Life Update – I’ve Got Some News

There’s something I’ve been dying to share…

We’re almost one third of the way into the 2017 and nearing a year since I completed my final semester at university. It also may have crossed your attention that things have been a little irregular on the blog this month. My usual schedule has been slightly out of sorts and I’ve not been as active as usual on my channels as I’d like. There’s a reason for this and, with all that’s happened in the past month, now seems like a good opportunity to catch up with you and reflect on recent happenings.

The first new year out of full-time education is strange to say the least. It’s the first time you aren’t knee deep in January assignments and academic papers. It’s the first time you’re without post-Christmas exams to cram for. It’s the first time your work isn’t fixed with a deadline and you lack a palpable goal on the near horizon. It’s unusual and liberating in many ways, yet uncertain and terrifying in others.

My fellow graduates will be all too familiar with the alumni office’s annual game of ‘where are they now?’ following departure from university. When my turn came at the beginning of February, I didn’t know where to start. A freelance journalist, a photographer, a copywriter, a digital media creative, a blogger, a recipe developer, an events coordinator, a linguist… Goodness, that’s a lot of jobs. It explained my exceptionally distracted mind over the past few months. Why I was always unsure of the productivity of my time, despite being constantly busy. With my head on so many different projects, so many different endeavors, it made sense that perhaps I wasn’t entirely finding substance and longevity in my work.

Truth be told, since the end of last year, I’ve been more and more inclined to move away from solely freelancing. When you’re a freelancer, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re being shown the door the minute you start to find a rhythm in a workplace or project. As someone who really cares about the quality and purpose of what I do each day, the quick turnaround and necessary distance wasn’t fulfilling me in the way social media had assured me a multiplex of projects should. Some might call me crazy. Say that I’m nuts for not loving the control and freedom that most freelancers constantly boast about. But I suppose I’m rather old fashioned and, as equally as I like adventure and excitement, I also like stability. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But where am I going with this? Alright, I’ve skirted around my news enough!

At the beginning of February, I got a call out of the blue about a potential job on a big and exciting project. The role would be dynamic – involving a range of things from writing and editing, digital and print content creation, social media and email marketing, coordinating event features and strong collaboration opportunities with innovative brands and influencers. It was exactly what I do on a day-to-day basis and love most about my work, plus a lot more new avenues to be developed over time, but encompassed within one role for a specific reason and with more permanence, it lent a greater sense of purpose to my passions.

However, I hesitated. For a moment I thought, ‘should I do this? Can I really turn my back on my current freedom when so many are desperate to take that leap?’ Then logic woke up with a vengeance and shouted ‘if you don’t take this opportunity, you’re an utter fool!’ So I said yes.

I’m so excited to share that I am now the Digital Editor at Balance Festival – an event celebrating London’s thriving health, food and fitness scene. At least that’s what is says on the tin but, in actuality, I hope my work will make clear that it’s a whole lot more than that.

The current health and wellness climate is stormy to say the least. I’ve experienced it through my own work and heard it voiced by many others across the industry. The misinformation, the misguidance, the mistrust. The sense of elitism created by language and practices, the lack of diversity seen in the faces of health, the way wellness has been turned into a commodity only the fortunate can afford. It’s not the pretty environment it’s painted to be and recent debates have been an incredibly rude awakening to this reality.

So far, wellness events have reflected this false image. Not only that, they’ve reinforced it. They’ve been a party to spreading confusion through promoting mixed messages and hosting a lineup reliant on popularity over value and substance. But this is where being a part of Balance Festival presents an opportunity to subvert the norm. To showcase that health has many angles, many approaches, is absent of rules and is deserved by everyone no matter their background, history or status. It is not a passing trend, it is a constant right.

As I too now am coming on board as a voice and person of Balance, a concept that I’ve certainly grappled with defining in the past, what I can promise is that this festival will not be afraid of acknowledging rifts in the industry. It won’t hide from the challenges around wellness and live in pretense that health is a definitively perfect existence. Essentially, it will inject some much needed realism and common sense into this industry. It is a game-changer.

So, there you have it! Four weeks in and this has been nothing short of a dream role. I’ll be sharing a lot more about the festival on my various channels as it approaches. With some incredible features soon to be announced, I’ve no doubt this will be an experience unlike anything in the health and wellness sphere before. Stay tuned because things are about to get a lot more real and a lot more exciting!

Maxine Ali

2 Comments

  1. Abbi Stolagiewicz

    March 16, 2017

    A big congratulations to you, Maxine! How exciting! 🙂

    • Maxine Ali

      March 18, 2017

      Thank you so much Abbi! Very exciting times!

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