Why We Love Maria (Von Trapp) Julie Andrews’ Style

Me in front of the "Sound of Music" bus - Austria, 2009. Two words - Freakishly Excited.

A few years ago, I was laid off from my account management position at a regional marketing agency. It was no surprise, really. The economy had tanked. Our revolving door of clients made each new account feel more and more like a professional one night stand. And those of us left, sat hunched over our desks, popping TUMS and trying not to draw attention to the growing target on our backs. Quite dismal indeed!

Cue “The Sound of Music” Scene 1.  Julie Andrews, as Maria, is whimsically twirling about the Austrian countryside in her simple pinafore with arms outstretched in wonderment. Of course, this opening musical interlude cost her dearly. She ruffled enough habits to be ousted from the abbey…indefinitely.

You know the story and Maria’s famously wistful response to her uncertain future. “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”

I can relate to Maria’s clumsy days at the abbey. She was committed to her calling. But she often got, well, distracted – by singing…and stuff.

Maria: I can’t seem to stop singing wherever I am. And what’s worse, I can’t seem to stop saying things – anything and everything I think and feel.

Mother Abbess: Some people would call that honesty.

Maria: Oh, but it’s terrible, Reverend Mother.

What we find so endearing about Maria, even this many years later, is her honesty. She stood up to the Captain, did things her way and changed her destiny. I am pretty sure a handsome new millionaire husband and traveling family choir made failing at the nun-thing a little less devastating (once they escape Nazi-occupied Austria, of course).

When life closed a door for me in the form of my job loss, I realized it was time to open a few windows. I may not always be as positive as Julie Andrews in, well, every scene of that movie. But that’s part of the whole honesty thing, right?

We can learn a thing or two from her sweet stubborn optimism.

J. Laurel Confession #001: I have been known to dance and sing when no one is watching. Though I would hesitate to do so in the Alpine wilderness as the result could be, I fear, far worse than a scraped knee. (I am picturing a minor scuffle with a billy-goat and at least one, if not more, close calls with a rocky ledge of some sort.)

We’ll just skip the dancing and go straight to opening those windows!

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