This past weekend I saw a fabulous example of following your passion: the movie Julie & Julia. The movie is based on the true story of Julie Powell, a frustrated state worker who spends her days in a cubicle taking incoming calls in the aftermath of 9/11. In search of a way to deal with her frustration and soothe her aching soul, she decides (rather on a whim) to prepare every recipe in Julia Child’s famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She diligently works her way through the 536 recipes in 365 days and blogs about her trials and tribulations along the way.
In the movie we simultaneously get to view Julie’s experiences in modern day New York and Julia Child’s life during her years in France as she discovers her passion for cooking. As Americans in Paris in the 1950’s, Paul and Julia Child had a glamorous nightlife but when Paul went off to work at the embassy, Julia found herself looking for something with which to fill her days. After a few failed attempts at entertaining and educating herself, such as a hat making class which she found boring, and a bridge class with the same result, she decided to attend culinary school. Julia and her husband were enamored with the gustatory pleasures of French cuisine, and so it seemed natural that Julia would find her joy in taking classes at the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school.
She delighted in the rigors of learning to prepare French cuisine, fearlessly attacking the tasks and holding her own in a class dominated by men. She thought about how wonderful it would be to have a cookbook in English so that “servantless” Americans could enjoy the pleasures of French cooking and collaborated with two French cooks in creating a mammoth manuscript.
Back in the states Julia Child not only got her book published but became the acclaimed “French Chef” on TV, introducing millions to the joy of boeuf bourguignon, chocolate soufflés, and the like. Julia never set out to become an entrepreneur, she simply pursued her passion and shared it with others. Similarly, Julie Powell rose to literary prominence after she was interviewed by the New York Times about her Julie/Julia project blog. Her story became a book and then a major motion picture. She has a new blog, was interviewed by Nightline (check out the clip, it has vintage footage of Julia Child!)and a second book soon to be released and isn’t working at that cubicle job anymore!
When we follow our passions, we flourish. We may find ourselves as these women did, making a living without a job.
“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman