Having A Life While Building A Career

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I’ve written about having a balanced life on here before, but I’ve had to remind myself of that a lot lately. I’ve been busy between producing a short film I starred in, working on starting up another short film I’ll be producing, my day jobs, and working on my acting career. Some days it feels like everything I’m doing is working toward the goal of making my living as an actor. That’s not a bad thing occasionally, but I also don’t want to get overwhelmed and forget to take care of myself as well.

I have done some travel lately (something I want to do more of but feel like I shouldn’t because it takes me away from LA). I went back east for a long weekend for a family reunion to see some family I haven’t seen since I was 16. And I’ll be going to Tahoe to be with my parents and dog for a weekend next month. I’m lucky that my agents are okay with me booking out for occasional weekends away (I try to limit them unless there is a family emergency that requires me to book out) and that my day job has two days off in a row so I can do a weekend trip. But even when I don’t have the time or money to travel, I’m really trying to focus on non-acting things from time to time.

Someone asked me recently what my hobbies were, and I actually had to think about what I did besides work and acting stuff. What I came up with is blogging and reading, but I’ve realized that more than those two things make me happy and I should be spending time on those as well. I have had to block out time in my calendar to remember to do other things which bugs me, but if that’s what it takes to remember to do them then that’s what I need to do. I’m rediscovering my love for watching documentaries, graphic design work, and drawing and I haven’t been this happy in a long time! It’s sad that it took someone asking me about my hobbies to realize that I’ve neglected them but I’m glad it was brought to my attention so I could work on some refocusing.

I do feel the guilt sometimes when I’m reading and I feel like I should be doing something else. Or I’ll be watching a documentary and feel like I should pause things to check in on twitter to see if any casting directors I follow said something I should retweet or reply to. I don’t think it is healthy for me to work everything around my acting 24/7, and I’m working really hard to break that habit.

Taking time for myself I think will make me a better actor (and producer if I chose to continue to produce projects). It will make me more well-rounded and give me new inspiration for things as well. I have to take the guilt out of life balance which isn’t easy when you see your friends online only post about working on their careers (and even though we know that is only a small snippet of their life we feel like they are working on their career all day and night so we should too).

I’d love to get some advice on what you all do to balance your life with your career since I’m not an expert at this at all. How do you balance your hobbies with work? I know I’m lucky to be single and childless because my time is just for me and I don’t have to worry about carving out “me time” after taking care of others, but hopefully one day I’ll be married and have kids. How do mother’s find the balance without going crazy? I welcome all your advice in the comments and hopefully we can all help each other become more balanced and well-rounded artists.

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About Jen Levin

Actress/Blogger - I’m originally from the Bay Area, but I’ve been in LA for over a decade now, so I consider myself a native. I’m working as both a blogger and actress (with a couple of day jobs to pay the bills on the side). I love being in the entertainment industry where every day is an adventure! When I’m not working on my career, I’m either reading (I’m a total book nerd) or enjoying my newfound love for spin class (which is helping towards my goal of losing 100 pounds for the last time). I like to joke that I’m a girl with Southern charm and Jersey moxie, which I think has worked well for me so far!