Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The French Chef

Recently, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been reading "My Life In France" by Julia Child.  In the memoir, Ms. Child recounts moving to France (*sigh* Paris) with her husband Paul in the late 1940s and her discovery of - what became her life long passion - French cuisine.

What inspires me, in these tough times, about this, dear ones, is that Julia Child was in her mid 30s when she met the man of her dreams, her late 30s when she moved to France and her early 40s when she actually started her career as, what we might call now, a professional foodie.  Sure, she had other jobs in her life, she had a good New England liberal arts education, she had a good life - but it was in her 30s that she discovered what would be the passion that drove her for the rest of her life.

This give me hope.

Your MatchGirl, as you may know, has had a few different jobs throughout her "career".  But not one of them was something that she was passionate about.  Of course, the type of person I am, I threw myself into each and every job I have had - long hours, low pay, nightmares about shoes in the rickety stockroom falling on my head... - but none of these places ever drove me.  None of these jobs inspired me to do better, to learn more, to grow grow grow in a very personal way - the way that her discovery of French food drove Julia Child.  But, the more I think about it, the more I know what I do want to do - or, more to the point, where I want to work.   And the type of work that I want to do.

I used to feel crazy (and jealous) that so many of my friends seemed to find their passion - and careers that they wanted to pursue - early in life.  I cannot even count how many friends I have who are passionate doctors and lawyers and teachers - who knew that they wanted to do this by their Freshman year at college.  Not me.  I knew what I enjoyed, and it was varied, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.  The question, "what do you want to do when you grow up?" could be answered differently depending on the day, or hour, that you asked me for most of my life.  In reality, I just want to be happy.  I want to want to go to work because I enjoy what I am doing, or why I am doing it.

But Julia Child didn't figure any of it out - man, marriage, career - until she was just older than I am now.  And that, my dear readers, gives me hope.

(image via The New York Times)


  1. Awesome article as usual, Ms. Matchgirl!! I first started following you after your spot on ny1 and you are very inspirational to me as I have been underemployed for over a year and a half.
    This article is my favorite yet as I am in my early 40's and can relate exactly to your quotes of not knowing what to do when I grow up and being in low paying hard working jobs but not really being passionate about it. Almost relieved when I got laid off in 2 of these jobs.
    Well I hope and pray for you my friend that you will find everything you are looking for and it will happen. But please after you get a job please... continue with your great blog! Cuckoo in Queens

  2. Aw! Thanks so much! Good luck to you in your job hunt, and your quest for your work passion, as well!

  3. YES! Thank you for posting - I completely relate to having friend with "passion jobs" and feeling so behind even though I'm only 24. Great post!

  4. Thanks for your post! I can relate as well. I somehow find myself in love with a job and then quickly losing interest. I don't know what I'm doing with my career/life - I, too, just want to be happy. Funny how something that seems so basic is so elusive.

  5. i love this post. it is exactly like how i feel right now. even though i went to grad school to become an art historian, i'm still figuring out what i want to do with myself and i'm 32! hope we figure out soon :)

  6. I am so glad I found your blog! This is a great post. I feel like not having the passion for me is part of the reason why I'm working my way out of unemployment so slowly...

    Anyway, it's so nice to read about someone else's stories...I'm the only one I know who's unemployed and it is so difficult.

    If you get a chance, do a search for my article, "I lost my job and the world is a better place for it" on Can't wait to read more of your blog.

  7. You hit the nail right on the head. At 35 I'm still trying to figure out what to do. It's somewhat comforting to know that I am not alone in my quest to "work to live" instead of "living to work". Thank you as always for sharing your thoughts with us.

  8. Same with one of my literary idols, Anais Nin. She really didn't start "discovering" herself until she was in her 30s and this continued for the rest of her life.