Julie & Julia and Finding a Passion

Sometimes it’s easier to answer the question “Who am I not?” than “Who am I?”. I’m employed, but I do not have a career. I like to dabble on this blog, but I’m not a writer. I bake, but I’m not a baker. I cook , but I’m not a chef – let’s be honest, I rarely actually follow the recipe. I’ve sewn, but I’m not a seamstress. I can play piano, but I’m not a pianist. I’ve acted, but I’m not an actress.

I’m in the throes (maybe a bit melodramatic) of self-branding and website building before I can officially start applying for jobs. Writing essays for college applications is a process of humble-bragging to admissions people you will (most likely) never meet. Self-branding as a designer is making visual decisions to represent yourself to future employers. It’s more than my grades, my school, and my work experience. It’s also the design of my resume and my body of work that I present. It’s not just the facts, it’s the presentation.

Kind of like food. My mom always says, “You eat the food with your eyes first”

I watched Julie and Julia (2009)  the other weekend. My reasoning was three-fold: One – It’s about cooking (and food) which is so important to my inner mennonite and I love watching people that are passionate about it. Two – Meryl Streep + Amy Adams. Three – Stanley Tucci, he’s so fabulous he gets his own number. I’ve been known to watch films just because he’s in it. I want need to have coffee with him. All quotes are from the film and I have not looked into their accuracy in real life vs movie life.

Julia Child was in Paris with her husband who was working there and didn’t know what to do with herself.

Paul Child: What is it you REALLY like to do?
Julia Child: Eat!

And so she made a life out of what she liked to do. She enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu and that was that. Simple. Well, not so simple really and she had her own mountains to climb. But she knew what she liked, found her passion, and pursued it.

Julie was stuck in temp jobs. She wanted to be a writer and had an unfinished novel. She had a friend who blogged and thought she could do it too, she just needed something to blog about. Enter: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She already loved cooking as a way to unwind after a long day, so she found what she loved, and made it work for her. Side note: Julie had never had an egg until she started cooking through Julia’s cookbook. I, on the other hand seem to survive on a steady diet of eggs, bananas, greek yogurt, and oatmeal.

Amy Robinson, the producer says in the special features:

I hope that this story can be both a fun movie and a delicious movie that’s gonna make you want to go out and eat but also something that may inspire, particularly women to say, you know what? What do I really love? And what can I do with that and make something with my life and try to pursue it?

So what are you passionate about? I love design, but specifically, I love making things beautiful and I love making beautiful things. I also love food and my heritage. Is there a way to combine all the things? Make my own cookbook? Actually, the film makes me want to cook through someone’s cookbook. Not, however, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have no desire to cook a calve’s leg, “murder and dismember a crustacean”, or de-bone a duck.

Maybe I will do something like that, someday. I’ve given myself and completed 3 creative challenges. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And giving yourself a set amount of time is something very important. One of my favorite choral composers, Eric Whitacre, mentioned it in his talk at my university a few years ago and it’s very true for me. No deadline, no work. But ah, the deadline to figure out what to do post-graduation is very real, and coming quicker every day.

Julia Child: [on her book being published by Knopf] Is is kun-Na-pf or NOFF?
Paul Child: Who cares!

And isn’t that the spirit? Sometimes I’m a bit too much like Julia here – concerned about the details. The 5 W’s and an H. These are all important things, but sometimes I need the enthusiasm of Paul. Yes, I’m in my last stretch of schooling and staring into an abyss of questions. But: I’m graduating! 4 years of dedication to my passion of making things beautiful and making beautiful things. It’s a time for celebration and cheers to new beginnings.

Despite unknowns, this I know for sure: I’m loved unconditionally by my heavenly father who died for me and a family that loves me even when I talk too much. Every year is a year of self-discovery, I suppose. I propose a toast: to the year of graduating, reading, learning about myself, and becoming a designer*. Please excuse me now, I need to go work on my website and my elevator pitch.

Recommend reading: If Stanley Tucci was your Boyfriend



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