Mastering the art of doing what you love

I've never been a fan of cusp years. I suppose it stems from the self-inflicted pressure of accomplishing things and checking experiences off my to-do list before the next 'big' one dawns. Nineteen and twenty-nine had their own particular angst, which quickly dissipated once the clock turned 12:01 am on my 20th and 30th birthdays. But instead of angst as I countdown the last six months of my thirties, I have a feeling that I'm finally hitting my stride creatively and professionally. I'm not alone. Many of my similarly-aged girlfriends are experiencing the same kind of renaissance and are circling back to the essence of what makes them tick.

The other day at Half Price Books, I serendipitously picked up a copy of My Life in France by Julia Child. I've always been a fan of Julia's - her endearing self-deprecation, her complete lack of pretension, and don't get me started on her recipe for beef bourguignon! I confess I didn't know much about the person behind the apron. The Julia we know and love didn't find her groove until she was in her forties. Marrying Paul Child at 34 after meeting him in Ceylon working for the OSS (precursor of the CIA), her book details their early married life in France while Paul was stationed abroad. Living in Paris, she discovered the joy of French food and of cooking, which led her to enroll at Le Cordon Bleu where she graduated at 39. At 40, Julia met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, a French pair working on an American cookbook in need of an American collaborator. The rest, as they say, is history! That book - Mastering the Art of French Cooking - is one of the most influential cookbooks in history and remains the standard for culinarians and foodies alike.

It's not Julia's fame or accomplishments that make her so special; it's her fearlessness, her tenacity, her self-advocacy, and her genuine joy when it came to her passion. She’s a true testament to the old adage that it’s never too late to do what you love. 

Thanks Julia!

Julia on the balcony of the Pont Royal Hotel, Paris, Fall 1948 by Paul Child.  Image courtesy of Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

Julia on the balcony of the Pont Royal Hotel, Paris, Fall 1948 by Paul Child.  Image courtesy of Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University