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It is never too late to start something new

We start our story in January of this year, 2021, the year after the world stood still. I was working in costume for Film & Television; however, it wasn’t feeling right deep in my belly. I felt like because I had completed a degree in this subject, I was destined to follow that path and if I didn’t…well what a waste of time and money. I might have carried on down that path if it wasn’t for the global pandemic.

For me, the pandemic and the national lockdown was the start of a discovery of myself; what I valued, what made me happy, and what I felt I was good at, or at least gave me purpose. Knowing your own values is important as it can help you make decisions, take action and focus on what is important in life. I re-evaluated my core values and decided to make changes based on things that weren’t serving me anymore.

I stopped drinking, as even though I didn’t have a severe drinking problem, I realised that drinking made me more anxious, depressed and left me with missing Sundays and a sore head. I looked at my future within my then current career and decided I didn’t want to pursue a career in costume anymore. This was in fact harder than being sober, as I faced many ‘What ifs?’ for a couple of months.

I weighed up what I enjoyed and what I was passionate about; design, the environment, photography, writing, and reading. I found The Juice Academy and saw there was a job going as a Content Producer with an environmental company. However, I then saw the word apprenticeship, I wasn’t sure. The thoughts that came to my mind were that it was a step backwards, it was too big a risk, the pay cut would be too large, I am too old! (I was 26 when I started the apprenticeship, different from the 16-year-old school leavers I pictured as apprentices).

However, there was something deep down in my belly that felt it was the right decision. I was stuck in my life and needed something to shift it. I had my Zoom interview and immediately felt like it was meant to be. Having worked at the company for 7 months now, I am filled with pride at everything I and my co-workers have achieved. My eco-anxiety has decreased, as I feel I am actively making a difference to the beautiful planet we live on. I am also very much enjoying the 9-5 routine after working up to 16 hours a day on television sets. The routine has helped me focus on myself and my relationships with friends and family.

The moral of the story is that it is never too late to change course. It is your life, and you have ownership of it. If you are a 45-year-old investment broker that suddenly has the desire to move to Nepal and become a celibate monk- DO IT! You will never know unless you try!

Ria Matthews, Cohort 31, Digital Marketing Executive at Eco Green Communities


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