Tell me honestly, are you the same person you were when choosing your GCSE subjects, aged 14? Or your A-levels? Or even your degree? If you are one of those people who has always known what they wanted to do, driven by a passion for something in particular, then truly, lucky you. I am most certainly not the same person. At 35, I had changed almost beyond recognition and I found that the career I chose for myself as an achingly ambitious, acquisitive 17 year old no longer fitted me.
A career in PR had suited my twenties. It paid well, afforded me parties every night if I chose them, I met interesting people, and who wouldn’t love staying in hotels in exotic locations on expenses? But something changed in my 30s. First off, I met my husband and the travelling no longer seemed quite as much fun without him. A couple of promotions seemed like a dream come true, but the stress that comes hand in hand with a senior position and a senior salary saw my eczema, which had been fairly stable since childhood, flare up in an alarming manner. And then, my back went. I was literally stopped in my tracks.
I decided to try acupuncture, well regarded for back problems, and over a few sessions something quite profound happened. Not only did my back come ‘unstuck’ and my skin start to clear, but something else came unstuck. My thinking. I realised I wasn’t stuck in this career or on this path I had chosen so many years ago, but I could change direction, make my life work for the ‘me-now’. And what better to do than my new found passion, acupuncture?
I signed up for a three year course, combining freelancing with college commitments and loved every moment of it. Going back to school might seem daunting, but my brain enjoyed being challenged in a new way and more than that, the training opened up my eyes again to the world around me. The teachings of acupuncture are rooted in nature, so the garden, the woods and the wilds became my classrooms.
After graduation, I began to build my acupuncture practice, taking on PR projects from time to time to help meet bills – after all, I have a valuable skill set that works for me and you don’t build an acupuncture practice overnight. But it complements my new priority, acupuncture. My work life today, at 39, is built around the person I am now, with all of my experience, passions and skills.