Becoming a stand up comedian at the age of 45 made me realise anything is possible

My story

As a child, I always had a dream to be a comedian and actor and up to the age of 18 I followed that passion by being in youth theatres and performing whenever I got the chance.  But coming from a working class family in the North of England, acting wasn't really something that seemed possible to do as a career so I took the sensible route of getting a law degree and qualifying as a barrister.

I've spent the last 25 years working in the field of construction law and I set up my own business in 2018 which I thoroughly enjoy running but there was always that feeling deep down that it wasn't truly my life's purpose.

It's a stressful job and this combined with many challenges in my personal life resulted in me becoming overwhelmed with stress and anxiety which I mainly coped with through drinking.  In 2017, after suffering a panic attack in the Co-op (random I know!) I knew something had to change and so I looked for a local meditation course.  This took me to the local Kadampa Buddhist centre where I started going to weekly meditation classes and workshops.  The changes were subtle at first but I gradually found a sense of peace that had eluded me until then.

The following year I did dry January and was amazed at how the combination of not drinking and my daily meditation practice was beginning to transform how I felt and how I dealt with life.  I never went back to drinking at the end of dry January and haven't drank since, something which seemed unimaginable at any other point in life.

Inspired by the changes I'd seen in myself I began to read and research as much as I could about meditation, mindfulness and spirituality. This took me to Instagram and the many, many, many thousands of accounts and posts on this subject.  What struck me was that it all seemed a bit unachievable - its all very well saying how great mindfulness is when you're basking in the sunshine of LA with no kids and no responsibilities. Try being mindful when you're trying to get 2 kids out to school on a wet, cold morning in England after the dog's been sick and you can't find the PE kits!

This is when the idea of Building Bliss was born.  I wanted to be able to share what I'd learnt without all the staged photos and floaty white yoga outfits.  The name stemmed from my background in construction but symbolises the building blocks we need to put in place to improve our wellbeing with the idea that once our foundations are secure, we can really begin to thrive.

Fast forward to 2019 when I stumbled across a poster for a women's comedy workshop in a pub I only went in because they sold kombucha!  Although I was incredibly nervous I felt it was something I really needed to do to scratch that childhood itch.  I went to the workshop in January 2020 and it reignited that little ember in me.

During the pandemic I began doing comedy improv via Zoom and met the most amazing bunch of women who were all finding their joy in expressing themselves.  We eventually began to meet up in person and have supported each other as we took our first steps out on to the stand up circuit.    This showed me where my true passion lies and why laughter is a key component of Building Bliss.

I hope that by sharing my story and the things I have learnt I can help as many people as possible find their bliss.

Find out about the BLISS programme here.

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