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Angela Benjamin, 51, London

Angela Benjamin took a break from her job as a physiotherapist to travel to Tanzania - a trip that would change her life forever.

She already had doubts in her 20s, but persisted with her ‘safe’ career choice. Looking back, Angela wishes she‘d quit physiotherapy in favour of Art School… The creative soul was clearly always there – Angela made her first handbag at the ripe old age of six – but she was encouraged toward the study of physiotherapy, sacrificing her true passion “to be a maker” for practicality. Although she enjoyed her career and was successful within it, Angela felt the need to take a break, a break that would lead to a new beginning. Her office in a busy hospital became a lilac painted shed – her “She Cave” – in her own backyard, a place where she is free “to be a maker”.

Angela Benjamin’s journey from physiotherapist to artist was catalyzed by her decision to spend two months in Tanzania, working in an orphanage. Her experience there brought her home with a “now or never” attitude and the realization that she could take control, to shape her own life. So approaching 50, she took a leap of faith in herself, to pursue further education within the arts, and after making her first silver ring in a jewellery course, she “was hooked”! That decision to “stretch” herself has become a successful pursuit of her passion, creating ethically sourced and sustainably produced unique pieces.

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As Angela continues along this evolving path in life, she is excited to learn new skills to add to her repertoire, and to see how her business Angela B Designs – her passion – will grow. Angela’s Instagram followers are clearly drawn to her individualism and timeless style. In turn, she is inspired by the likes of furniture restorer and TV presenter, Jay Blades, along with fashion designer and menopause activist, Karen Arthur.

This “coming of age” made Angela realise that she no longer needed to prove her worth to anyone else but herself, freeing her to pursue her passion for art and her own personal health, with emphasis on good diet and exercise. She doesn’t see ageing as a “problem”, as often indicated in the negative context describing beauty products in advertising - using terms such as “anti-ageing”, as if it were something to be banished - when in fact it is a “privilege”. Angela believes that “older women in all their natural glory” should be seen. She revealed that turning 50, and the gradual physical changes that came with it, only made her more focussed on what she wanted from the rest of her life.

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Angela told So50 that as part of her plan for the future, she is looking forward to travelling to Japan for their history, food and style, but would also love to return to Italy to soak up Sardinia’s beaches and great food. Travel is obviously important to Angela; after all, it was the motivation to find her own new destination in life, as an artist.

If anyone can inspire you to pursue your passion, it is Angela Benjamin. From a busy physiotherapist to successful artist, her journey illustrates our ability to achieve, no matter what our age. A firm belief in yourself and motivation to change, along with the wisdom and perspective gained through age and experience, create the perfect recipe to make dreams become reality.

Follow Angela on @angebdesigns

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