Picture your dream life— but not measured by how “busy” you are, how much pressure you put on yourself, and how much you get done in a day.
That’s where this whole “anti-hustle culture” comes into play in my world.
And as I’m not a huge fan of being anti-anything (Law of Attraction folks, you see me!), I did want to point this out specifically because hustle culture can certainly slow us down when we’re trying to get in our creative flow.
Anti-hustle culture isn’t about ditching goals and systems— but approaching them more intentionally. We see hustle bros all the time talking about how you need to get up at 5am, do weightlifting for 2 hours, work for 8 hours, yadda yadda.
And if that works for you, that’s amazing.
I just want you to know that there are other ways if that life or the idea of that life stresses you out a bit. Because it sure did for me when I did it.
My Post-Grad Days: The Audition Hustle
My life was a whirlwind of subway rides and audition lines back in 2018, a fresh post-grad, crashing on our aunt’s couch in Astoria, Queens.
My mornings began at 5 am, getting on the subway, heading to Manhattan to sign up for an unofficial non-union casting list plastered on the outside of either Pearl or Ripley-Grier Studios.
Then it was rushing back to Queens to work out, shower, and get my hair and get my hair and makeup audition-ready.
By 8:45 am, I was back on the subway back to Manhattan, joining scores of other hopeful non-union actors just praying that we’d get a chance to be seen in the audition room.
But more often than not, after 3-5 hours, a member of the casting team would come in and announce that, sorry, but they weren’t going to see non-union performers. Truly a gut punch (but sometimes a relief, as I was already so exhausted from waking up early and sitting around).
Those early days of the audition hustle, felt like I was chasing something elusive and beyond my control– because in a sense, I was.
I thought if I could just look a certain way, sing a certain way, carry myself a certain way, I’d “make it” (whatever that meant).
The hustle was relentless.
I lived and breathed auditions and callbacks, constantly tweaking my image and sound to fit into a mold that seemed required to break into the industry.
But in chasing what I thought I needed to be, I started losing what made me, well, me.
The truth behind the performing— the ability to share an experience with a wider audience, to storytelling, to do truthfully under imaginary circumstances— was overshadowed by my ability to get seen and loved— something totally out of my control.
This hustle culture for me, this relentless pursuit of a dream at the cost of everything else, was really like running on a treadmill: it was lots of effort, but didn’t really move me in any direction at all!
How I Went From Hustle to Anti-Hustle Culture
2020: the year I rediscovered my inner homebody.
The world slowed down, and so did I.
I was living in a more quiet suburb outside of NYC, and for the first time, I felt a breath of release not having to hurry into the city for my pursuits. I loved the pursuits themselves, but the traditional hustle I was told was the only way to make it? Not so much.
In this unexpected quiet, I reconnected with my true self. I began living more intentionally, more thoughtfully. I wasn’t just filling time between stressful day jobs and fleeting moments of relaxation. I was actually living in each moment. My creativity started to resurface again, oozing possibilities in my own little space where I could actually shift and create my own reality.
Show ideas, massive creative goals, and even the beginnings of songs started flowing from me with an ease and authenticity that had been masked by my grind mindset and need to do as many auditions as possible.
And suddenly, the opposite of what I was doing started to sit in— the anti-hustle culture.
I was living intentionally, embracing quality over quantity, and creating from a place of peace, not pressure.
But of course, I still had my doubts.
For the longest time, I believed that to be a “real” musician, I had to be hustling in the big city. When I first moved to NYC for college, I thought the subways, the crowds, and the city’s pulse were what made me an artist.
If I wasn’t thriving in that environment, was I even cut out for this life?
It took me a while to realize that it’s not the city that makes the artist; it’s the art that makes the artist. I needed nature, peace, and room to breathe – things that I couldn’t find in the hustle and bustle of city life. Embracing anti-hustle culture meant accepting that my path might look different from others, and telling myself that it might just be okay.
Now, my days are looking a tad differently, with still the same dream: being a performing artist.
A Day in My (Anti-Hustle Culture) Songwriting Life
I’ve been waking up without an alarm on most days, stopping the gym, which is a quick 8-minute country drive from my place. Thank goodness for that Planet Fitness massage chair after the workout 🧘♀️.
I usually get started with my work around 10 am, working on client work that I (try to!) fit into 4 hours a day. I don’t always hit it, but it’s a good goal to have so I can spend the rest of the day cooking, playing with the cats, working on music, and doing anything else my heart is dreaming up.
(BTW, if you haven’t already, check out my vlog spending a cozy and creative Friday with me!)
I’ll then (try to) cap my content creation work (for clients) at around 4 hours a day between all of them. That means when I’m working for them, all in, and when I’m not, I’m taking brain breaks, meal and snack breaks, and spending some time letting go in between writing and social media management (which is the job I currently do for them).
From there, I’ll spend my evenings writing blog posts (like what I’m doing right now!), editing YouTube videos, writing music in the studio, or just watching a show that helps me turn my mind off. Some of my favorites are X-Files, Veep, The Office and New Girl.
There are definitely parts of working from home and living creatively that’s a challenge— negotiating deals with clients, feeling stuck inside the house, managing contractors, and so much more!
But the sheer understanding that my dreams as a performing artist didn’t have to look a certain way helped me balance my dreams and having a beautiful, creative day-to-day life.
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