No Fear

So, I’m probably one of thousands and thousands of food bloggers out there who ran right out to see Julie & Julia this weekend. Eric even agreed to come with me. Way to take one for the team, babe! That’s why I love ya! I absolutely adored this movie – I think I had a smile on my face the entire time. Meryl Streep was fantastic as Julia and I loved learning about her fascinating life. (My Life in France is on my mile long to-be-read list but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I may have to move it up in the rotation!) I even heard Eric chuckle a few times.

I first picked up Julie Powell’s book Julie & Julia after seeing a preview for the movie earlier this summer. I had heard good things about the book in the past but it always slipped my mind when it came to deciding what to read next. When I saw the preview, I knew I had to get my hands on it right away. Off I ran to my public library to grab it.

This is going to sound off-the-wall bizarre and probably a bit nutty but…this book spoke to me. This book changed me. This book truly inspired me in a way that I’ve never been inspired before. Yeah, yeah roll your eyes, lean over and whisper to your friend that this Milkman’s Wife chick is all kinds of crazy. Go ahead…I won’t be offended. :)

I saw myself in Julie. I saw my life in parallel with her’s before she started her blog project. Frankly, it scared me. Some of the criticism I’ve read about the book is about Julie as a person. “How can she be nearly thirty and still be floating aimlessly through life?” The Cool, Confident, In-Complete-Control Masses argued. “Who gets that far into their adult life with so little sense of purpose. She is infuriating, childish and unambitious. She should quit whining and do something.”

Whoa. Back the truck up. This is the part where I hyperventilate and panic. Where I need to breathe into a paper bag and sit down with my head between my knees for a moment as I wonder, much to my horror, if that’s what people see…when they look at me.

I am a 27 year old college educated secretary. That is my actual job title. I didn’t even know anyone still used that word anymore (aren’t we all admin assistants now? Much more PC, right?) Apparently, they do. I’m one of them. I make the pennies to prove it too. I didn’t plan on making this my career (not there’s anything wrong with it. Honestly, I’m grateful anyone hires me to do anything at all. I’m pretty worthless.) It just kind of happened. Now I’m feeling rather…well, stuck with it, if I’m being perfectly honest. Just like Julie. I’ve spent the last five years since college just bouncing around from here to there, not ever really finding my place. Just like Julie. I find myself looking around at everyone else doing something spectacular with their life and I wonder how did I get so far behind? Why don’t I have anything to offer like everyone else? What’s the point of my life? Just like Julie.

If you haven’t figured it out from blog already, let me fill you in a little secret. I LOVE words. I love written words. The written word is a carefully crafted masterpiece, a true hidden talent. It’s deeper and more profound than speech. I don’t have much to say, but I have plenty to write. I’ve always been that way. Ever since I was little girl and I first picked up a pencil and began to write stories and poems littered with charming first grade mispellings, I’ve felt drawn to words. Back in high school, when English teachers were fawning over me and handing out A’s like candy and reading my stuff aloud as if to say “why can’t the rest of you do it this way?” I thought maybe I wanted to BE a writer.

At 18, they make you decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. You have decide what you want to be when you grow up so you can go off to college and study it and then come out on the other side ready to do it. Forever. This is ri-freakin’-diculous, if you ask me. How is a mere child, without a fully developed brain, supposed to make such a drastic and life changing decision? Even at the time, when most teenagers think they know it all, I thought the entire thing was completely laughable.

And I was different from other 18 year olds. I was mature. And wise. And smart. I was practical. I was going to have a good, sucessful life. A career. You don’t make a career out of writing, I thought. That’s like saying I want to be a rockstar, or an actress, or a professional athlete. EVERYONE (and their mom, brother, and second cousin twice removed) wants to be writer. Sure, sure, I stood out in my high school English classes (and then my college classes too, when I got there) but that’s not the real world. That’s just pure, dumb luck. And I, being the mature, wise, and smart 18 year old I was, was NOT going to jump head first into thousnads of dollars worth of student loans only to put my future in the hands of pure, dumb luck. I shelved the idea of studying creative writing and got a marketing degree instead.

All aboard the Practical Train! Toot Toot! Next stop, Careersville!

After reading Julie’s book, I realized I’ve been riding the Practical Train for way, way, WAY too long. Fellow passengers include Fear, Doubt and What If. I’m still waiting for the Careersville stop. Meanwhile, LIFE is whizzing by outside the window.

I’m surrounded by incredibly supportive and encouraging people in my life. My parents, my family and my friends. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and my biggest fan. His gentle encouragement has become outright pushing. Just like Julie’s husband. (coincidence that my husband is also Eric? Hm. I’m thinking it’s a sign. Ha.) He wants me to do this. To WRITE!

At the end of the movie, as Julie gets ready to tackle her very last recipe in the Mastering the Art of French Cooking – she whispers to her DVD of an old Julia Child television show…”No Fear, Julia.” Well, this is it for me. No more fear. It’s time to take a serious look at this writing thing. It’s time to see if I can make it happen. I’m going to see if I can pursue freelance opportunities. I’m going to work up the courage to share my other blog (Oh, that’s right – I have a second blog. It doesn’t have much in it yet, but that will change) I’m going to jump right in and do NaNo again and see if I can actually get something workable out of 50,00o words.

I have to try. I, like Julie, am not content with where I’m at. It’s up to ME to change it. Can’t just sit around and wait. I want to do this. I think I CAN do this. Congratulations, Self. I think you just figured out the reason you were put on this earth.

I’d like to thank my husband, Eric, all my family and friends, all those high school teachers and college professors that handed out A’s like candy, and fellow food blogger Julie Powell, for helping me realize there’s more to life than just being a secretary. Stay tuned for more from me!

And now the reason you are here…a recipe! Here, have a cookie for being a good sport and sitting through this post where I explain my sudden life epiphany. Peanut Butter Blossoms. The true, unadulterated classic. Perfectly chewy and kissed with chocolate, these are destined to improve your life in just one bite. Savor the flavor, my friends. :)

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS (Recipe source: Hersheys.com)

Makes about 4 dozen

INGREDIENTS:

  • 48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 3/4 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar
DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

ENJOY! :)

One year ago this past week:
Chicken Fried Rice – Tastes just like takeout…only better!
Pizza Margarita – This is one my favorite posts in my entire blog. Check out my story about hating homemade pizza. You get a good sense of “writer me” in this post. I think it’s where I found my voice for the blog.
Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting – Oh, these are insanely delicious.
Skillet Bruschetta Chicken – Simple and easy weeknight meal.

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15 Comments

Filed under cookies, peanut butter

15 responses to “No Fear

  1. GO FOR IT!!! That’s fantastic that you’re going to pursue your dream of being a writer!

    This post sums up my feelings exactly (although far more eloquently!) I had a very similar reaction to Julie and Julia, (I’ve only read the book, but I ADORED it!) and it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one that feels like my life should be much more “together” at this point in my twenties.

    I can’t wait to see what comes of this, and I wish you the best of luck… I can see from your blog you’re a really talented writer! (And these cookies look great)

  2. So apparently I can relate to Julie AND to Milkman’s Wife! I think this is awesome, I’m so glad you’re going for it! And you’re not alone, I had the exact.same realization recently.
    And I totally agree with you: wth do they let 18 year olds decide what they should do forever? I was smart, mature and well-praised in school too and also didn’t have a clue what I should do – I just knew that I was supposed to go to college and then get a good job, I had no clue what to do.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

    Oh, and I LOVE these cookies :)

  3. Ali

    I think part of the problem people had with Powell is the comments she made after book came out. Comments aimed at the food blogging community, which had loved her, and she totally bit the hand that fed her.

    As for any criticism of her and her career choices or whatever else, I have no issue with her on that front, but I did have an issue with her nasty comments directed at food bloggers who have a true passion for cooking and are just doing their thing and having fun.

  4. Awww! This post totally made me smile! Not just because the cookies are too freakin cute. I totally believe in you. You do have a way with words. Go for it, go after what you want out of life. You’ve only got one shot at life, so spend it wisely. :D

  5. Melissa

    What an inspiring post! Good luck with your new venture, you can do it!
    These cookies look amazing, by the way! :)

  6. Erin

    I know how you feel. It’s hard sometimes to go for what you really want, and all too easy to go with something safe. Hope your career aspirations go well. These cookies look great- you can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate!

  7. I totally connected with Julia when I read this book a couple years back, too. GOOD LUCK with your writing. I know I’ve told you before but I love reading your blog and I’m sure I’d love reading other stuff you write too!

  8. Ugh, with JULIE not Julia. Sigh. I need to proofread. :P

  9. I to am an college educated secretary and lately have been having the same feelings as you. You are a wonderful writer so go for it! I also totally agree with you about making 18 year olds decide what they want to do careerwise for the rest of their lives. It’s hard to realize once you get out of college that you would have picked something different to major in. Good luck! Oh, and I love the photos on this entry.

  10. themilkmanswife

    Thanks so much, everyone, for your kind words. You have no idea how much it means to me! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one feeling rather ho-hum about life. All I can say is, find what you love and go for it! Whatever it is, you just have to try. If I can start taking baby steps forward, you can too. We CAN do this!! Thank you, thank you!!

  11. This post was wonderful. You really are a talented writer. Your blog is my favorite to read because of your writing. It is always quick witted, smart, and fun. Good luck!

  12. Emily McQ

    Yahoo! I am so happy to hear this!!! The Lord doesn’t give us talents to keep them hidden away….

    Does this mean I finally get to read your novel?!

  13. I’m a college-educated secretary as well so I completely feel your pain! I feel like life opportunities are passing me by and I’m going to be 31 in a few weeks. I just can’t find exactly where I’m supposed to be career-wise. I’m very inspired by your post. I have so many ideas about what I want to do but am afraid to just go out and do it. Especially since they aren’t completely centered around what my degrees are in. Live and learn and grow I guess, right? We’ll see. Good luck with your writing pursuits!

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