An almost panic attack, a movie inspiration & ageism.

Just when you think, you are at the precipice of doom and there is no going back, drowned in misery, and it feels that you know misery like no other. Even when, there are far worse-off people in the world, I know. But at the moment, it seems you are the lone sufferer, stuck in a whirlwind of sorrows and the world is passing by happily.

Right then, someone or, in my case, something, shines a bright light of hope and pulls you out of your self-imposed misery, just like that. While I was wallowing away hopelessly for the past few months, for no particular reason. There must have been one, or I forgot. I indulged myself in a lot of movies. Movies with no particular genre, it was a spectrum of tear-jerking dramas, not-so-funny comedies, and unworldly fantasies, with a pinch of inspirational(sans horror, not for me).

It was during that time, I came across one of my all-time favourites, Julie and Julia. A movie I have watched hundreds of times, and probably, can watch over and over, without getting bored. It is an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Julie Powell. The movie surrounds two women, in two completely different eras. 

The book by Julie Powell – Julie & Julia

Julie Powell(played by Amy Adams), an ordinary woman, living an even ordinary life, in an ordinary neighbourhood of Brooklyn, doing a mediocre, insipid job. And Julia Child(played by Meryl Streep), a woman with an exciting life of travel and food, owing to her husband’s work. 

It may seem like a life of stark contrasts but both women are bound together with one common urge. The urge to find a purpose. To find meaning in life. To find something to love and look forward to every day. While Julia’s urge grew out of her boredom, from staying at home, Julie’s urge was a calling to find true purpose.

Julie found that purpose when she stumbled upon an old cookbook tucked away in the crevices of her small apartment. The book was Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which she wrote to help, what she called “the servantless cooks of America.”

Thus, began Julie’s passion for learning and trying all the 524 recipes in the book. She challenged herself by timelining the said fete to be done within a year. 524 recipes in 365 days. She shared her insights, learnings, fiascoes, and emotional meltdowns with the world through a blog she created called The Julie/Julia Project. She would willfully write, with an almost childish sentiment, her process from start to completion of a given recipe.

Julia Child, a renowned celebrity in the world of cooking, has familiarised many home cooks with the ways of French cooking and techniques through her books, later followed by TV shows. Before finding her true passion in cooking, Julia tried her hands at a range of other prospective hobbies. Only to be disappointed by the dullness of each. Cooking came as a challenge, as shown so incredibly in the movie.

Thanks to Julia, Julie found the spark that ignited her forever passion for cooking. To state the least, this movie has left a mark on me that will forever be my spark to continue writing.

A few years ago when I was nearing 30, I came to the same dilemma as Julie. Having no purpose in life and regretting wasting it for nothing substantial. It felt like I am passing through life without savouring it. I also indulged in the cardinal sin of comparing my life with friends and family, feeling more stuck while others seemed to flourish. Leading to major anxiety and almost a panic attack, right before my 30th birthday.

While looking to make a difference, I found my passion for writing(which I always enjoyed). And, the pandemic gave me a chance to revive it. I took that time to improve, learn and write. Writing became my comfort, whether I wrote for myself or others. This blog was birthed during that momentous time in my life and it gave me a sense of satisfaction that I craved for long. Writing gave me a sense of purpose in life. It felt good to be heard, and to know that, what I write resonates.

Suddenly, my age did not matter. All that mattered is writing.

Society puts so much pressure on age, that one is inevitably bound to feel like a loser, if they haven’t acquired a particular status, money, a house, or even a partner by a certain age. We are made to feel inadequate, on parameters that are set by a generation that is long gone. 

Why is that? Why is age a factor in determining whether you should or should not do something? Why should we limit ourselves owing to our age? Starting something new should not be bound by your age, it should be bound by your passion, and your willingness to pursue that passion. The sacrifices you are able to incur to achieve your goal.

As the age-old adage goes “age is just a number”. Never limit your ambitions because you are too old for it, or too young for it.

Julia Child proved that to be true when she pursued her love for cooking and authored her books. Imagine, if she thought that she is too old for this, the world will be bereft of an amazing cook and personality. Someone who is still remembered for her outstanding contribution to the food culture of America.

Imagine, if Julie Powell hadn’t embarked on that journey of finding herself through cooking and later publishing a book about it. We would have been deprived of an amazing movie, and an inspiring story.

A story that inspired me to write again, after months of sulking and wallowing(I felt I was not good enough, that’s the reason, I remember now). If not for this, this article you are reading would not have been actualized. So, I am glad it did what it did and you have this post much sooner than later.

 Like Julie’s mother said, for once in your life, finish something you started. 

I am going to hold onto that thought and finish what I have started. I reckon unlike Julie, who gave herself a year to finish all the recipes in Julia’s book, I am not bound by any timelines. My journey has just started, and I do not see an end any time soon.

And, who knows just like Julie, I might get a book deal or a publisher one day, calling me up and asking me to write a book.

One can only hope. Isn’t it?

Putting it out into the universe, just in case.

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