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Turning 35! - Reflecting on the past 5 years

What is it about milestone birthdays that make you become all reflective? Below is a Reflective log I wrote in June 2019 (Pre Covid). It talks of how I started my journey into becoming a Canine Massage Therapist. I hope that it may inspire others to take the plunge and to make a change. Trust me if I can do it anyone can!

"Turning 30!

When I turned 30! You could say I had a bit of a mid-life crisis (a bit early I know!). But I suddenly got to this milestone in my life and went. What happened to my 20s? What have I achieved so far in my life? Well, when you looked at it, I had: a house, a well-paid job, 2 dogs, family & friends and my hobbies. My life was complete right? But scratch the surface and I felt worn out, stressed and unsatisfied with how my life had almost stalled for the last 8 years. ‘Was the next 10 years going to be the same?’ Feeling constantly stressed out at work. Not having as much time as I would like to spend with friends, family and my dogs? Having to pay someone else to look after my dogs whilst I was at work (where is the sense in that?). People talk about the treadmill of life and living for the weekend. This was me, feeling unfulfilled and discontented with my life.

I remembered watching a video clip on YouTube titled ‘Why you should quit your job! It talked about your timeline of life and how from the age of about 20-65 years old you are working. This is the majority of our lives! And apparently 85% of us are in a job that we hate. So the question I asked myself was, did I want to spend the majority of my life doing something that doesn't fulfil me or bring me happiness? Did I want to stay in a job where I dreaded Mondays and worked to get to the end of the week, so I could live for the weekends? Simple answer NO! The video went on to say ‘if you don't like your job, quit it, find a new one.’ I just can’t quit my job (I have bills to pay) and I am not a risk taker (what would I do? Im not qualified to do anything else!). The video then said ‘find another way to make money. Reinvent yourself and become the person you have always wanted to be.’ This really resonated with me and I started to think about what my passions were, what I enjoyed doing and what would make me happy.

The Big Idea

So I started to think. If I was to make a career change, what would I do? Would I have to retrain? Would I have the time to retrain? All these questions were going around and around in my head until I thought. It’s simple! My passion is my dogs, and then I remembered a very impressionable moment in my life.

I remember meeting Catherine Nicoll (now Catherine Ryan), about 5 years ago, during a canicross run in the Forest of Dean. She arrived in her van and the logo on the side said, ‘Dogs Body.’ I thought, dogs’ body what is that? Cath explained about her canine massage business and how she had chosen to make a career change. She said that it was the best thing that she had ever done and what a positive change it had made to her life. All I kept think was, you massage dogs! People take their dogs to be massaged! You can make a career out of massaging dogs! That sounds amazing what a great job. I wish I could do that.

Taking the plunge

So, I mulled this idea over for quite sometime (ok a long time. Remember I'm not a risk taker), my dogs started getting maintenance massages from Cath and I was amazed at the positive changes that I was seeing. Then one day after chatting to Cath about the Clinical Canine Massage Practitioner Programme I thought. What is stopping me? Why can’t I do this? Do I want to look back and have regrets, because I was too worried about giving it a go? NO! So that evening I filled out and sent off the application form. I thought see what happens, there is no harm in trying. Unbeknown's to me I didn't realise that the application process had closed for that year and because I hadn’t heard anything I just carried on with life as normal.

Then September 2018 I got an email! It was from Natalie Lenton acknowledging my application and asking me to complete a written qualifier. I opened and read this email after a very hard and stressful day at work and just thought. Go for it! "

Back to the Present Day

Flash forward 5 years and I am a Canine Massage Therapist, running my own successful business in the Forest of Dean. I still have a long way to go before I can pack in the day job but I feel honoured and privileged to be doing something that I am truly passionate about. This past 5 years have been life changing and I have met some incredible people and their dogs.

I set myself a challenge this year. To free dogs of silent pain! I wonder what blog I will be writing when I hit 40!

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