I’m Janice Mendes, I’m from Scarborough, Ontario, and I’m 49 years old.
I am, a proud first generation Canadian (of Guyanese heritage), Mother, Daughter, Sister, Teacher, Counselor, Writer, Creator, Actor, Animal Lover, Empath, Do-Gooder who wants to change the world!
From as early as I could remember, people would tell me i was an old soul. From butterflies to elephants, babies to elderly; I cared and connected with everything that came into my world. When it came time to for me to pick a career, becoming a Child and Youth Worker seemed like a good and possible path…and it was. For 12 years I worked in group homes, community support programs, schools, and child care centers. I loved the children i worked with..but after 12 years in the field, I was in my early 30s and a single mother to a spirited 5-year-old; the itch for change was biting at my ankles.
My parents were immigrants to Canada and didn’t have a lot of education, but my dear father worked a job (he hated ) for most of his life to be a good provider for his family. They believed you got a job and you stayed at that job until it was time to retire. Talk about a serious commitment to enter into when you’re 19 years old!
I hated that my father had spent 40+ hours of his life every week for more that two decades of his life feeling uninspired, unmotivated, and unfulfilled. I knew I didn’t want to look back at my life and think I didn’t ever TRY to find something that excited me.
I had always been curious about a career in Film or Television but had absolutely no idea what i wanted to do in the industry. Google wasn’t around those days, so I made phone calls and visited local colleges that offered programs in the arts. I settled on a course at the Trebas institute where i met a teacher who offered me my very first job in the industry; that first job has since led me on an amazing path of working on interesting projects with fascinating people.
I was at a point where I had lived some life, more than halfway through my 40s … married, divorced, lived abroad in the British Virgin Islands, I had been through some things. I had an inner strength that had me knowing I am truly able to overcome anything. I was curious about acting but negative self talk kept me feeling shy and embarrassed to seek it out. I was afraid of looking stupid for trying something new at my age, but then again that itch..
On my 48th birthday I signed with an agent and booked my first commercial only a week later. Within 16 months, I worked on over 30 projects.
What would you say has been the biggest shift in your life since turning 40?
The shift in my confidence! I’ve slowly learned (and am still learning) to trust myself. My 40’s have been a decade of finding my voice and growing my confidence. I’ve managed to get on top of my finances, my health and my life goals. In my 40s I’ve found self-assuredness and quiet confidence.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
I feel most powerful when I’m living with integrity.
- When I am being true to myself — honouring my mind and spirit and making conscious choices that serve my greater purpose.
- When I make a decision and stick to it.
- When I empower or inspire other people to live their best life.
What are the top three most important things to you right now?
- Living an honest, soul satisfying life
- Hitting financial goals to help me further pursue a career in the arts,
- Being present for my family and giving them the best version of me I have to offer
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
I’ve set routines and systems in place that help keep me on track with my goals. Establishing a routine for the things that are important to me has had the biggest impact on making progress with my goals. I do regular check ins with myself and journal to keep accountable for my choices. I’m not perfect, but always willing to just keep going.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
I network!! I’m constantly looking to connect with people who are doing the things I want to be doing, slowly paving the path for my journey.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
Whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding exactly as it is meant to…whatever has led you to this point of redesign in your life, this is the step you were meant to take.
“Even if you let them kill your dreams, it will haunt you.” – J. Cole