Since I am approaching my 30’s, I find myself engaging in introspection much more, reflecting on my past accomplishments. I worked in interior design for 4 years then switched careers and became a creative director. I also did a lot of freelance in concept development and even created a sportswear line. All this seemed great on paper and gave me a lot of experience in various fields. I was always stressed and never felt quite at home/in my rightful place. By the end of 2016 I was drained, mentally and physically. Everything suddenly seemed overwhelming. I was no longer enjoying or embracing anything I was doing. Slowly my life turned into a boring routine: wake-up, workout, work, meet friends and sleep. I became a “floater”, I wasn’t living but was purely a spectator. It affected my mood, my body, my sleep… I wasn’t my happy and bubbly self anymore. I was a hyperactive zombie. There was nobody to blame but myself. I needed to change.

But is it too late to change? I want to discover myself all over again. What I didn’t mention in the beginning of this article is that I am an artist, I always have been. I studied art, I showed my work in exhibitions but society seemed to think otherwise. “How will you make money?”, “Painting will not get you anywhere”, “Artist? Anybody can be an artist!”, “Tuline, you should focus more…

These words of discouragement have filled me with self-doubt. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. Maybe I won’t be able to make a living off my art. Maybe they are right, I should stop “playing around” and join the rat race. I began to dedicate less and less time to my passion and more and more to work until work was all that was left. I became my 9 to 5…

Photo Credit: Youssef Baroud

So I quit my job. Yes, I quit! It wasn’t the first time I quit a job, but this time it was different: I was determined not to cave in to that life again, one where security comes before happiness and health. Work won’t dictate my well-being anymore. Instead, I am going to accommodate my job around my life and focus on self-improvement. I decided to do some yoga and Pilates, to sleep in more and to finally listen to my body (for those who know me would understand how hard that change was for me). No more waking up at 5 am to do some hardcore workout after only 4 hours of sleep, then rushing to work and of course ending the night out with friends to somewhat make it seem like I had a social life.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”- Winston Churchill

Yes, my life is now more unpredictable and my finances less secure but I feel more at peace: I create more, I am more active, I smile more, I travel more, I DO MORE. I feel more balanced. I call it “THE MORE EFFECT”. Surprisingly, I became more productive work-wise as well. I work as an agent for LoveByN, a fashion blogger, while also freelancing in concept development and branding. But most importantly, I am finally making art my priority, spending more time creating and painting. By choosing art over structure, self-improvement over routine, my outlook on life changed dramatically. With my mental state now much healthier, the outside world suddenly seems to be much prettier!

Painting is my happy place; it is my sanctuary and my therapy. I’m not helpless anymore, I know what I want. It was time to paint and be serious about it as a career. It was also time to enjoy life, family, and friends. And most of all, go out more in the sun. Oh, how I had missed the sun!

It may sound cliché and simple but I truly believe that change starts from within.


Photo Credit: Bilo Hussein

You can follow my art on @tulineartstudio and discover my world.