Don’t be tired, be inspired…
Meet Retirement Rebel, Nikki Kenward
Nikki Kenward isn’t your average sixty-eight-year-old, but she’s hoping to be. You see, she, like me, is on a mission to encourage everyone NOT to retire. In her words, “you just can’t.”
Of course, neither of us expect you to work the same job until the day you die – but we both know that to slow down or, worse still, stop, is deadly.
“It’s easy as you get older to get tired and think that the answer is to do less, but it’s not. If you lack energy, you need inspiration, to try something new,” explains Nikki.
And that’s exactly what she did.
Nikki was a dancer and artistic director – and a pretty fantastic one at that until her early forties when she found the irregular hours and erratic pay didn’t mix with a young family. She retrained as a craniosacral therapist, something she’s still practicing now. For me, those two careers are chasms apart, but in Nikki’s mind, there’s a common thread.
“Both are about processing experiences through the body,” she says. ” As a dance therapist I worked with offenders and people with mental health issues, helping them work through their emotional experiences, physically. The two jobs may seem completely different, but they’re not.”
Despite Nikki’s love of cranial therapy, she missed being creative and so, when she saw a local trapeze artist was offering classes, she decided to give it a go.
“I thought Katy Kartwheel would laugh when I told her how old I was, or say health and safety was a problem, but she was happy for me to join in,” she laughs.
Nikki tells me the trapeze is anything but forgiving and that she looked as if a car had been driven over her legs after her first lesson, but she soon had the confidence to put on a show with Katy and a host of other performers.
That sold-out show got Nikki thinking – wouldn’t it be great to make work out of this? – and so she did!
“I’d always wanted to do a Masters, but I’d never quite found the right thing, but then I discovered there was an MA in Directing Circus with Bristol Circomedia,” she says.
“The course was massively oversubscribed, but after a gruelling interview, I was offered a place and haven’t looked back.”
Nikki is currently juggling (excuse the pun) running a busy practice alongside her studies, and can already feel that doors are opening for her.
She says: “I’ve had many moments of self-doubt and failure (I had to write my first essay FOUR times) but my life is now full of excitement. I want to help other people see that anything is possible and that they can live their dreams, no matter their age.”
I asked Nikki what she’d say to people who are feeling tired and stuck – not knowing which direction their life should take now.
Her response? “What are you afraid of? What do you enjoy doing? There must be something that you feel passionate about, something you love. Focus on that.”
She, like me, is also keen that people act now.
“I’m 68, I haven’t got another 60 years,” she exclaims. “I’ve just got to get on with it. I really want to make a career out of this and be an academic and circus director for the next 20 years.”
With her energy and determined attitude it’s clear to see that the sky really is the limit for Nikki.
Oh, and despite Nikki’s kind offer, I haven’t quite plucked up the courage to join her on the ropes – but never say never!
To find out more about Nikki and the therapies she offers, visit her Facebook page
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