After collapsing at work through stress, losing his job and facing down a global pandemic - life looked pretty bleak for South African Adrian Wells.
Since then, Mr Wells has been given a new outlook on life with a career change that has afforded him a new sense of freedom.
Since moving to Dubai's Remraam community, the 45-year-old re-connected with a passion for tennis and is now building a burgeoning new sideline in coaching children and beginners.
Combined with his passion for art, he now has two sources of income and a new outlook on life.
Mr Wells hopes his story can inspire others who may have lost jobs during the pandemic.
“My wife and I were in the corporate world and both earning well,” he said.
“I was working for a real estate company and ended up having a grand mal epileptic seizure during a stressful discussion with my boss.
“I spoke to my wife and she was happy to pick up the slack while I was out of work but then she lost her job in the hospitality industry too.
“It forced us to make some serious decisions about where we were both headed in life.”
Rather than sit around waiting for the phone to ring, Mr Wells took a more proactive approach and registered as a tennis coach offering lessons to friends and neighbours.
The tennis has since expanded to enrol up to 15 people in regular coaching.
Pencil sketching has also been a long-held passion. After posting examples of his work on Instagram, it generated interest from people seeking commissions of drawings of their loved ones.
Now he sells his artwork for up to Dh3,500, providing a tidy income boost for the household and will soon begin offering drawing lessons in his community.
Meanwhile, his wife Magdalena, from Poland, has also retrained as a life coach since losing her job in the hospitality sector.
Mrs Wells has signed up to deliver Zoom coaching in the US, capitalising on the need for personal presentation in the new era of home working.
The biggest gain has been the stress-free lifestyle both now enjoy, without the constraints of a corporate job.
“As long as we can survive and pay the bills it is so much better to do something that you love,” said Mr Wells, an engineer by trade who has worked in facilities management for most of his career.
“My health has improved as my stress levels have drastically reduced.
“Our skills mean we can work from anywhere so we have the freedom to travel.
“We are earning about a quarter of what we did in the corporate world, but it is enough to sustain us.
“Life is not all about the money and none of this would have happened without the pandemic.”