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Turning 40 and the Curse of ‘Should’
Episode 33rd May 2022 • Forty Drinks: The Podcast About Turning 40 • Stephanie McLaughlin
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Turning 40 and the Curse of ‘Should’

The last time Jaime Lang remembers being blissfully happy was when she was 27. Things just felt simpler and easier back then. By the time she was in her mid-30s she felt like she had gotten lost. She was overwhelmed by all the "shoulds” she felt she wasn't meeting. So she "accidentally" moved to Florida! By the time she was 40, she felt smarter, and like things rolled off her shoulders more easily. Now, at 45, even though she hasn't achieved everything she wants (who has?), she feels happier and more grounded than she did in her 30s.

Guest bio

Jaime Lang was born in Maine, moved to New Hampshire for college and lived there for 20 years. She spent a year living just outside of Boston before trading in her snowshoes for flip-flops. What started as a visit to her parents' Snowbird house turned into a decision to relocate, get a new job and begin a new chapter. In Florida she shifted careers, from higher education to recruiting, became a certified advanced scuba diver, took a stab at running - and failed! - and developed lifelong friends in the process. Florida was great for this wannabe Jimmy Buffet style beach bum but it’s really hot there and something was missing. After some pandemic introspection, she realized she missed the seasons but not the harsh winter, and she was ready for a new chapter and fresh canvas. She took a leap of faith, pivoted again, and relocated to Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s been there a little over a year and spends her free time hiking, visiting local craft breweries and vineyards, and exploring with new friends.

When Were You Last Happy? (2:25)

At midlife, we start asking ourselves lots of questions about purpose and having other deep thoughts. Someone asked Jaime when she was last blissfully happy. Between ages 27 and 33,she felt like she could conquer the world. 

Looking at pictures from old adventures and holidays and parties and celebrations, she realized that we were big fish in a small pond, making things happen. She remembers feeling unstoppable and that there was a lot of laughter in her world. 

Working at a local college allowed her to become invested in the community, network and be deeply involved. But things started to change. Our friends started getting engaged and became less available for shenanigans. The college she worked at for more than a decade closed and, looking back, she realized a lot of her identity was wrapped up in that job. 

Without a college degree of her own, she felt shame and like her options were limited. Until then she had been focused on achieving professional success. But now she felt like she was left with nothing: no career, no partner, no family of her own - and forty was rushing at her. She felt like she had lots of boxes left to check. 

“The One Who Never Should Have Been” (6:27)

As she worked on her next move, and interviewed for new jobs, Jaime met someone. He was “the one who never should have been, but who we all need for growth purposes.” She quickly moved in with him. [checked a box] He lived in Boston and she always wanted to live there. [check another box] But it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t a good fit, which left her stuck with no job and nowhere to live. 

She went to visit her parents, who snowbird in Florida, during a winter where Boston got 5 blizzards in 8 days. As a self-proclaimed “beach girl” she wondered why she was shortly headed back to Boston. So she applied for a job on a lark. It was a job title she had always wanted and would be great for her career.. She applied and interviewed and was hired on the spot. She drove back to her parents’ house in shock and told them, “I think I just moved to Florida.” 

For the first three years, she felt like she was just visiting. It took that much time for her to feel like a Floridian. 

Looking back at that time, she says, “someone pulled the confidence rug out from under me and I couldn’t find it anywhere.” It felt like her world was crumbling a bit. Her job was gone. Some good friends had moved away. Her friend group was drifting apart. She was feeling a “love gap,” which was compounded by the fact that she didn’t have a partner of her own to move on to. 

“Shoulding” All Over (9:48)

A woman she works with said to her recently, “You really need to stop ‘shoulding’ all over yourself.” 

Women “should” on themselves: I “should” be here. I “should” have achieved this. I “should” have a husband. I “should” have kids. I “should” have the house. The white picket fence. The big 401K. I “should” be volunteering. 

We spend so much time “shoulding” that we forget to just “be.”

Jaime forgot who she was. She forgot how to “be.” She was so focused on what she didn’t have that she started chasing things without any thought to what she really wanted. 

Once she realized what she was doing, it took her a while to find her footing again. A move to North Carolina has helped her find her center again. 

She feels like she’s finally found her footing, her confidence again, but it took a long time. 

She finally realized she doesn’t need a person or a relationship to be whole. She would love to have a person to go through life’s journey with but she realized she’s pretty independent. She knows what she likes. She’s got good boundaries. And she’s surrounded by fabulous people. She’s not alone. And she can do whatever she wants when she wants. 

In 2020, though, she was let go from another company and job that she loved, thanks to Covid. This led to more reflection, and a realization that it’s 104 degrees in Florida for a good part of the year. She decided she didn’t want to shovel, so coming back to New England wasn’t the right thing for her. But surviving summer temperatures in Florida wasn’t right, either. So she became a “half back” and moved to North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s got four seasons, but none of them are as extreme as the places she lived previously. 

Here We Go Again (14:25)

Jaime’s time in Florida ended much the same way her time in NH did, with the loss of a job she loved and the dissipation of a group of friends. But this time, she seemed to recover and find her footing much quicker. 

Our mutual friend Tiffany Fifer gave Jaime a book many years ago called How Full is Your Bucket (affiliate link), which Jaime treasures. The book suggests that we all have a “bucket” of energy. We can spend our energy with other people and, ideally, they will spend their energy on us in a way that “fills our bucket.” The goal is to manage how we spend our energy and get good energy in return from the people in our lives. When we give too much we end up running on empty. A re-read of the book around this time reminded her that she has to focus on herself, that she’s responsible for her own happiness and fulfillment. 

And despite that knowledge, she still wasn’t sure she was doing the right thing, so she “quietly crept out of Florida,” without saying goodbye to many of her friends - a move she regrets upon reflection. 

Things Jaime does to keep her bucket full: 

  • Maintaining connection with family and friends
  • Keeping up with what makes her happy - cooking, getting into nature
  • Creating experiences and trying new things

Turning Forty (19:05) 

Jaime turned forty while she was living in Florida. She was miserable. 

She felt like she hadn’t achieved what she wanted to. Her “to do” list was still very long. She hadn’t yet found the job she loved in Florida. She was feeling like a tiny minnow in a much bigger pond. She wasn’t finding her network; she was having a hard time getting to where she wanted to be. She was feeling frustrated. Another relationship fell apart.  

As she stared down the barrel of turning forty, she was missing her lifelong friends from New England. She wondered, “aren’t we supposed to be doing this together?” It stung for her to be away from the people she had deeper relationships with for the milestone birthday. 

After turning forty, though, she felt smarter and like things rolled off her shoulders more, but she still sweats the small stuff sometimes. 

She doesn’t know whether a relationship is in the cards, but is still hopeful. She’s become so independent that she wonders what it would be like to exist with someone in the same living space. Realizing that it’s not a cliché to “marry your best friend” Jaime is on the lookout for her “best pal.”

First Adulthood/Second Adulthood (25:57)

The decade between 35 and 45 can be a doozy. In First Adulthood, we make choices for external reasons, or based on the suggestion of some external authority. We follow a lot of “shoulds” as dictated by these people who act as authorities on our lives. 

But then we come to the time when we become “unpotted.” When we re-pot ourselves, we choose the things that are meaningful to us and the things we choose to include. This is a time of great change in many people’s lives: divorces, marriages, career changes, a feeling of time “running out” for some things. 

Jaime experienced a number of transitions between 35 and 45. 

At the end of her time In New Hampshire, she felt like she wasn’t finding success. She felt alone and like everyone else was passing her by. So the move to Florida was something she did to “find herself” and unwind. After reestablishing herself in Florida, it felt even harder to move than it had leaving New Hampshire. She didn’t know if she was making the right decision. 

“There was a hole I could not fill with all the brunches and boating and beaching.” What she was doing was fun, but it wasn’t deeply satisfying. So, she celebrated another birthday and some friends helped her pack up and get out of town.  

True to style for Jaime, though, she’s made some great friends in North Carolina; she’s having fun and going to events and festivals and has found a job that suits her. She’s feeling settled. 

Goldilocks-ing Her Way (32:50)

New England was too cold; Florida was too hot. North Carolina feels “just right,” even though it’s the farthest she’s lived from the ocean. 

She loved hiking in New England and has re-found that love in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So now she goes chasing waterfalls and hiking mountains to try to keep her mid-forty year old body in shape.  

I gave Jaime some homework that was given to me many years ago by Bill Burns, a psychic that I got to know well over many years. It starts with an odd question (mine, not Bill’s): how many voices do you have in your head? 

Jaime and I both have two voices in our heads - a nice one and a mean one, and the mean voice is much louder than the nice one. This homework helped me get the mean voice in my head under control. 

Before bed each night, grab a journal and reflect on your day. Write down all the things that “pleased you” that day. It doesn’t have to be things that went right or places you succeeded or achieved anything - just things that pleased you, no matter how big or small. Once you have your list, you flip the page and write down, one by one, the things that pleased you, what talents, skills, qualities or abilities you brought to the table that made that thing go well. What about ME made that thing go well. 

Doing that exercise most nights of the week religiously for a year and a half changed my life. The mean girl in my head shrunk down to a reasonable size and the nice girl had room to grow. They became more balanced. 

I left Jaime with the homework and asked her, if she decided to do the homework, that she come back and tell me what she thought and what changes she saw in her life.

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Transcripts

00:00

Hi, and welcome to the Forty Drinks Podcast. I'm your host, Stephanie McLaughlin. Today I'm talking to my friend Jaime Lang, who talks about the last time she was blissfully happy and how she got lost in her 30s. You'll hear about how Jaime accidentally moved to Florida and how she learned to stop shooting all over herself. But more on that later.

00:34

Hi, Jaime. Thanks for joining me. Hi, how are you? I'm doing great. How are you? I'm doing very well. Good. Welcome to the Forty Drinks Podcast. For everybody listening, I want to talk a little bit about Jaime.

00:49

ke right away. I think it was:

01:19

I thought, one, we could talk a little bit about how we've known each other and how we've both kind of evolved through the years. But also, I know that you have done a lot on the years before and after your 40th birthday. And so, I want to talk to you a little bit about how your life has changed and sort of your personal evolution into the dreaded midlife years.

01:45

So we were just talking before we started and saying that you lived here in Manchester, New Hampshire, for 20 years, and we were great friends for a very long time. You used to have sleepovers at my house all the time. Jaime would show up on a Friday night to go out after work, except she'd show up with a backpack. Inevitably, it was going to roll into Sunday. She'd leave some time on Sunday afternoon so she could do laundry before going back to work on Monday.

02:17

You were just telling me about looking at pictures in your late 20s and your early 30s. Tell me about your thoughts on those years. You know, the thing that really stands out to me when I think about my life, and we had this wonderful midlife age where we start asking ourselves lots of questions about purpose and things like that. And someone said to me, When's the last time you remember just being blissfully happy? No anxiety, just on top of the world?

02:46

And I said it was like 27 to 32. 33 is when I thought I could conquer the world and just take on things without hesitation. So, when I was looking at these pictures, I was looking at us from all the wine exposed that we rented and the nights in Boston or the rugby Proms or the treasured St. Patrick's Day's with your family and all of our friends and just the holidays and just our crew.

03:16

We had a hell of a crew that we hung out with and had the most fun shenanigans with. And we were just confident. We were big fish in a small pond. We were making things happen in New Hampshire. We were paving path. And I just remember I don't know, there's something about back then. I remember feeling like looking at some of the pictures and thinking, so that was the outfit I chose. But we just kind of threw on clothes and we thought we were fantastic every day. We were we just woke up and got dressed and got to it and laughed.

03:46

And so it was a lot of those so many pictures of just happiness and memories of that time. Yeah. And then you actually moved out of New Hampshire a bunch of years ago. And so tell me about the time between that sort of like mid 30s and your late 30s. You said those were not as awesome years. So tell me sort of what changed between the years when we were ruling the world and the years when I think you say you got lost.

04:18

I did. I think I was at the College, and that really afforded me the opportunity in that role to just be everywhere and be a brand and network. I think it was right around that pivotal time when people were starting to take other jobs and move away, get engaged, marriage, families, coupling, a separation of our giant, crazy group, because as we showed growing up.

04:46

een there. I started there in:

05:18

But you say you don't know until you know. I didn't know that that was like my identity. And so when I left there, I thought, I have absolutely no idea what I want to do, which is strange for me given the amount of connections I had with our group, our very successful group, and how deep your network was in Manchester. It was deep, but for some reason and I didn't have my degree. And instead of feeling like I have a million opportunities, that's when shame came about.

05:51

I've listened to a lot of Renee's work, and that's probably made me able to reflect back and say, wow, I did all the things. And it was at that point where during that time, I didn't think about marriage or kids. I thought about being very successful and having just a fabulous life with my friends and then something hit me, and I was like, I don't have a career. I don't have a partner. I'm nowhere near having kids.

06:19

And then it was like I looked ahead and I was like, 40 is rushing at my face right now. And I'm supposed to check the boxes. I had a severance, but I was just spending some time kind of figuring it out, doing some interviewing. And then I met somebody who was like the one that should have never been, but we all need him for growth purposes. Yes. And so I just went and moved in with him. He was in Boston. I wanted to check that box. I always wanted to live in Boston.

06:49

And then I got smarter, and I remember it was the wintertime, and New England had five blizzards in eight days. I think it was when the cover, The Boston Globe had that doctor that was cross country skiing to the hospital because Boston was legitimately shut down. You couldn't move. And my parents Snowbird in Florida, my mom and my stepdad. So I went down there for just a little visit. I put stuff in storage, and I just packed a bag of shorts.

07:19

And that's when I said, oh, gosh, I'm such a beach girl. Here I am fishing and laying on the beach, and you guys are annihilating your joints and back shoveling more snow than I've ever seen in my life. And I think I'm good down here. So I applied for a job more so because I thought, wouldn't it be funny if I got it? And it was a director role, and that's the ones I had not achieved through director status. So I applied, I interviewed, and they hired me on the spot.

07:49

And I drove back in shock to my parents' house and said, I think I just moved to Florida. I have to get my clothes, like more than a beach cover up. I got to fly home now. It literally went like that. I think for the first three years, I thought I was just visiting an assignment. It hadn't dawned on me it took three years to feel like a Floridian. Wow. Yeah. I remember that time because I think there was, like two weeks where you actually lived with me.

08:21

It was either before you went to see your parents or when you got home or something. It was definitely like a crazy time. I feel like you were sort of in a mode of I don't know if it was panic or if it was just moving for the sake of moving, but you definitely were not your sort of calm self. I wouldn't do myself at all. I forgot about that. I did come stay with you because I was like, I can make it work, right? I just have to talk to Stephanie.

08:52

I can make it work. I can go back to New Hampshire. And of course, you were like, are you forgetting? But I think. Are you forgetting what? Tell me what brilliant advice I gave you. You started naming off my skills and all the things I did with Mi P. And then the Chamber, Because I was with the Chamber as an ambassador for five years. I shared that for two and a half years, and I went through leadership, and you were kind of, like, reading my professional history off to me and then reminding me of my entire network of friends.

09:24

It's almost like, unbeknownst to me. Someone pulled the confidence right out from underneath. I couldn't find it. I think it was as the things that I love so much, Where at the time, I probably saw it not taken away, but the job was removed. Good friends are moving away. Our group was drifting apart. I was feeling like that love gap. And then I was turning to, oh, and I don't have a partner now to move on to either.

09:50

And the thing that I've learned looking back, and one of probably the most brilliant thing somebody said to me, and it was a woman who used to work for me When I was talking to her last year, and she said, you really need to stop shutting all over yourself. She goes, you're shutting. We do that, especially women. We should on ourselves. I should be here. I should have this. I should have a husband. I should have kids. I should have the house, the white picket fence, the big 401K, a nice, big, robust car.

10:20

I should be volunteering, and we spend so much time shutting that we forget to just be. And I forgot to forgot who I was, and I forgot how to be Because I was so focused on what I didn't have in my mind that I started chasing it like a squirrel running around the yard. I think at that time is all I can think of. And it took me took me a little bit to kind of get back to steady, which is part of the purpose of coming in North Carolina, is okay.

10:53

You got to be Center Because no one's paying your bills but you. No one's dealing with your body changing but you and all these things that we deal with now. So tell me, you said something about when all those things were sort of shedding from your life, the job and the friends. And I've had the same sort of experiences, too, Where it just feels like the life you love Is sort of evaporating before your very eyes. You said somebody pulled the rug of confidence out from under you. Have you found it again? I have.

11:22

Every once in a while, I get hung up, but it took me a while. When I was in Florida, I was finding my way. It took me I lived a little bit around Florida trying to find my way. And then I got to St. Pete, which was really my ultimate goal. And I found, like, my current humongous group of friends. I joined a running club despite the fact that I hate running and I'm also not good at it. But I was good at drinking beer, and all of them started from a brewery.

11:49

I learned how to run, and I had this amazing group of friends that I had met just coming out of a different, very serious relationship. And I was like, and I got back to that center where I was thinking, I actually don't have to have a person. I mean, I would love a person to go through, like, Strenuous, but I'm actually pretty independent. I know what I like. I have boundaries, and I am surrounded by, like, even in the years, yourself included, I am surrounded by fabulous people.

12:22

I'm not alone. I actually stubbornly can do what I want, what I want. So in Florida, I had that great group, and I was working at Nielsen at the time, and I loved my job. Loved my job. What were you doing? Recruiting. And I just love everything Neilson does. It was innovative. I got involved on a leadership team for diversity and inclusion with all the ERGs. And of course, that stuff is right up my alley, planning fun events and employee engagement.

12:51

The Kobe hit, and 600 of us were let go last year. So there I was again, being removed from something that I finally arrived and loved and coveted just did things for all of us. I went home to Maine, and when I came back, I just started really reevaluating again. I kept feeling like, okay, something's missing, and it's 104 degrees down here, so I'm a half back now. I miss everybody up north, but I don't want to shovel or wear layers.

13:22

So I'm in North Carolina, in the heart of Blue Ridge Mountains, where there's a lot of energy and a lot of energy healers in this area. It's very metaphysical, very grounded, and it's the four seasons that we New Englanders love so much, but it snows and it's pretty, and then it's gone, and I'm rooting here. So here I am, and I'm just super focused on what do I want to do before the end of the dash, so to speak.

13:55

And do you have any answers? Do you know what you want to do? No. Aside from having a crate of stamps, passport, that is really the only absolute must is can I get my travel on? So that means that I'm now focused.

14:11

When I think of careers, I am focused on like, yes, I want to be happy, but also Where's the money to set myself up to just be that person that just can speak to 35 different countries before I strikes me, though, that you had a similar experience in Florida the end of your Florida time, as you did at the end of your New Hampshire time, meaning the job went away, and I don't know what was going on with the friends group there.

14:43

But it sounds like your recovery from that was much faster this time around than it was the first time. Would you agree? I would. There are so many people down there in Florida that I absolutely adore. But when you start to realize the things like, okay, well, who's really there? Who can I call on a pinch? Who can I be my most authentic, weird, imperfect self in front of with no judgment and all of those things where you just think, well, I just think a lot of energy.

15:16

And I think of the bucket. I'll never forget going back to our good friend Tiffany Piper a long time ago when this is starting. She gave me a book called How Full Is Your Bucket. And I treasure that book and I've read it many times. And so I've kind of circled back to it again and I'm like the bucket. Is it flowing in and out? My point is I think it was easier, but sadly, I think with what's going on in the world, I think we cut quick.

15:46

I hate to use that term, but it kind of makes you realize you have to do what makes you happy. I can't live for well, I should just be around this big group of friends. It should be I need to go where I need to go. And anybody that wants to be part of my life, it's going to be part of my life regardless of where my residence is. I really like clipped and left. I didn't actually and I just very much regret, but I didn't really say goodbye, except maybe three people. I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing, so I quietly crept out of Florida.

16:19

It's very weird. But again, that's where my head was at the time, because again, it was December. I was turning another year trying to get to where I think I want to be. Yeah. So tell me about your bucket. What's in your bucket? Give me the two-sentence premise of How Full is Your Bucket. It's not a book I've read, so I'm not familiar with the premise.

16:44

Well, so the concept of it is that we all have a bucket of energy and it's not always full. It's all about your energy. We hear a lot about self-care now, and that's what it's really all about. You can give you can spill your bucket into other people's pockets as they need support, your friends. Right. But when they can, are they refilling? So it should be a flow and not you just constantly pouring and losing everything out of your bucket.

17:13

So that's the whole point of How Full is Your Bucket is. Are you depleting yourself so much either giving to others or thinking about things that aren't serving you that you are essentially running on empty? And how do you feel like you're doing now? How's your bucket now? I think my bucket is like 75% gold, which is really good. That's very good. Yeah, I think that's really great. No sloshing.

17:42

What are the things that you do just in your life, regardless of where you live? What are the things that you do that fill your bucket, that give you good energy, that make you feel good and make you feel fulfilled? Definitely maintaining my connection with my family and my friends, that's a number one to me, especially as our family, our elders get older.

18:08

It's really valuing that time and making sure that you're there. You value those relationships. And then for me, it's keeping up with what makes me happy. So continuing to learn how to make food, like Asian food is my thing right now. I want to learn how to make great Thai food and getting out in nature. So even though I might not be flying internationally, the biggest thing for me is we don't know how long we have.

18:39

So how much can I experience and create memories that when I'm older and I can't move very well, hopefully I still have my Wits about me and I can reflect and look at pictures of this great life that I've had. That is what keeps me running is experiences that's probably in a nutshell, is creating experiences and trying new things. Learning. That's great. So you were amidst your Florida years when you turned 40.

19:10

Do you remember how you felt about 40? It sounds like Florida was a median place for you. Right? You were in New Hampshire for 20 years, and then you were in Florida for what, like four or five years. Oh, my goodness. Wow. So it's not really just a median place. So you were in Florida when you turned 40. Do you remember how you felt about 40? Yeah, I was miserable. Oh, no. Why?

19:42

It's funny because obviously I think what we're hearing a lot of is that when I make changes, it's after a relationship when things really kick me in the butt, which I take them. Now I'm at an age where I'm like, that was a great learning experience. What can I take from that? Where can I grow? I was still looking at the I haven't done all of the things, and I hadn't achieved that job. I wasn't at Nielsen yet. I was also, like, in New Hampshire again at that point.

20:08

Now I knew I had this great network, but in Tampa Bay, like, you're a Mino. And I wasn't just easily finding the networks. I wasn't getting to where I wanted to be to recruit this great company. So there was a little bit of frustration there. And I was dating somebody and was no longer. But out of that, I had become a scuba diver, which was a dream I had for a long time. And I found a scuba group, this group of friends, and they were really cool. They took me to dinner.

20:39

So I remember my actual 40th, but I was looking back at my 30th, which was crazy in Vegas. I just had this vision of when I turned 40, it's like EW 40, but that's okay because I have this massive group of friends I've been with my whole life around me, and we're doing it together. And I suddenly missed all of you guys. I appreciated those friends that I had. I appreciated them more than anything because they needed to be in my life, and they were great. But it was like I suddenly was like, where is my plan?

21:09

Aren't we supposed to do this together? Like, we did my 30th. That stung for me to be away from everybody that I wanted to hit that next milestone with. But I had these friends and they took me and my friend Casey, her family is a good friend of the family, and we became very close around that time. And she flew of Puerto Rico with me. So I had a friend that let me use his timeshare in Puerto Rico. And so I went there just for like a three day weekend.

21:39

And when we arrived, there was I think it was called the Sunset. It's like an EDM festival that goes around the entire world and happened to be at our report. That was fun. Drinking age is 18. So here I am, 40, and I feel like I'm a chaperone, but I got my face painted and I was like, I am going all in. I'm still 30 in my head, so I'm going to wear the headdress and I'm going to dance around.

22:08

And then as soon as I got past 40, I was like, oh, I feel a little bit smarter now. I feel like things are going to rolling off my shoulders a lot more now. Okay, we can do this slowly. That's good. Yeah. Where do you still feel sort of stuck or like you're unfulfilled or you still feel like, oh, I know that I'm not finished growing there because there's definitely a soft spot there.

22:38

It would be in my ability still probably to sweat the small stuff again, going back to what we're talking about that time when we weren't perfect, we had bad days. But again, that time when we're all together, it just seemed like whatever. And somehow on the one hand, there are certain things that roll off, but at the same time, I find myself a lot more agitated right now. And so I'm like, God, I'm too young to get crotchety.

23:09

Then I feel it's like a less carefree. So those things like I'm practicing, that is really just when someone cuts you off in a car and all those things like that, I think there's room for me to pause and breathe more. And then I don't know about the relationship thing, but maybe I think I've become so independent that I'm like, what would I be like in a serious, like in a marriage?

23:38

Right now, given the fact that I'm fine without anybody and I know I'd be a great partner because I think on the other side of that point, really, is that you realize that it's not cliche the same area or best friend that you really if you're going to have somebody coming up into your house that is your own established house or theirs or whatever, then it's going to be somebody that you really want to be with every day, all day. And you can probably speak to that with that short term, it's not cake and it's not fairytale.

24:08

So for me, I'm like, nothing cliche. I'm really looking for, like, my best pal. Yeah. And just as a reminder, I didn't meet Patrick until I was 40. I know. So there is no neither of us were ever married before. We both had serious relationships. I had some real stinkers, some of which you were around for. I actually took some pictures away of one particular stand up stinker. Which one, the red head or the dark hair?

24:38

The red. I can't keep flying with pictures that mean nothing. Then I took a picture of, like, when he was in it for St. Patrick's Day. I was like, let me screenshot that. Now I know there's a stigma. Right. You're 44 years old and you haven't been married yet. Well, I've certainly gone through breakups that aren't just the same. I just haven't been hit financially per se or legally. Right. That legal part of it.

25:05

But I do think of you often when I think because it's like there's a little Stephanie on my ear saying, I was in my 40s, I was 40. But when by the time you got married, you were in your 40s, I was 44 when I got married. We'll get right back to my conversation with Jaime, but I wanted to pause for a moment to say, if you're enjoying this conversation, please join me on social media. The 40 Drinks podcast is on Instagram and Facebook as 40 Drinks F-O-R-T-Y drinks all one word.

25:38

Head over there and tell me what you think about today's conversation and how you relate to what Jaime is talking about. Ok, back to Jaime, who realizes she has a hole in her middle that brunching just won't fill. And despite TLC telling us not to go chasing waterfalls in the mid-nineties, Jaime is quite happy doing just that and climbing mountains these days. I love your colleague from last year who said you're shutting all over yourself.

26:06

I think should is a four-letter word, and I think it causes so much pain and so much suffering and especially when we're measuring ourselves against other people. But let me just sort of talk to you a tiny bit about one of the things I've kind of learned. So sort of through the 40 Drinks project. And afterwards, I've done a lot of reading around sort of like adulthood and different phases and developmental stages and things like that.

26:32

And one of the things that is sort of talked about in your late 40s, like the decade between 35 and 45, can definitely be a doozy. And they call it first adulthood and second adulthood. So your first adulthood you're doing for potentially external reasons. Right. You're making choices based on some external authority, whether it's your parents or your friends or your boss or the media or whatever people are telling you is sort of the cool thing or the thing that you should do.

27:02

You sort of follow those tracks, and then you get to a point where you become I like to think of it as like, let's say you're like a house plant, like a big tall house plant, and you get knocked over and there's dirt all over the floor. Well, when you put yourself back together, when you repot yourself, you're only going to put back in the pot those things that you choose for yourself that you find fulfilling, that are meaningful to you, that you want for your life in this age, you see a lot of people making pretty significant transitions in their life, right.

27:35

You see divorces, you see career changes, you see marriages. You see people who don't have kids. The time is running out. So they have kids. Right. So there's a lot of sort of volatility in these couple of years. And one of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you was because I've watched from the cheap seats from way up in the balcony that you have made some pretty significant changes through your late 30s, 30 or mid 40s.

28:02

And so I was very curious to hear whether there was any sort of personal evolutions that were happening when you left New Hampshire and went to Florida. Like you say, you went to visit your parents for a couple of weeks and then found yourself a job. I think you were sort of doing that at a kind of panic. But then as you moved forward, you moved a couple of times when you were in Florida and now you're in North Carolina. So I just wanted to talk to you about some of these changes and how you process them and if you're processing them differently now.

28:33

st winter over in December of:

29:02

So I went down there to probably in my mind, find myself and just chill. And part of me wanted to live like a Jimmy Buffett song or whatever. I just went down there and I was like, I'll just start over. It won't hurt the Sunshine when I found my way around there. And when I moved and I had reestablished myself like we talked about earlier, when I had this great group of friends, it was almost like, are you going to move away from that again? You've already done that before, and then you're sad after the fact.

29:34

I felt like I was making a decision, but I didn't know if it was the right decision. It was the hardest decision literally I've ever made in my life. It was extremely emotional. But this was also during a time when we had a very volatile presidential election and we had Cobin and we had fear of losing people we loved and we were losing people we loved. And so it was so messed up and emotional, and what should I do? But there was like a hole I could not fill with all the branches on weekends and boating and beaching and the diving I did love.

30:07

There was a whole I couldn't party. It. It was fun. But I'm like, you're in your 40s. Your waste is expanding, your bank is shrinking, and the recovery is not great. So I was like, what are you doing? And I was working a contract job too, so I was remote and I didn't have anything, and that was it. But I mean, it was really the heat. It's a great place to vacation. There's so hot now that I thought when I was in Maine just to get back up for a step, I remembered how much I liked having the windows open all the time and walking across the grass and just that New England thing that we love so much.

30:41

So when I went back down there and I was now caged into an air conditioned area, and you even feel like you're baking and even just floating in a pool, you need to roll off constantly. So I just thought, this isn't my roots. I'm not ready to go back to New England yet and have that winter, but I've got to get some place where I can step on dirt. And then I just started applying and selling darts, and one stuck. But when I finally did drive up here, it was just hard. I had my birthday with friends.

31:12

A couple of my girlfriends literally came over and helped me pack and clean my car because I was such a mess. I was all over the place. They basically put me together, packed my car, clean my apartment, patted me on the bus, and said, You've got this. You have to go. And I pulled over probably three times. I think it took me 2 hours longer than it should have because I pulled over and sobbed like ugly cried on the side of the road so much that I couldn't see. And I was like, I don't think I'm doing the right thing. I don't think I'm doing the right thing.

31:40

It was hard and it was my birthday and it was Christmas, so that means I never put a tree up and how much I love Christmas. So I essentially skipped Christmas. And then I flew to Florida, and my grandpa had a heart attack on Christmas last year. So that was even more like, what am I doing? I'm not near anybody. And processing. I have since, of course, being Jaime have made awesome friends, and I'm having fun, and I'm going to festivals and dinner parties and going to Breweries and feeling settled?

32:14

You're feeling settled? I am. I don't know if I'm going to retire here, but I had the opportunity to take a job in Michigan possibly, and I don't want to relocate back up north. And so that tells me something. This company that I've contracted for again just recently, love them. Love the team who works for them forever. But we discussed with that boss. Hey, don't you want to come up here and be with us?

32:43

And I said, I do if you'll find me occasionally, but I'm not done in Nashville. I'm working on something. This is an important part of my chapter. It strikes me that you're Goldilocks in your way, meaning you're in New England, and it was too cold, and then you were in Florida and it was too hot, and now you're halfway in between. And it sounds a little bit like it's just right. I think so. It's the first time in my entire life I've lived more than an hour from an ocean.

33:15

So that is challenging because it's five and a half hours away. But my father and my stepmother did just buy their Snowbird house in Surfside, which is just south of Myrtle Beach. So it's that area, but less cheesy. It's a little bit longer to get there, but this state does touch an ocean. But the mountains around here, when I was up North, I remember we'd hiked the Appalachian Trail, and I used to hike my dog neck started when I was in College.

33:45

That was something I used to love. So that's like where I'm at right now. Let me get out and chase waterfalls and hike mountains and try to keep this for your own body in shape. Sounds like you're doing a great job at it. Yeah, I think I am. I've even become comfortable with the fact that and it looks like I do when I was 27. I'm not going to be a twig again, could I? Yes, but how much of my life and happiness and food would I have to compromise too much.

34:19

I'm existing now. My goal is to not be proxy and need 50 drugs and wheelchairs when I'm 80. Right. So if I can just see that, like, saucy little 93 year old that's running around saying, Dennis, good enough, I love that vision for you. I can't wait to visit you at whatever retirement community that's that you never know. Maybe that's when I come back to New England.

34:43

I just come back and we are just all in the same retirement community, knowing you and I will be like the type A personality that's organizing the bridge, right? Yeah. And it's also lessons. Yes. We'll get, like 20 something male salsa dancers to come in and teach us salsa, just basically so we can, like, pinch their bums. Exactly. Close our little golf carts because our community is going to have golf carts and we're going to drive around and they're going to be decorated.

35:14

Yeah, I love it. I can't wait. So I want to give you a little bit of homework that was given to me many years ago. It strikes me, listening to you. Well, let me ask you this question. How many voices do you have in your head? Oh, definitely two. I do, too. I have two. And if I'm just sort of like broad brushing it, I would say, that a nice one and a mean one. Do you agree? Okay.

35:42

And is the mean one much louder than the nice one? She's a noxious. Okay. This is how I got my mean girl under control. This is homework from Bill Burns. Do you remember Bill Burns? I do. Special to you, too. Yeah. He was actually one of my Forty Drinks, I think was like, he might have been number two or number three. So Bill Burns was a psychic out of Los Angeles. He died a number of years ago. So unfortunately, we are without him.

36:12

But I can tell you that he lives on in this homework that he gave me. So he said to me, at night, before you go to bed, get a Journal. And of course, he said Journal. And I was like, I don't even want to talk about this. I hate journaling. And I'm a writer, for crying out loud. But I've always hated journaling. And he was like, settle down. Just listen. So what you do is at night, you write down all the things that pleased you that day. Doesn't mean anything had to go right. Doesn't mean you had to succeed.

36:42

What pleased you that day? I was pleased with the way my hair came out today. I was pleased that I did well on this particular phone call. I was pleased that the weather was beautiful when I was walking from my car to the office. And I noticed it and I took a deep breath. Right. It could be anything. It could be like I rocked it at work today. It could be I went for a run. But it's not about achievement. It's about what made you happy. Like, what pleased you?

37:11

If you look back on your day, what are you like? Yeah, but you're looking for, like, little things. Then you flip the page, and on the other side of the page, you write down what talents, skills, qualities or abilities you brought to the table that made any of those things go well, just by saying I was pleased that the weather was beautiful when I was walking from my car to the office and I noticed, well, what about me?

37:44

Made that go well? My sense of perception. I used it. Then I took a moment and noticed that phone call went well. That was my skill at negotiating or whatever. I like how my hair came out. That was my skill with a blow dryer. It could be anything. It could be the tiniest little things. So just doing that exercise most nights of the week, I will tell you that I did it religiously for a year and a half and it changed my life.

38:17

All of a sudden, the mean girl was sort of shrunk down to a reasonable size and the nice girl grew a little bit so that now the voices in my head are more balanced. And when I feel like I get out of balance, like if there are days or weeks where I'm like, wow, I've been beating up on myself a lot these days. I just pull out my Journal and start doing it again.

38:44

And it takes a much shorter time for me to sort of like rebalance that sort of internal monologue. I present you with this homework and do whatever you wish with it. But if you decide to do it with any consistency, I want you to come back and tell us how it works. I definitely will. It's interesting that you say that because that was brought up in therapy years ago Journal. And I was like, no, but I appreciate you sharing that with me because you and I are similar in that way, that if something's not going right, we're so stubborn.

39:15

We won't even do that because we're like, I don't have anything good to say today. You know what, why did I write down what pissed me off? That's easier. I know that if you like thinking about getting more into manifesting and what that really is. So thank you. That is something I will do. And I have to realize that part of manifesting isn't that I do it for one or two nights and then all of a sudden everything's shiny. Yeah. It's a way of life. You absolutely have to practice.

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