As most of us know, it's not always easy to make big change in your life when you are not in your 20s or 30s.
But four years ago, Karen Mines, now 55, was a mother of five, living in Queensland and enduring back-breaking work as a cleaner; now she is a massage therapist living in Robertson.
All that stands between those two worlds was a few years, hard work, and a lot of courage.
"I'd been a cleaner the best part of my life," Karen said.
"I'd been cleaning at a resort in Queensland for 10 years, and I worked every day of the week, plus looking after my kids and driving them around.
"My youngest was two days old when she first came to work with me.
"I was paid fairly and had cheap rent there, but I was physically exhausted.
"It broke me - everything I now treat on the table, I had all of it."
Karen ended up "sucking it up" and asking her mother if she and her youngest children could move into her home in Robertson, which had been thoughtfully designed as two residences.
"It was 2017 when we moved, and I had to go on Centrelink," she said.
"I couldn't find a job, I had no qualifications and I felt old."
But she did have a good idea about the kind of work she really wanted.
"I'm a giver," she said. "I wanted to make people feel better."
She discovered a course at Shellharbour TAFE that would give her a physiotherapy assistant certificate IV, and drove all the way down there on the first day.
"I was so frightened and nervous," Karen recalls.
"When I got there, they told me it had been cancelled due to lack of enrollment."
But Karen didn't want to leave the building because she knew she'd never pluck up the courage to come back.
"I asked what they had in the same field, and they said a certificate IV in massage therapy, and I said, 'Done!'" she said.
Karen loved massage therapy so much that she kept going for another year and got her Diploma in Remedial Massage.
Two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic began last year, she started her business - That Massage Lady - only to face the inevitable restrictions.
But slowly, despite COVID-19, she is gaining clients.
"I feel honoured and privileged that people are coming to me," Karen said.
"I love it - if I didn't need to pay my bills, I'd do it for free."
Her advice for anyone who feels stuck in a rut to consider what would make them happy.
"Take time to consider what would make you smile when you get up in the morning, then jump in and do it," she said.
"Be like a turtle - go slow, but keep at it.
"If you get to a point where you can change things, do it."
We want more Highland Faces
- Do you have a life story to share? We'd love to hear it: