For LiveLikeJulia, I read an advance copy of chapter four, “Obey Your Whims,” of Karen Karbo’s forthcoming book Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life.
The idea is that I live like Julia, obeying my whims, for a week or so and blog about it during September.
For now, I’m interpreting “whim” as “following your heart,” which, if you think about it, is no small feat. I mean, what if your heart pounds out a beat that starts driving you in a completely different direction than the one you’ve been going?
Karen suggests embracing the “power of the whim” because it’s a way to shake things up and will nudge “life into tossing something unexpected in your path.” You’re supposed to allow this unexpected thing to lead you “in a direction where something good, or at least different, is bound to enrich your life.”
It all sounded fun and breezy until one of Karen’s paragraphs described my life (back to that heart beating in a different direction while I’m still headed in the direction we’d been going along just fine):
The best time to heed a whim is when we find ourselves
stuck in life, when putting one foot in front of the other is
only taking us further away from where we want to go, even
though we don’t know where that is.
I’ve been stuck. I’ve been trying to put one foot in front of the other until my stamina finally wore out and I gave in. I’m really not sure what’s at the heart of this change. All I’ve been able to admit, quite fretfully, is: “Well, I can’t keep living life in this way. So, what am I going to do?” That last question has rather haunted me until I read Karen’s paragraph.
It’s possible to know that I was heading in a direction I no longer wanted to go, even though I have no idea what new direction I want to pursue? I didn’t think that was possible. I assumed you only got tired of something once some other inspiration or project came along that you desired more, then you worked your way toward that.**
[**After drafting this post, I read an article in Fast Company where Sir Ken Robinson describes our careers as ships at sea constantly correcting course. We only look like we know what we’re doing after-the-fact when it’s typed up on a resume. I find this comforting. Maybe following a whim is really correcting my course?]
To begin following whims, Karen suggests I start in the kitchen:
It’s a little thing … but it keeps your impulse-following
muscle in good shape for the day when something more
momentous comes your way.
If something more momentous is going to come my way, cooking like an Iron Chef ought to have me primed to embrace this new path, right?
Well, we’ll see. For now, following whims that involve spatulas and wooden spoons, pots and pans, and our little green kitchen with the tinny clock radio tuned to NPR sounds pretty nice. Here goes!