Persevering is not often simply a matter of working hard and refusing to quit; often, by trying again, failing again, and failing better, we inadvertently place ourselves in the way of luck.
Old age. I don't know when it really starts, and I'm not interested in finding out. Julia pretty much ignored the whole thing, and that may be the only real lesson there is for the end of our days. Just pretend like it isn't happening, until you have no choice but to accept reality. If you're lucky, like Julia, you'll die peacefully in your sleep after having enjoyed a dinner of onion soup.
Had she been a more instinctive, natural cook, she might have felt less compelled to parse each recipe, to tackle each one as though getting it right were a matter of life and death.
Once in a great while, she was distressed by the way she looked. As she was rounding the bend to forty she would write to Avis DeVoto that whenever she read Vogue she felt like a frump....but I suppose that is the purpose of all of it, to shame people out of their frumpery so they will go out and buy 48 pairs of red shoes, have a facial, pat themselves with deodorizers, buy a freezer, and put up the new crispy window curtains with a draped valence.Julia was able to deconstruct the disingenuous motives that drive women's magazines with the ease she normally reserved for deboning a duck, seeing quite clearly that while ostensibly offering inspiration and useful advice, the stories and articles quietly pummel the reader's sense of self, the better to drive her into the arms of the advertisers.