My mother gave me the new Julia Child biography Dearie for Christmas, and I’ve been (ahem) devouring it every chance I get. It’s a lively, richly detailed account of an altogether remarkable woman who kind of floundered through life well into her 30s before she found her niche. Her devoted husband, Paul, had somewhat the same experience, although he floundered rather longer than she did because he was 10 years older than she was. Neither of them really knew what they wanted out of life until they found each other.
A line I love is one that Julia wrote to Paul early in their relationship: “When you find your niche, I believe you will find your life.” Until one matches up with the person, place or job for which one was born, everything else is merely prelude and distraction.
I find Julia and Paul’s story a hopeful reminder that even when it seems as if everything has passed you by and your glory days are behind you, the best can still be yet to come. Julia couldn’t cook at all when she first married–she knew nothing whatsoever of the culinary arts except that she loved to eat. Following her heart to Paul, to Paris, and to culinary school led her to her niche, within which she became a legend.
I hope that my niche is still waiting for me, even if I don’t become a doyenne or a legend or even rich or famous. I just want to sing the song I was made to sing, you know?