I practiced as a lawyer for over 10 years, specialising in libel law. I often worked long hours and it most definitely had its stressful moment.
It was exciting and I got to travel. I loved living in London (having grown up in North Wales) and I enjoyed constructing legal arguments and meeting interesting people.
But the novelty soon wore off as I started to think about having a family and wondered what that would mean for my children and/or my career. Working long and unpredictable hours and I couldn’t see how that was going to align with my values of family and health.
The day I turned 30 changed the course of my life completely. I was on holiday in New York with my best friend, taking a break from my stressful job, when we were mugged at gunpoint.
A day later, I was back at work in London and on my way home that evening I was assaulted by a gang of young men, only to be saved by a passing police car.
Over the next few weeks, those incidents made me re-evaluate my entire life. It was the wake-up call that I needed. I had to try and find a better way of living my life for the sake of my mental health and wellbeing.
Making The Change
After my near-death experience, I was reminded that I had danced when I was younger because I absolutely loved it and it happened to keep me in shape. So why not do that again now?
My passion for dance helped me get back into fitness and allowed me to reconnect with who I really was. I realised I could do fitness and life my way. This set me on a path to reconnect with my passion for dance and train to become a ballet teacher.
Ballet gave me back my confidence. It gave me structure and routine, enabled me to set boundaries and, most importantly, it allowed me to reconnect with myself and discover a whole new way of existing.
Breaking Down Barriers
In time, I set up Breaking Ballet, classes designed for people in their midlife. At 47, I’m in midlife myself, so I understand the challenges people face and what is needed to make necessary changes to our lifestyles.
I wanted to break down the perceived barriers that I know exist for women in their 40s. Age, fitness levels, busy schedules, lack of flexibility or coordination is not barriers to regular exercise, and I teach this in my classes.
Despite a growing awareness surrounding women’s health issues, (and in particular perimenopause and menopause) there remains a gender disparity when it comes to access to fitness. 1 in 3 women do not do enough exercise, and 64% of women wish they could take more time to devote to their physical health. Women’s symptoms are often ignored and their health problems are under-researched.
Why To Try Something New In Midlife
1. We Develop Self-Compassion
Trying new things such as ballet helps us to develop self-compassion. Many adults feel self-conscious when they something news, or are worried they won’t be able to keep up and will make a fool of themselves, but by learning self-compassion we are kinder to ourselves.
2. Helps Us Prioritise Our Own Needs
Women need to prioritise their own needs to thrive through the premenopausal and menopausal years. But this becomes more challenging in midlife because we are pulled in so many directions with teenage children, elderly parents, careers and age-related health challenges. Dedicating time to ourselves reaffirms our self-worth.
3. Hobbies Calm Us Down
Being able to calm the nervous system and lower stress levels is really important. Hobbies can help with this. When you choose something that brings you pure joy it helps to develop a positive attitude and achieve happiness. Hobbies can make you happier because they boost your confidence and self-esteem and nurture your creativity.
I love what I do and running my own business has also allowed me to be present for my children as they grow. I don’t have any regrets. My previous career in many ways has helped my entrepreneurial journey and given me a deeper appreciation for how I now live my life.