The World is Isabelle’s Oyster: After Trying Many Careers, She Found Her Calling in Massage Therapy
On her birthday last year, Isabelle Simmons was a student for a day at CCMH. Once she was there, she knew she had found something special, but it was not a direct path to CCMH and Massage Therapy. Isabelle has had many careers in her life. While in University, she thought she was going to be a nurse, since she always loved helping people. Instead, she started working in the dental field and then in the insurance industry. She spent many years in these fields, but knew in her heart that it was not for her. “You have to take risks.” said Isabelle “Is it scary? Absolutely! But so is staying home and saying ‘I should’ve.’”
Isabelle knew she still wanted to have a career related to healing. She thought of revisiting her old idea of becoming a nurse, but the long shifts were not practical for her. Then she thought about being a personal support worker, but it was not the right fit. One day, while Isabelle was volunteering at a hospice, another volunteer told her she had just graduated as a RMT. She learned that as a RMT you have the flexibility to choose your own hours. “Suddenly, I knew exactly what I wanted,” said Isabelle. “The school was down the road. I went to CCMH and met Lynn.” That is how Isabelle found herself at CCMH as a student for a day, where she says “I watched a teacher lower the blood pressure of the whole room by watching her massage. I went home to my husband, and said ‘I know what I’m going to do when I grow up.’”
“I’m so glad I went back to school.” said Isabelle. “During that year and a half when I felt lost, I had this amazing female mentor who reminded me that she went back to school at 55 to become a lawyer. She’s 74 now and she said, ‘What’s holding you back?’ [So] I hope that when someone reads this, they’ll realize, ‘I can do this too.’ People do second careers or third careers or fourth at a later point in life. This is a wonderful opportunity.”
With graduation in September and registration exams later in the fall, Isabelle is excited to start her new career. She dreams of working 4 days a week and is interested in different places, including a more traditional clinic, a seniors’ centre, and working from home. “It’s a great feeling. I’m going to help people.” said Isabelle. She can envision it all the more clearly from her practical experience at school. “I’ve actually been able to increase a range of motion for a client, and that was an AHA! Moment for me.” In the meantime, Isabelle is enjoying studying with her classmates and admits that it is a lot of work. But she says, “You just have to keep at it.” And with that wonderful new career ahead, it is not hard to keep her eye on the prize.