What I'm Watching: Julie & Julia
I spent last week in Denver taking care of my daughter after her sinus surgery. We have spent a good deal of time together since her last portion of her grad school semester was remote due to COVID-19, and sitting in her apartment alone day after day just isn't this child's notion of a life well-lived (read: she's an extrovert). Once she finished her coursework and was officially a MSW, it was time for her to return to Denver where her surgery was scheduled. We spent our days together doing low-key activities, especially watching TV. Now those of you who know me would definitely fall off your chairs at the amount of TV watched, but since my baby bird was ailing, it was good to just spend time close by and enjoy a little relaxation.
Julie and Julia is one of the movies we watched, and while I had already watched this film, it was good timing. The story is about a young married woman who works in a soul-sucking job, and she is looking for more fulfillment in her life. She begins cooking out of Julia Child's cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and begins writing a blog on her encounters - the good, the challenging, and the flubs. While watching Julie's escapades in her tiny New York apartment above a pizza joint, the story of Julia Child's not-so-easy journey of French cooking, cookbook-writing, and uncertain times are also detailed.
One scene stands out for me in this movie. Julie is preparing a dinner for a food critic the night before the dinner, because her blog and French cooking challenge is her side hustle. She painstakingly prepares her dish and places it in the oven in the wee hours of morning, setting a timer to alert her when it is finished. She doses off, sleeps through the alarm and burns the dish, leaving her in a panic about when she will prepare the food since she has to go to her full-time job.
Sometimes - even when we hustle - it doesn't turn out the way we planned. We've all felt Julie's pain - the planning, the hard work, the learning curve - and the flop.
The last time I viewed this movie my business was just a tiny thought. It was present, but wasn't fully formed, and in hindsight I found myself grateful that when we embark on a new effort or experience, we don't know about all the rocks (and boulders) on the path. If we did, we may not even attempt to set those goals, make those changes, or act on those new ideas that can be life-changing for us — or for others.
We may become discouraged before we even start. But like any good obstacle course or workout — it's the difficulty in the course that tones us, strengthens us, and prepares us for what's ahead. And we call that grit. The power to stay. The wherewithal to follow through. The gumption to be uncomfortable with not knowing. The humility to admit our shortcomings, and the patience to eventually learn. And maybe even the idealism to believe that you can actually make it in your new endeavor.
Cooking in this film was simply a metaphor for step out and try. Sure, it's a feel-good type of movie, but one I found to be uplifting, with a theme of feminine power - which I loved!
No matter what you may be planning to try, embracing the whole experience is paramount to moving ahead. I definitely recommend Julie & Julia - along with a few girlfriends and a long pour of French wine in honor of the talented, wacky trailblazer Julia Child. Tending to you may be exactly what you need to create movement and positive change.
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