest panellist on TV3’s The Project.

But don’t think she’s been resting on her laurels in the meantime. In fact, her feet have barely touched the ground in the past few months, between working trips to Cambodia, Shanghai, Brisbane and Rotorua.

The 45-year-old has long been a traveller, and Cambodia holds a special place in her heart since her work with TEAR Fund started back in 1997. Petra and her husband of 18 years, cameraman Hamish Wilson, recently took their three children Venetia, 14, Jude, 12 and Theo, 10, on a trip there so that they could experience the joy and challenges of a new culture together.

Petra’s charity work has always run alongside her broadcasting career, and has continued long after.

“As human beings, we yearn for purpose and significance, for intimate connection and meaning in our lives,” she says. “So we do our jobs and we like to do well, and it’s good to earn money, but then… people have got to this stage in their lives or their careers where it’s like ‘Okay… now what? What else is there to life?’”

Through her work with TEAR Fund fighting the good fight against heinous crimes like sex trafficking, Petra has never been lost for meaning in her working life. But she admits that she’s only just learning how to apply that process of gratitude to herself.

“I used to notice only what needed to be fixed, or all the things I wasn’t doing right,” she tells the Australian Women’s Weekly in an exclusive interview celebrating her return to television. “And it’s not a positive place to be in. I’m trying more to notice what’s right and what’s working and celebrate those things. I’m a bit of a recovering perfectionist.”

Petra reveals in her interview in this month’s The Australian Women’s Weekly how she started that process of letting go of her ‘tedious’ perfectionist tendencies, as well as sharing her candid views on ageing both in and out of the public eye, and measuring the expectations of her figure ‘as a woman who’s 45, versus when I was 25′.

Read the full story with Petra Bagust in the latest issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, out now.

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