We had the good fortune of connecting with Adriel Joy Thurston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adriel Joy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Do people have a work-life balance? Just kidding, but seriously, that is very hard to do. Before deciding to be my own boss, I worked 60-80 hours a week to make another boss (or two) more money, but very rarely earn more myself. There is a lot of security in working for a company, another person, etc. I decided that my dreams could be a reality if I put more effort into them to make me place boundaries on my day job so that I could work towards my personal goals. Now I am working the same amount, but I am investing in myself, my dreams, crossing off personal goals and headed towards the ultimate dream of being on my own completely. Being a star chaser is not easy, and you must make many sacrifices along the way. Less time spent with loved ones, less TV binging, more time at the computer, researching, producing around the clock. It will feel like you have zero balance for a while. You will live in a constant state of stress and tiredness. You will question why you’re doing this. But it will all be worth it in the end. The easy stuff isn’t usually the good stuff; the hard stuff is, or everyone would do it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I didn’t choose the creative life, it chose me. I really do mean that. I was born in Denver but raised in Austin. Growing up in a quirky city like Austin really helps people embrace their inner weird and not back down from it, that is for sure. I have always loved the arts, from playing piano, reading anything I could get my hands on to coloring all the time. My home was full of music and books; both things that tell stories in their own way. As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer. Today, I am one. It’s like it has always been inside me and throughout time and growth, I have found various ways to be creative. Whether it is by creating stories through writing, pictures or painting, to using fashion to showcase who I am internally on the outside. Along the way, people who I grew up with encouraged me to start my photography studio, which is now over a decade old and that led me to start doing pictures for the MLB and NBA. Somehow it took until my 30s to truly understand that I am a creative. Not sure why it took me so long to grasp that, but I will never let it go now. I absolutely believe that being surrounded by the arts (theatre, books, music, dance) as a child truly led me to grow into the creative adult I am today. There are so many ways to be an artist and every type of artist has a unique take on the world, removing all the limits on what it means to be a creative. Failure is the main factor that has led me to success. I know that probably sounds opposite of what most people would say or want to hear, but you will never succeed without trying and failing first. It is so very rare to jump immediately into success right out of the gate. In fact, there are so many quotes, stories, movies and more about not giving up when you fall down; about standing back up and learning from failure so you can eventually succeed. My favorite failure is Abraham Lincoln, although many don’t realize just how much he failed because now all we see is his success. You don’t learn to walk and suddenly run a marathon. You will fall. You will get back up. It will all be worth it. I am not sure I want there to ever be an end to my career. I would like to have employees and people helping run my companies and nonprofit while I keep writing. I am not sure I would know what to do with myself if I ever retired. It just doesn’t feel like me to lay down and rest. But the ultimate end goal would be to inspire people to follow their dreams, to pluck them from the sky and make them a reality. I want to leave a legacy of hope, kindness and strength behind me. We can do hard things, even when it feels like we can’t.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow. Houston has so much to offer! In an ideal world where everything is open again: I would take them to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, notsuoH, 8th Wonder, MAD, anywhere for crawfish, to listen to the Houston Symphony, dress up for the Houston Grand Opera, picnic and a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Nobu, catch a drag show (or bingo) over at Boheme, Secret Garden, bubbles at A’bouzy, great food at Cuchara, whiskey at Bad News Bar, Axelrad and The Menil Collection, fun at Galveston and a stopover at Nasa and a ferris wheel ride at Truck Yard. There is just so much to do every day in this amazing town, I would probably just convince them to move here instead! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Between the Covers Bookclub is amazing. I joined a year ago and it has honestly changed my life. It’s so much more than reading, it’s a community of women bonding over life together; one book at a time.
Image in the purple dress and gold mask done by Meaghan Hall Photography (@Meaghanhallphotography)