Twinges of doubt (perhaps even more than twinges) have been making themselves felt when I contemplate my culinary future. I’m in the steakhouse once a week and the chefs, who are half my age with ten times the experience and twice the energy, make me feel ill equipped to be entering the culinary world at this point in my life.
I give myself the apropos pep talk: “Julia Childs was 40 when she graduated culinary school!” or the hackneyed “Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until her seventies”. Yet my internal critic chides me with a “what are you thinking trying to be a chef at your age!”
I’m tired of discussing my age. It’s been said a million times – age is but a number. I’ve always thought that quote was just an excuse for the middle-aged to cling to youth. As I drove to work this morning, I realized that age IS just a number (of course, perhaps I’m just one of those middle-aged youth clingers). Each of us has a certain allocation of years in which to create a life. It may be less than 20 – or it may be as long as a hundred. We don’t know how long – if lucky, perhaps around 70 or 80. We’d be fools spending only part of those years living, learning and exploring – and saving the remainder of our time waiting for the end. If we’re slotted to die at 40, then should we stop living at 20? Of course not! What if the end comes much later than we’ve expected – what a waste of good years in waiting.
If I’m dead tomorrow, was culinary school a waste? No – I will have died having done it.