My name is Jennifer Hicks. I’m 48 years old and live in Toronto. My work life began in Speech-Language Pathology. About 7 years into my career I began experiencing intense anxiety which led to some unhealthy coping behaviours. I used exercise and food restriction to control my feelings and at the age of 30 was dealing with both anorexia and an exercise addiction. My extremely dysfunctional behaviour led to the darkest days of my life. I was jeopardizing my health, career and my new marriage and couldn’t stop. After being put on a medical leave from work, I traveled to India and kickstarted my healing. When I returned, I began training to teach Nia – a holistic fitness program addressing not only the body, but the mind, emotions and spirit as well. Now 16 years later, Nia (along with lots of therapy and the right medications) has helped me heal from my eating disorder and exercise addiction. Nia has helped me reframe my relationship to exercise and my body in immeasurable ways.
What would you say has been the biggest shift in your life since turning 40?
Being in my 40s has been so liberating due to the fact that I am less concerned about pleasing others and am now dedicated to living out my life’s purpose. When I was younger it really mattered what people thought of me. Now I’m not interested in impressing anyone and instead am focusing on both what brings meaning to my life and how I can help others.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
I feel the most powerful, and really most at ease when I am engaged in movement. Whether that’s teaching/dancing Nia, or walking in the park or riding my bike, I love to be in motion. It makes me feel free and at the same time grounded.
What are the top 3 most important things to you right now?
- My health
- Being a good person
- Doing my best
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
My actions are guided by my purpose. My life’s purpose, the reason I believe I am here is to “demonstrate the power and potential of making feel-good choices.” Every choice I make has to be in alignment with that purpose statement so that I can honour my beliefs and values.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
I’ve started a business during the pandemic with my co creator Robin Gertin. It’s called The Good Conversations – we offer recorded (on demand) creative activities and connection for dementia audiences. Right now we’re seeding it’s success as we navigate market research and distribution!
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
Learn to listen to the signals your body gives you. Follow your spirit’s desires. Our bodies are always guiding us, and we have the choice to listen and respond to their wisdom. Our unique inner knowing also has so much guidance for us. Embrace that wisdom!