I saw the movie Julie & Julia last night. Sweet, funny, poignant. I even cried a little but mostly laughed a lot. I loved it.
One moment in the movie between Julia Child and her husband Paul resonated with me. Paul had been grilled by the government (Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? sort of thing). He was questioning whether his work and devotion had been worth it. Had he done anything truly worthwhile? At the same time, Julia was trying to get her cookbook published and after eight years of editing, testing recipes, etc. she was also wondering whether it would be in vain. At the end of that little scene she says something like "Oh, boo-hoo" and they move on.
This little vignette touched me because I have been experiencing some of those same feelings now for some time. Turning fifty last year really just sort of swooshed by and seemed as though it wouldn't touch me at all. But then my mother passed away recently and now I feel as though someone has unloaded a truck of bricks on my head and I'm questioning everything and every choice I have ever made in my life and wondering if I have done anything worthwhile at all.
I suppose everyone at some time in their life comes to that point where they wonder if their life means anything. Has it made any difference at all that I am here on this spinning rock? Will anyone miss me when I am gone? Will people go through my things after my death and look at me with love and affection, or will they just not care at all?
Somewhere deep inside of us is that burning and questioning that we don't utter in public. We bravely face our jobs or whatever is in front of us for the day. "Never let them see you sweat" my boss once advised me. We put ourselves out as a leader in the field. Look at me, look at me, look at me. Promote me, promote me, promote me. And all the while inside there is the little voice that we try not to listen to that says "I'm not worthy. I'm a fake. If only you knew how scared I am..."
I think whenever these feelings wash over me I will think of Julia for a little bit. Her cookbook finally did get published and yes, she changed the world a little bit with it. The next time I'm scared or full of regret or find that I'm turning into a completely self-absorbed whiner, I'm going to say to my self "Oh boo-hoo" and move on. And maybe, just maybe, that will give the courage to move past it and on to something that might change the world.