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5 Things/Life lessons I learned watching Julie & Julia

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julia_with_malletToday is the launch of Julie & Julia on DVD and Blu-ray! This is one of my favorite movies of 2009, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband and I saw it while on vacation in Seattle in September. We spent the entire evening and the next couple of days discussing it.

I was unaware that Julia was hardly known in France, I assumed my husband knew who she was. After seeing the movie he was proud to know that there was someone like her whose undying admiration for French food was the impetus to her mission to share his country’s food with the American public. And of course, my husband and I share the same love!

This movie about the lives of two women pulled at me in various ways and reinforced several life lessons that I am sharing with you.

Find and embrace your passion. For Julia it was cooking. For Julie it was cooking and blogging about Julia’s book. While food and eating are some of my greatest passions, I am not a good cook. I thank the heavens above for my husband every day. He loves to cook and saves me from the trauma of bad meals and the constant recipe search.

My passion, like Julie it’s blogging. This really took me by surprise. I have wanted to write for a long time but never found the medium that would allow me to express that desire. When I stumbled upon blogging, I was hooked. I cannot image my life without this little blog. It is my outlet, and I am passionate about it. It is my stress relief and it has opened up the brain cells to write offline as well.

However…Don’t let your passion blind you to what is important in life. Following your passion is important, but remember that you have a spouse (or significant other), children or a job that you still need to pay attention to! This was one of things I would criticize Julie about, she became obsessed with her project and it nearly cost her her marriage, (and her job).

You can see this happening with artists and writers where they obsess about their work, shrinking into their own world and forgetting those around them. They are lucky when they “re-surface” that their loved ones are still there. This may be okay when someone knowingly marries an artist or writer, but to start a new passion once relationships are established, and to become obsessed with that new passion, may be difficult for the people in your life. Communication is key.

Mistakes happen. You have to love how unflappable Julia was! She could drop a chicken or flip a jello mold incorrectly, and say “what the heck, squish it here squash it there and it’s as good as new…it tastes the same no matter how it looks!” Julia was able to not take herself so seriously and didn’t dwell on her mistakes. She learned to do it better. She learned to adapt.

I learned there are also cultural difference around this point of view. Americans are taught to learn from their mistakes, the Teddy Roosevelt “pick yourself up by your boot straps” and try again kind of attitude. In other cultures, like the French culture they are taught to study, to question, to figure something out beforehand so that you don’t make a mistake in the first place. I can tell you that made for some very interesting discussions in my household in our early days!

Live life to the fullest. No matter what Julia Child did she did it with gusto! Everything was the best she ever tasted, she savored every bite and every moment. She never did anything half-heartedly. Enjoy each and every day as if it is your last, take time to enjoy every bite, explore life and don’t say no to trying new things!

I believe attitude is everything. I am sure positive people enjoy life more. They are often called naive or unrealistic, but I believe it is a choice. It does not mean that there are not things in life that get you down or knocks that set you back a step or two, but it is how you deal with those knocks that life throws you that pave the road to happiness.

And Lastly: Butter makes everything taste better. Bien sûr, butter does make everything taste better, I completely agree! Although my husband cooks mostly with olive oil because it is healthier, we do allow ourselves butter from time to time. Real butter, not margarine or soy butter, or any other butter substitute, but real French (preferably, from Brittany or Normandy) butter. IT is like heaven, and it brings out the taste in food as well. My husband makes lots of soups and stews. He makes them on Sunday and we eat off it during the week so we don’t have to cook too much when we get home from work. After seeing Julie and Julia he made beef stew, but seared the meat in butter and flour à la Julia and it was heavenly. Not something we would do every day, but yummy all the same!

Those are some of the life lessons I gleaned from the movie, how about you? Did you see the movie and picked up on something else? Please share!

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