Sybil Bailey - Afromermaid Skincare

Sybil Bailey: Afro Mermaid Skincare

Life can be messy. Our plans may or may not work out the way we, well, planned…. But if you give yourself time, and if you believe you can reinvent yourself, you can achieve what you really want. Case in point, my friend Sybil had a dream: to be an esthetician (licensed skin care professional). However, sensible and well-intended people around her steered her in a different career direction. She did well for herself, and found professional excellence along the way for twenty-plus years. Then, what looked like a door closing—a corporate restructuring—actually opened the door to pursuing her childhood dream. Once again, some reluctant voices cautioned her that starting over again in her 50s might not be a wise decision. However, Sybil persevered, and chose to listen to her inner voice. She went back to school and became an esthetician. She opened up her own business and found her bliss. She is thrilled to have taken a chance later in life.

New beginnings can be scary, especially later in life, but they are also exciting. This is one of the things I’ve always admired and loved about America: you can always reinvent yourself at any age, and you can be successful. You are not stuck with the one thing you studied in school, with the path that your degree dictates, or, with the path that your circumstances dictated in the past. It’s OK to try different approaches until you find your version of happiness and fulfillment.

It’s your life. Live it your way!

Oana

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Sara Mitchell and Kris Hazard - Dancing with the Knoxville Stars

Kris Hazard: Ballroom Dance Instructor

As a dancer and teacher myself, I can identify closely with both the instructors and the dancing community who have been deprived of the joys of dancing due to COVID-19. Ballroom dancing has a lot of variety, which keeps things interesting and pleases a variety of style preferences: from elegant and smooth to rhythmic and dynamic. It’s the best workout, in my opinion, because it makes use of many muscles, large and small (some you didn’t even know you had!—think soles of your feet and toes) while also incorporating a social aspect that makes it more of a fun experience than a gym workout. Beyond the positive physical results, ballroom dancing is a huge mental wellness element: the movement releases endorphins, and studies showed the positive impact on memory, but the true difference maker is the social interaction, the community built around it. That is definitely something that the pandemic disrupted and we all sorely missed. When lessons and parties ceased abruptly, we all suffered. Dance studios and instructors had to find alternate ways to support themselves and find creative ways to continue teaching.

As a part of the blog series on “Happiness Purveyors,” I talked with one of my teacher friends, Kris Hazard who is a dance instructor in Knoxville, Tennessee to get his perspective on things.

Oana

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Happiness Purveyors

The past few years brought a special set of challenges that most of us never anticipated. Even for those who had stability before, the circumstances shook a few pillars, but for those courageous souls who chose to carve their own entrepreneurial paths to personal success, the pandemic has been especially challenging. The travel, performing arts, beauty, fitness, and restaurant industries suffered perhaps more than others—and we suffered with them, stripped of the comfort and joy they all provide. I think we all experienced enough deprivation to understand just how important travel, good food, health care, and the arts are for our happiness.

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