Tag Archives: Julia Child

Agree? “Sometimes, If You Want to Be Happy, You’ve Got to Run Away to Bath and Marry a Punk Rocker.”

“Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you’ve got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you’ve got to dye your hair cobalt blue or wander remote islands in Sicily, or cook your way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year, for no very good reason.”

–Julie Powell, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

I love all books about year-long projects in self-improvement, and I loved this book. (Side note: it’s surprising just how big this category is.)

Reading this passage reminded me of a post that I myself wrote several years ago — A Happiness Lesson from Julia Child? — which remains one of my favorite pieces of everything I’ve ever written. I wrote it as a response to reading Child’s wonderful memoir, My Life in France.

Here’s the final paragraph of that post:

“Julia Child’s love for French cooking was so contagious that even today, almost fifty years after she wrote her first cookbook, we still feel her influence. I’m not sure whether I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” – but enthusiasm certainly helps. What a passionate life Julia Child led! And what a marvelous flavor she left behind.”

Secret of Adulthood: Enthusiasm Is a Form of Social Courage.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

 

The more I think about happiness, the more I value enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is a form of social courage – it’s safer to criticize and scoff than to praise and embrace — and I’ve decided that I’d rather be “enthusiastic” than “confident.”

I have a patron saint for enthusiasm. Can you guess it? Julia Child. (By the way, identifying your patron saint is a very thought-provoking exercise in thinking about your own values.)

This post I wrote about Julia Child may be one of my favorite posts ever.

It can seem cooler and smarter to be ironic, detached, or critical, and it’s certainly much easier and safer to adopt that sort of stance. But enthusiasm is more fun. Enthusiasm is generous, positive, energetic, and social. It’s outward-turning and engaged. It’s brave, unself-conscious, warm-hearted, and kind of goofy. Like Julia Child!

I’m not sure whether I agree with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” – but enthusiasm certainly helps. And sometimes enthusiasm takes guts.

I’m reminded of one of something my sister the sage once told me: “No one has an opinion until someone else has an opinion.” By speaking up with enthusiasm, we change people’s attitudes.

Agree, disagree?

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Secret of Adulthood: Enthusiasm Makes Difficult Tasks Easy.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

 

The more I think about happiness, the more I value enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is a form of social courage — it’s safer to criticize and scoff than to praise and embrace — and I’ve decided that I’d rather be “enthusiastic” than “confident.”

I have a patron saint for enthusiasm. Can you guess it? Julia Child! (This post about Julia Child may be one of my favorite posts ever.)

It can seem cooler and smarter to be ironic, detached, or critical, and it’s certainly much easier and safer to adopt that sort of stance. But enthusiasm is more fun. Enthusiasm is generous, positive, energetic, and social. It’s outward-turning and engaged. It’s unselfconscious, warm-hearted, and kind of goofy. Like Julia Child!

Also, enthusiasm makes difficult tasks easy. One interesting question for self-knowledge is: What do you memorize without effort? That tells you something important about yourself. Do you effortlessly remember sports scores, song lyrics, scientific facts, vocabulary words, recipes, details about friends’ lives?

When I feel enthusiastic about some undertaking, it comes so, so, so much more easily to me. For instance, writing. My husband is great at writing, but I’m a writer, and he’s not — because I have endless enthusiasm for writing and revising, and he doesn’t.

How about you? Do you find that enthusiasm makes an otherwise difficult task easy?

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