• Rachel Brooks

4 Life Lessons I Learned Taking My Artistic Life Full-Time

It was always a dream of mine since I can remember to live an artistic life, no money side-hustle, no 9-5 job, just me and doing what I love to do.

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In March of 2021, I left the full-time retail job that I had been working since July of 2013. The job that in those 8 years set my schedule and spread me thin as I was still trying to live creatively through musical theatre productions while also starting my content creation journey.

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Fast forward to January of 2022, and my life looks COMPLETELY different now. Now, instead of waking up in the morning to go serve customers and run a store, I wake up and am lucky enough to work on editing pictures, posting on social media platforms, writing blog posts, etc. and I get to work in a theatre almost every day! It's been such a blessing to live this artistic and creative life, but it's also come with its fair share of challenges!

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Here are 4 Life Lessons I learned this from living a creator's life this past year...

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#1: "Organization has become more necessary and rest is essential!"

I was an organizational, a type-A person my whole life. My dad likes to joke that my to-do lists had to-do lists, and he isn't wrong. I have always loved planning, and especially planning my life and days. But no longer having a business or boss tell me when and what to work... that was HARD! Suddenly, I had to create my own work schedule (which is great and terrible at the same time), and figure out how to complete and divide up my to-do lists. I cannot believe how organized I am now though through learning and developing all these skills. I've got planners, notebooks, organization apps, calendars, etc. that I sincerely couldn't live without now.

But the second even harder part of this life lesson is learning when to work and when to rest. Honestly, I was never good at resting before but as I get older, I realize how more and more essential taking time for myself, my health, and my body to relax is essential. This means I have to learn to give myself "time off!"

Heading into 2022...I want to continue to work on balancing my work and rest schedules while coming up with a better personal day-to-day schedule.

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#2: "Letting go of my creative perfectionism."

Where are my fellow perfectionists at?!

This is one of the HARDEST lessons I have learned this past year! For the most part, there isn't a strict way to prove the success of your creativity and what you make. And for any perfectionist, that can DRIVE US CRAZY! When I was working retail I was constantly measured by numbers; the number of credit cards I opened, our profit, conversation rates, etc. and I could see with my own eyes if I was doing my job well or not. This whole debacle has caused me to be an absolute terror to myself when I try to create ANYTHING. While editing pictures, I go back and forth on what will perform best on my feed. When out shooting, I'll look at previews of pictures and say "I have to be better than this." When teaching or choreographing anything I hang on to every work a student or co-worker might say about my work. So on and so on, and it's exhausting. I'm slowly working every day to let go of my "perfectionism anxiety."

Heading into 2022...I want to continue the hard work I've started with my perfectionism traits and be mindful of when those characteristics start to come back.

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#3: "Feeling lonely is OK, I just need to learn to be my own bestie."

I'm a people person first and foremost, I really enjoy spending time with others and making friends. But since leaving the job that accounted for 80% of my social time, I have never felt more lonely. There are no co-workers to catch up with (my cats are great but usually have very little to say), customers to chat up, etc. The most social part of my day, truly, is teaching and 75% of that time I'm teaching alone. So the lonelys have truly set in this past year, which in turn has pushed me even further in being a best friend to myself, something I was never very good at before.

Heading into 2022...I'm working on talking to myself in a kinder way, constantly saying to myself "Would I say this to a best friend?" "No?" "Then why am I saying it to myself."

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#4: "A different life is only a decision away!"

Working the same job full-time job, doing shows at the same theatre company, teaching at the same high schools and dance studios year in and out... well it felt like there was a strong possibility that was going to be my life forever. AND THAT WAS SERIOUSLY SCARY. But there was a time I started excepting that, and actually planned my life around that thought. It wasn't until January of 2021, when Steven and I road tripped to Colorado, a place we had dreamed about living but I was honestly losing hope, that I knew that something better existed out there for me. We worked out butts off to make it happen, but the decision to move to Denver, Colorado, and leave behind the life we knew for a life we wanted, was honestly life-changing.

Since moving, taking my creative pursuits on full-time, etc. I have changed. I'm no longer the same person who lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin almost her whole.

I like to think I kept the good parts of that girl, infused her with a life she is actually excited about every day, and I continue to foster the fears and anxiety, strive to give self-love, and never, ever give up.

I have proof that dreams are just a choice way. And it's pretty dang magical.

Heading into 2022...I want to bet on myself more, believe in the good and magical things that can happen in this life, and strive to never have the same life day in and day out.

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I am so excited to read this post in a year and see where life is at, what I've learned, and where I still need to continue to grow!

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Wishing you so much love, life, and laughter this year!

Love,