on making balance

on making balance

When I was in college, probably a sophomore or so, my dad made a comment about how I was the kind of person who would probably always have multiple jobs. He recognized in me that I had too many interests for one path to satisfy, and that I had a lot of enthusiasm and energy towards pursuing all of my passions. For a few years, I did work 2+ jobs at any given time. I needed the jobs to support myself as I put myself through college. If I wanted to buy cute shoes and eat out with my friends, I needed to be able to afford that without depending on anyone else.

After I graduated, I became obsessed with the idea of finding stability. I craved routine, which is something that several part-time jobs didn't provide. Transitioning into my first full-time job was the catalyst to a lot of amazing things for me: beginning recovery for my disordered eating, finding a support system, paying (most of) my bills on time, to name a few.

My first full-time job was at a domestic violence non-profit where I was surrounded by social workers. The job had actually started as an internship that developed into part-time and then eventually full-time. From pretty early on, I knew that I didn't want to be a social worker. I loved the work I was doing and I planned to do it for as long as I could.

Eventually, however, I knew I wanted to write. This job that I loved was not a great résumé position for someone who wanted to maybe work for a magazine or in the fashion industry. If I'm being totally honest, this blog was often a way to fill my résumé with things that I knew my job did not. In this space I showed that I could not only write about fashion and trends, and write well, but also that I could do it consistently and without anyone telling me to. Blogging was a hobby that didn't earn me any money directly, but I knew that having this blog would ultimately lead to the career path I wanted. Thanks to my blogging, I now have my dream job doing something I'm so excited to do every day. (Read more about my job transition here.)

On top of the résumé reasons, blogging filled a creative need in my life. I could not have survived that non-profit job without the creative outlet blogging provided. I made balance in my life where there wasn't balance organically. I forged a path that wasn't given to me by anyone else. You don't have to wait for anyone to give you permission to pursue your passions, and you don't have to wait for balance to just appear in your life.

A few years into blogging and the work force, I started to feel like something was missing again. I needed another outlet. I also wanted something that Dago and I could do together. For those of you who are new-er around here, you may not know that I have a weekly podcast with my boyfriend called Breakfast for Dinner. We talk about pop culture, television, feminism, music, and other things that affect our lives. Dago and I happen to both have the same love language: quality time. Doing the podcast together gives us an opportunity to spend lots of time talking about interesting, sometimes important, sometimes hilarious topics as we put the show together and record each week.

This weekend Dago and I were talking about our podcast origin. We realized that one of the reasons our show works so well is because we didn't spend a lot of time making a business plan first or researching the best equipment. We just found a mic and started recording one day, figuring it out as we go. We didn't wait for someone to tell us we were ready, or even good. We both needed this outlet in order to have a sense of togetherness and balance in our lives, so we went for it.

I've recently been asked about how I maintain a creative life. I do so by listening to what my soul needs, whether it's a passion that needs to be fulfilled or a state of mind that needs to be shifted. I don't wait for anyone to tell me I deserve balance or I'm good enough to pursue something I want. I'm busy, but I'm happy to be spending my time doing the things I love, and I get to make my schedule for all non-work related things because I'm the boss.

And you are the boss of your life! You get to decide what you want to do and you can make balance in your life without having to wait to find it.

So what's next for you? What can you do to make your life more balanced?


  1. I can't fully respond because I am so emotional about this. Seriously. Girl you are amazing.

  2. My blog is the same thing for me. It's my creative outlet while I don't have a creative job. I'm not in a position to leave my job at the moment, so I work with my blog and make time for it because, like you, it keeps me sane. I still haven't listened to your podcast yet. I'm eternally behind on my podcasts.

  3. I also use my blog as a creative outlet and for balance. I don't personally have much interest in a creative career, but I enjoy writing for fun (and might someday hope to do some freelance writing on the side or eventually write a book on the side, which is not uncommon in my field). Writing professionally isn't a goal that takes precedence for me right now because I'm focused on my "main" career, but having my blog as a creative outlet and hobby is helpful to me while I work on that other career, which I am also passionate about.

    It is great to hear that you have been able to use your blog to move into the career that you want!

  4. My blog definitely brings balance to my life as well, but the thought of blogging for a company with deadlines and needing to think of new content makes me feel queasy lol (so I envy you for being good at that ;o) ). I'm also bringing more balance by living on my own, as you know. It's only been 2 days, but I love it so far!

    Side note: your friend Chelsea takes such beautiful photos!
    Other side note: I love that you quoted Even Stevens in your latest podcast. You're the coolest.

    www.rachellately.com | Austin Style Blog

  5. I loveeee this post! It's so counseling haha

    Have you heard of Holland's six personality types? John Holland said that most people fit within one of 6 personality types and ideally you can take the little interest inventory, find out your type, and find a job that fits within your type to feel fulfilled in life... I NEVER fit within just one. In fact, I was the lucky rarity in class that fit within THREE of the six types haha. I have a feeling you'd be the same way. The idea here is that you're interests are varied and spread out and when you only allow yourself to concentrate on one at a time, you'll never feel fulfilled. The counseling answer for people in my shoes (or your shoes!) is to help clients find balance in the exact way you did: alternative outlets!

    When I was blogging regularly I was insanely busy: I was in grad school full-time and working full-time in a job that required a healthy amount of travel. I had just moved in with Dean and we had Allegra for less than a month... but it was so something I needed! It was hard for me to find things that I truly enjoyed each day and carving out time for the blog did that for me. Since graduating and moving to Florida I have a lot more free time, but it's also so much easier to find ways to enjoy said time here. I do miss the responsibility and the pride that came with posting a really great post, but my free time to be outside and explore has been a better form of balance for me here.

    PS- Sorry for the book

  6. I truly love reading what you write! I'm so glad you found your dream job, I'm hoping that I can figure out what mine is eventually and find it :)

  7. My blog has helped me feel creative and connect with people too! Even though I started it while in grad school studying creative writing, I felt like I needed another creative outlet. And then my blog helped me find a wonderful job. With blogging and working, I've put my writing on the side, and lately I've been itching to get back to it.

  8. I love your distinction between making time and finding time. This is something that I need to get better at! I have the bad habit of waiting for a mood to strike--to write, to blog, to clean, whatever--rather than making them happen, which would make me happier. Something to work on this year!

  9. I really, really loved reading this post, Nicole. You are such a beautiful writer and I so love your ability to speak candidly about your life - the good and the not-so-good. You seem to have made some very intentional decisions to make sure you're feeling fulfilled in your life, and I will always admire you for that.

    Balance is something I crave and always want more of in my own life. Like you and Dago, Kevin and I both have "quality time" as our shared love language as well. Because we're currently living apart 4 days a week (Kevin works out of town), the time we spend together is so precious and we try hard to make the most out of it. I love that BFD was borne of your desire to spend more time together (also, I still love your podcast so much!!). We are trying to come up with some kind of routine for spending quality time together - one of our favorite things to do right now is walk to the gas station near our house, get a fountain pop, walk back, and talk about life/our hopes and dreams all the while. It's like a middle school date, but with adult conversation, haha. Now that it's nice outside again, I'm sure we'll be taking more bike rides together, too!

    For myself, I try to balance the emotional energy I expend during my days as a school counselor with my introverted personality and need to just BE. This is why I've gotten so behind with blogging. Even though I'm responding to blog comments and writing posts by myself, there's something very social about it. At the end of the day, I don't often have the social/emotional energy to comment on blogs and write posts (does that make sense? It sounds really weird written out, but it's as close as I can get to describing it). This is why I'm perpetually weeks behind in commenting. Most of the time when I get home from work, I'm tired of talking and I'm tired of being on the computer, so I exercise, snuggle my dogs, and read for hours. It's how I can best function and recharge so I can be the most effective counselor I can be the next day :)

  10. I stumbled onto this post while poking around on your blog, and it was just what I needed to read. I am not someone who is great with living a balanced life (like, at all) BUT I find my blog to be just the creative outlet I need too--it's so fulfilling when my day job is... not. I could so relate to you in this post. Congrats on landing your dream job!


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