You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 46: How Do You know When it is Time to Stop Simmering? … Simmering. I talk about this in episode #29. The idea is to take the time to work through your feelings, your thoughts, to discover who you are, to enjoy a time of waiting which will allow you to discover your internal GPS.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 46: How Do You know When it is Time to Stop Simmering? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:41 Hello, my future empty nest friend. How are you today? I am sending you lovely thoughts: some love, some peace and some of whatever it is that makes you happiest. Here we go. How do you know when it is time to stop simmering?
00:00:58 Simmering. I talk about this in episode #29. The idea is to take the time to work through your feelings, your thoughts, to discover who you are, to enjoy a time of waiting which will allow you to discover your internal GPS. Simmering. It is where the recipe unfolds. If you remember, I mentioned in that episode, that when one recipe is complete, you’ll find that another is just on the horizon. Actually, not a bad analogy now that I think of it. As for many mothers, one of our job duties is the role of cook or chef. I’ll be honest, I was more of a cook. I still am more of a cook, chef is not my thing. As we know, some days it feels as if we just finished the dishes from the last meal when we are beginning to prepare for the next one.
00:01:47 Sure you can order takeout, or pop in a frozen meal to make your life a bit easier and move the creation process along, but there is something about discovering a new recipe, gathering the ingredients and making it from scratch. Who are you in the process of creating the meal? Are you enjoying cutting the vegetables? Are you being fully present, as you open that spice, to where you appreciate the smell of it, the sound of the cap coming off, the color and texture? Which meal is more rewarding for you to eat? Yes, once it is done, there is clean-up. The clean-up is where things can get interesting.
00:02:26 Let’s say, you are simmering in life right now. You are considering different ways to fill your newfound time, down the road, but aren’t gaining clarity on any one of them. This is where you try one, you try a spice and see where it leads. Remove the drama from it. Will it be your long term solution? There is only one way to find out. If it doesn’t work, you don’t decide that all recipes are awful and you’ll never eat again. You try a new recipe, or the same recipe but modify the amount of spice.
00:02:57 The key is to remember that the you that is in any path that you take is what is most important. If you don’t have a handle on your thoughts, on your internal GPS, you are going to have a hard time feeling settled in any path that you choose. Those thoughts and that internal GPS goes with you in all of the recipes. Without doing the real work during your simmer, you will have a hard time feeling clarity in any recipe.
00:03:32 I know you probably want me to tell you something like this, when the temperature hits 325 degrees and the timer goes off, you are done simmering and can move on with no more work from you. Or maybe something like this, you’ll hear a ding in your head and know that you found it. Okay. All kidding aside, these would be unfair for me to share with you, as it isn’t real life. Real life has different ingredients thrown at us every day, sometimes every minute, and how we handle them is everything.
00:04:07 I’m going to challenge you to become comfortable in the simmer, and to move the analogy to that your life is like the chef in the kitchen, learning with each ingredient of life. You have incredible, amazing, limitless ingredients available to you all the time. You are peaceful with all of it. When you open your eyes enough, when you are present enough, more ingredients are seen by your eyes, allowing you to create a more delicious meal, a more delicious beef stew. You try different recipes. You modify the ingredients. From each ingredient you learn a lesson that gives you the opportunity to apply to future meals, or you can just as easily decide to leave the kitchen and no longer grow in life. But how are you going to do without any food? When you feel good about an ingredient, try it out some more.
00:04:58 Of course, always evaluate your motivating factors too. For some of us, that is financial resources. Making money to pay our bills, that is one heck of a motivating factor. If this is your top priority, if it is what motivates the inner chef, in you, at this point in time, you do what you have to do. Remember, it doesn’t mean all of your recipes for the rest of your life will have the same motivating factor, it’s simply the right recipe for this particular meal. Finding the peace in reaching for the ingredients to make your next beef stew is the true key. Change in your motivation will happen over time. Change in the ingredients will happen, but you, you, my friend are you, whether you are cleaning the house, working as the CEO of a tech company, or figuring out what is next for you in life.
00:05:48 Trust me on this. You work on you, on welcoming the simmer of life, on knowing your thought deliveries, and choosing to organize them, and then, you, my friend, you will know when you are done simmering, at least for that meal.
00:06:16 The questions I have for you in this episode are: what thoughts come to your mind as you listen to this episode? Do you have a particular simmer that you are working through right now? I invite you to fly on over to our Facebook Group to share your answers to these questions with our amazing flock. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock.
00:06:47 I know the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:05:56 Oh, my goodness, did you hear? I have an online program, “The Empty Nest: First Steps Towards Success.” I now offer GPS Reset Weekend Retreats, Unplugged and Charged Up, and I am available for speaking engagements. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Visit my website or see this episode’s full show notes.
00:07:20 As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this, and every episode, on my website. My next episode’s title is: Is This All Just Positive Thinking?
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast! it is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday.If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
I enjoy scrolling through Instagram and making new connections on that platform. One account that always makes me smile is Midlife Highway, which is run by the ever so funny, Jo Davies.
Jo has supremely fresh and funny posts and is highly engaged on the platform. She shared a few photos and Insta stories about her walk on the Camino de Santiago this year. The stories piqued my interest, and a few thoughts arrived in my head: I would like to know more about this walk, and I would like to know more about Jo. I bet some of her other followers would like to know more, too. I’m going to invite her to be a guest on my podcast.
And she said, “Yes!”
Not only that, she took the interview call while she was on holiday/vacation, and stayed up late! She’s got the amazing thing figured out!
This conversation, along with my recent camping trip, simmered together to inspire me to create my GPS Reset Weekend: Unplugged and Charged Up retreats. A shout out to Jo for being a vital part of that recipe!
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed speaking with her.
Take a listen or read the full transcript below.
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓
Want to subscribe to this podcast? Great news – it is free!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 36: Walking Through the Empty Nest Transition With Jo Davies. …. My wonderful listener, if you are on Instagram and you aren’t already following Jo Davies on her Midlife Highway account, you need to change that. Let me read to you her current Instagram bio. …
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 36: Walking Through the Empty Nest Transition With Jo Davies. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:40 Hello, my future empty nest friend. Before I get started today, I have a request. My team and I are planning on taking some time off over the holiday season, and rather than going completely silent for that time, we thought we would share listener favorite episodes, or snippets. That means that we are looking for your submissions for one of two things, something you learned from the podcast that has helped you, or you’re favorite episode. For both of these, explain what they mean to you, and tell us what episode number it is from. You may email your recorded submission with your phone audio recorder or type it out. Send your submissions to podcast AT youremptynestcoach.com. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your assistance.
00:01:52 My wonderful listener, if you are on Instagram and you aren’t already following Jo Davies on her Midlife Highway account, you need to change that. Let me read to you her current Instagram bio. Midlife Highway/Jo Davies, Great Britain, Living, learning and laughing, hoping to inspire positivity and happiness. Just being me, cake-lover, ever so slightly — slight bonkers.” I’m slightly bonkers. How can you not love her? One of my favorite periodic posts of Jo’s is titled, “Getting My Goat This Week,” where she shares real life in an amusing fashion and ends each post with, “As usual, if anything has got your goat this week, do share. It’s a great way of making everyone else laugh at your misfortune.”
00:02:41 Christine: Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, Jo.
Jo: Thank you very much. I’m delighted to be here. I think what you do is absolutely fantastic, Christine. I think more people should be doing it.
Christine: Right. We all should. We need to talk about all this stuff.
Jo: We do. We do.
Christine: I love finding more of us. Just keep talking. It’s so great, because it makes more people talk. It’s just awesome. I’m so thrilled to have you here today, Jo. You are one the Instagram accounts that continually entertains me, and I have found myself wanting to know more about your life. So, first of all, thanks for being open enough to join me today, and for sharing part of your life with us. I would love it if you would start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your family and where you currently are on the empty nest journey?
Jo: I’d be happy to. I am 50 for one more week. Next week, I will be 51.
Christine: Happy birthday!
Jo: I’m hanging on to being 50. Thank you. I have been married for 24 years, to John, who is a property developer in the Cotswolds, in Dag Gloucestershire, where I live, in the U.K. I have three children. I have a son who has just left university after four years, and I have another son who is in his second year at university, so he’s 20. My older son is 22, and my daughter is about to go to university, and she is 18. In terms of empty nesting, it was very interesting, because I was thinking about it, because my children all went to boarding school from quite a young age. So, the whole kind of empty nest thing, as your children leaving home, it doesn’t apply to me in quite the same way. For me, empty nesting is getting to that point in your life, where suddenly, your children just don’t need you in the same way.
00:04:24 Christine: Yes.
Jo: You’ll always be wanted and needed by them, but they’ve got their own lives, and suddenly it’s like, “Oh, hang on.” So, it’s not so much the physical thing of not having them at home, because they’ve never been, from a young age, as I said, since they were away at school. So, they’ve never been constantly at home. It’s more the sort of mental side of that massive role you’ve had for such a long time is suddenly diminished.
Jo: That’s really where I feel.
Christine: That’s really interesting. Now, did they go to boarding school all along, or did they start somewhere — I don’t know how that works, actually.
Jo: People might suddenly turn off, and start hating me.
Christine: No. Don’t you dare turn off.
Jo: All three of my children went to boarding school at eight years old.
00:05:12 Christine: Oh, great.
Jo: So did I, and so did my husband. My boys loved it. For them it was just like a big sleepover. They played sport all the time. I mean, I saw them every Wednesday afternoon. They came home a lot of weekends. It’s not like you send them off and you don’t see them again. My daughter was less happy, for the first year. It’s just what they did. It’s much more common here, obviously. I mean, not so much at eight now, but it’s much more common to send your children away to school in the U.K., than I think it is in the States. But they went from very young, and actually, I was a better parent for it. I’m a better parent on holidays than I would have been everyday.
00:05:58 Christine: I can understand a lot of that. It’s really interesting. I don’t know if you know, my daughter went to college four years early.
Christine: So, people can’t relate to me.
Jo: We’re weird.
Christine: Because at 14, she went to college. People would say why didn’t she go to boarding school. A lot of that was financial for us.
Jo: Yeah. Yeah.
Christine: So, I understand a lot of that, actually. It does make sense. She’s so independent, and always was.
Jo: That’s the thing.
00:06:24 Christine: But I think it just helps move it along, because she can’t just run to me every second.
Jo: Yeah. Exactly. I mean, it’s not for everybody. It’s really not, but it worked for us, and actually, our kids are great.
Christine: Awesome. That’s wonderful. What caught my eye online, were, in particular, among many things, was your walking pilgrimages.
Jo: Yeah. Yeah.
00:06:52 Christine: I know you recently had a walking trip, and it looks like you began with a six-week, 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain, back in 2016? Do I have that correct?
Jo: Yup. That’s right.
Christine: What inspired you to do that journey?
Jo: Well, it was interesting, because as I said, my children had always been away at school, and my son, age 18, finished school and went off to university. Even though he, as I said, had not been at home, I found it sort of deeply shocking. I thought where have 18 years gone? How have I suddenly got this grownup? I slightly fell back on well, what have I done? Everyone says, “Oh, you’ve produced this wonderful child, and you’ve done this beautiful job of being a mother.” I’m like, “Yeah, but what else?”
00:07:42 Christine: Right.
Jo: I mean, 18 years of my life have gone past, and if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, I’m not sure I’d have anything else to sort of say for myself. Again, that’s fine for some people, but it suddenly wasn’t for me. I decided that I would go off and do this walk. Someone had told me about it. I didn’t give a moment’s thought. All I thought was I was going to get really fit, and really brown.
Christine: I love it.
Jo: Super tan, and super fit, too, and I love a challenge. I literally didn’t give it much thought. I packed my rucksack. I started with a girlfriend, she did the first two weeks with me. It was life-changing. I mean, truly, extraordinary, and not because of the walking, which was great, but it was more the people and the fact that once my friend left, nobody knew me. I wasn’t anybody’s wife. I wasn’t anybody’s mother. They find out that you’re married and that you’ve got kids, but they’re not interested in that. All they’re interested in where you walked yesterday, who you met, where you’re staying, what you ate. They don’t care about where your kids went to school, it’s just not part of the experience. I suddenly just sort of felt completely free. I felt like the person I was before I got married, before I had kids. I was just like, I’m funny, and I’m bright, and I can sleep in the dormitory with 60 people I don’t know in bunk beds, next to some strange snoring man, who stinks to high heaven. But I can do this, and it was real identity, sort of, readjustment for me. It was just like, there is still that person. You lose that person in years of motherhood.
00:09:32 Christine: Yeah.
Jo: If you don’t work, and even if you work to a certain extent, you lose all of that. You just become this wife and mother. Like I said, Christine, there are lots of people for whom that’s the dream, and I admire them hugely. I’m envious in a way, but it was never enough. I gave up my career to bring up my children, and then, spent most of my time since, trying to fill that void. The walking for me was just a chance just to be me, and it was so liberating. I could bore on about it for months, because I can’t emphasize enough, how freeing it was. I became totally immersed in just the walking, and getting up every day, and only having to think about myself. I carried my own rucksack, so everything I needed was on my back, so it was nothing, a couple of pairs of trousers, a couple tops. Because everything you have, you have to carry. You don’t want to be carrying endless makeup and whatnot. I came back, and the adjustment was huge. Because I came back, and I’m like, I’m going to be this super human person. I’m going to do this, I’m going to get out there and slowly, you get sucked back in to the role you had. So, each year, just before I get completely immersed, I go off again, just to remind myself. Chatter, chatter, chatter.
Christine: Love it.
Jo: You can tell how much I love it. I don’t shut up.
00:11:16. Christine: It sounds so nice. So many questions.
Jo: It’s so good.
Christine: Why six weeks on your first one?
Jo: I didn’t really give it much thought. Of course, I could have never done six weeks on my second one, because my husband would have got wise to the fact. He actually found it quite challenging. I actually, to be honest, we were having dinner with some friends, and he had just walked to the North Pole, and I said, if you were going to do a challenge that wasn’t actually going to endanger my life, what would you do?
Jo: He said, “I think I’d walk the Pyrenees.” When I got home, I just Googled walk the Pyrenees, and because you start by walking over the Pyrenees on the Camino De Santiago, that’s what image came up on my Google search. You can do it in stages. You can do a week, and then, go back and do another week. My husband has done a week. My daughter is actually going off on the 4th of August to do the whole six weeks.
Christine: Oh, wow!
Jo: Yeah. That’s how long it takes roughly to do the whole thing. It never crossed my mind not to do the whole thing, and of course, I don’t think my husband sort of realized. He was really thrilled for me to do it, because he knew it was important. But I don’t think he realized how long six weeks was going to feel to him.
Jo: I mean six weeks felt like nothing to me, but six weeks felt like a very long time to him. But that’s how long that walk was going to take, and as I said, it never crossed my mind not to do the whole thing.
Jo: I’m not sure I’d be able to six weeks again.
Christine: Maybe your ten year anniversary of your first walk?
Christine: I’m plugging for that.
Jo: It’s interesting because actually I have a friend who’s just done it, and he only did a couple of weeks, two or three weeks, and then, his ankles and his knees and stuff gave in. I hope my daughter does the whole thing, but it is hard. It’s a long time. I think, as I said, for me it was so liberating, and I felt so sort of free, that I don’t want to give up that feeling, but of course, my daughter’s not going to get that feeling. It could be harder for her to find the thing that makes her keep walking.
Jo: You know, that’s what made me keep walking, and for her, she won’t necessarily have that, because life’s a breeze for them, isn’t it?
Christine: Yeah. Right.
Jo: They don’t have a care in the world.
Christine: They think they do.
Jo: Yeah. Of everything.
Christine: In their mind, they do.
Jo: Everything’s a nightmare and a disaster.
00:13:57 Christine: True.
Jo: I always walk with my friend who started the Camino with me, and actually, the reason we went to Portugal was because she never finished. She did two weeks, and then, she left. She didn’t do the second four weeks with me. The walk in to Santiago to Compostela is the sort of climax to the trip. The Portuguese one only being two weeks, she sort of got to finish a Camino without having to take such a long time.
Christine: That’s lovely. Her family’s good with her being away for two weeks?
Jo: Yeah. Actually, her children are grown up and her kids are away at school, too. Actually, two weeks is nothing really.
Christine: I guess this is not an expensive thing?
Jo: Gosh, it’s cheap. Do you know what? That is the thing. It is cheap. If you carry your pack, and if you’re prepared to stay at hostels, and some of the hostels are pretty basic. You are sleeping in a dormitory with 50 other people in bunk beds. It stinks. The snoring is indescribable, but you’re tired, and the showers and everything. You think my post about the loos was bad. Some of those showers are indescribable. Even that is just, you know, I can do this. I can sleep in these places. I can be uncomfortable and I’m good with that.
00:15:29 Christine: That’s fantastic. What’s the hardest thing when you would come back to adjust to? Is there one thing or not?
Jo: Yeah. I described it when I came back as I felt like a square peg, it’s classically, a square peg in a round hole, and everybody has a hammer. Everybody wants you to be back in your role as quickly as possible. Nothing has changed for them. My husband’s amazing, so I’m being a bit harsh, but mentally, he’s thinking, “Thank God, she can do the washing, she can do the cooking, she can do the shopping, she can organize my life.” They want you to do that the morning after you get back. They want it just straight back. It’s very difficult to adjust because everything feels so, what’s the word, spoiled. You feel so indulged. Just being able to turn on taps and have lovely hot clean water come out, and open my cupboard and think, “Oh, my God, what am I going to wear today?” When before, I’d just be like, “Oh, those old trousers again, and that old shirt again.”
00:16:40 Christine: Yeah.
Jo: It’s that adjustment to the richness of your life, in a way. It’s becomes a bit, grotesque is too harsh a word, but you become a bit judgmental because you’ve lived such a basic simple life, and you look at your life, and think this is unnecessary, and that’s unnecessary, get rid of my car.
Christine: I can see that.
Jo: That doesn’t last long. But that’s the hardest thing. The hardest thing is that you’ve had this massive change for a few weeks, and everybody else’s life is exactly the same, so they don’t see that, and they don’t experience it. Actually, my husband, I was so awful when I came back from my first one, that my husband went and did a week because he said, “I’m going to go and see what is making you feel so kind of –”
Christine: That’s really sweet, actually.
Jo: I know, Bless him. I know, but do you know what? There’s that classic thing we do, us women, part of me is like, “Oh, that’s so lovely,” and part of it’s, “Oh, that’s my thing. It’s mine.”
Christine: I know. I know.
Jo: He’s stolen my thing.
Christine: He only went for one week, though.
Jo: Yes. He didn’t do the whole thing.
Christine: He didn’t.
Jo: You know, it was important because, and he said, “I get it.” You know, he said, “I found I was the life and soul.” He said, “I’m really funny.” I went, “I know, but we don’t laugh like we used to because there’s too much life stuff going on.” It’s good to just get that back.
Christine: That’s really great. Oh, my goodness. You’d think you’d be in sensory overload, when you come back?
Jo: Totally. Yeah. Totally. I mean, Bless him, when I came back we have this amazing Chelsea Flower Show, which is a flower show in London. It’s one of the biggest in the world, and it’s absolutely amazing. We try to go every year. You have to get tickets, and he had booked tickets for that, and he booked for us to stay in a really nice hotel, and go out for dinner at our favorite restaurant, and I was just so overwhelmed by the whole thing, and I walked into this amazing hotel room, and all I could think was, “You could fit 50 people in here.” You could fit 20 bunks easy, and all of that just is very overwhelming. You really do have to adjust in a very strange way.
00:19:00 Christine: How great. It’s wonderful
Jo: Everyone should be able to go.
Christine: Really. I know. I’m like, “Okay, are you leading a group next?”
Jo: Yes. I would. Do you know? I would. Although, it’s weird because part of the thing that amazing is that I met and walked with six people, but the whole of my second walk, the four weeks I was on my own, same people, every day, 24 hours a day. You’re sharing, you’re washing each other’s socks, it’s one of the very accelerated relationships, and you become incredibly close to these people and incredibly reliant on these people. It’s really hard when you leave, because they become like your family. That’s another one of the really hard things when you come back, is that you want to speak to them all the time, because you know, you’ve shared this amazing experience with them. I met some really wonderful people. Who I still keep in touch with.
Christine: That’s great. I was going to say —
Jo: From all over, but they’re all Americans. They get everywhere.
Christine: Were you the entertainer?
Jo: Do you know, no, I wasn’t, because there were moments when you feel actually motherly, you can’t ever get rid of that. I’m like, “have you got sunscreen on?” You know? “Have you got enough water,” that slightly motherly thing. I didn’t have to be Jo Davies, wife, mother, I could just be anybody.
Christine: That’s wonderful.
Jo: Yeah. It was great.
Christine: Now that my listener wants to go. Actually, we have the Appalachian Trail in the east coast here, that’s really long.
Jo: Yes, you do.
Christine: It’s like months and months.
Jo: Yes, months and months, and that’s really hard core, isn’t it? Because that’s camping.
Christine: It is.
Jo: That’s really hard core. Yeah.
00:21:02 Christine: I forget what they call it. Actually, a friend of mine’s daughter is doing it, and she just made it to the halfway point.
Jo: I do think it doesn’t have to be, you know, some massive thing. I think it’s just time out.
Jo: It can be a week, but you just have to do something completely different, and actually, not with a group. Interestingly, I would never, much as my husband would like to go back and do the walk, and I would like to go back and do it again, I wouldn’t do it with him, because I would just be his wife the whole way. The point about it is to have this unique experience on your own. Actually, I’ll do other things with him, but this, this is different. To fully experience, if you’re going to do that walk, particularly, or any of those Caminos. One of the people I walked with on my own, went back and did it with his wife and brother and sister, and stuff, and he said it was good, but it’s different. You know? He went and just did a two weeks or something, but it’s just different. It’s a different experience, and it sort of stops me going back as well, because I had such a unique time, and met such amazing people. I think if I went back and did it again, I might be disappointed.
00:22:33 Christine: You’ll just meet different amazing people.
Jo: Yeah. Do you know what? I genuinely think I was lucky. I genuinely think I just met a really great group. Because the guy I was talking about, after he’d been there a week, he sent me a message saying, “What’s wrong with me? Why haven’t I made more friends?” I think I was lucky. But it was great. It was amazing, amazing.
Christine: So sweet. I love it. All right. We’ll move on, because I think I can talk for an hour.
Jo: Because otherwise, I won’t shut up.
00:23:07 Christine: I know, we’ll just talk forever. Okay. So, if you would so indulge me, and my listener, I would love to have you read one of my favorite posts of yours. It’s so real-life, and I think hearing it in your voice, would be completely amazing.
Jo: I will read it to you, but it’s just I do this, because there’s a little bit of me that thinks sometimes Instagram and all these social media things, it’s all a bit too lovely and glossy, and let’s face it, every single week, there is something. I was just saying today, every time I get in the car, and one of my husband or my children, you know the visor thing you bring down to stop the sun?
Jo: When they don’t put that up, every single time I get into their cars, and I bash my head on it, I literally want to punch them. When I get back on Instagram, that’s going to be number one. The sun visor being down and bumping my head.
Christine: I think that’s why I like your account so much, like your posts, because they’re just so honest, and we all can relate. It’s real.
Jo: The thing that’s a bit tricky about it, is that I don’t have a niche. You know? I think that’s why my followers grow so slowly, is because I’m not posting endless pictures of fashion, and people go, “I like her style,” and then, everybody follows. I don’t have a sort of specific thing. I’m just, “Oo, this is annoying today,” or, “This is great today.” My life is amazing, but it’s not glossy. It’s just real. I think sometimes you need to see that. It’s not just our children who look at social media and go, “Oh, I’m too fat,” or, “I’m too ugly,” or, “My hair isn’t the right –” You know, there are grownups out there, adults out there, doing the same. You need the old dose of [inaudible] to balance it out.
00:25:04 Christine: You do. I think when we all present the perfection and that’s all we present, I mean, in life in general, we tend to think that it’s not supposed to have sucky moments. Thinking life’s supposed to be perfect causes more anxiety, than if you’re like, “Okay, this is a sucky thing for today, let me just get through it.
Jo: Yeah. I do think that’s true, and I’m a great believer in that every day ends and every day the sun will come up, and it’s just a new start. There is a chance you may have things hanging over from the day before, but you can address them differently, or go about it differently. It is just a chance to just start again, every day.
Christine: Yes. Yes.
Jo: With the same rubbish.
Jo: The same annoying rubbish.
Christine: Same or different sucky things.
Jo: Yeah. I’m very conscious of the fact that I talk very fast. When you come back to look at this, you’re going say, “Oh, this all hopeless. I can’t understand a word.”
00:26:05 Christine: No.
Jo: Hopefully not. Okay. This was after a few days of traveling for three days around the countryside, with my husband, and stopping at quite a lot of Motorway Service Stations, and it struck me that there was a recurring theme when using the public toilets, and here it is. You get in to find the door won’t latch. You would hang your bag on the door hook, if there was one, but there isn’t, so you drape it around your neck, definitely not on the floor. Then you assume the stance. The stance which is that awful squatting position for anyone who can’t imagine it. In this position, you’re aging toneless thigh muscles begin to shake. You’d love to sit down, but you certainly haven’t taken time to wipe the seat, or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold the stance. Take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser. You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday, the one that’s still in your bag. That will have to do. You crumble it into the puffiest way possible. It’s still smaller than your thumbnail. Someone pushes your door open, because the latch doesn’t work. You reach forward to push the door shut, at which point your thighs decide you’ve had enough, topple backwards against the tank of the toilet, dropping your precious tissue in a puddle on the floor, and sit down on the wet seat. You bolt up knowing all too well that it’s too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and lifeform. The automatic sensor on the back of the toilet senses your back and flushes, (inaudible) stream of water, like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl that sprays a fine mist all over your bottom. At this point, you give up, pull your pants up over your wet bottom, open the door with your elbow, no more germs, try and wash your hands in the sink, where none of the dispensers work, unlike the one in the toilet. No water coming out of the taps, soapy hands. Leaving the bathroom, you invariably find your husband impatiently waiting outside going, “What took you so long?” in a very cheery voice. That’s actually the most annoying part.
Christine: I don’t know which is worse of all it. But it’s so true.
Jo: The worse for me, is that annoying thing when you lean back too far, and the sensor behind you goes flush. Yeah. All of it.
Christine: There was a period, when my daughter was little, was afraid of them, because they’re so loud.
Christine: They would go off and I guess she wouldn’t hit the part where it would look. If you put a sticky note over it, it won’t go off.
Jo: That is an idea.
Christine: I’ve stopped doing that, but I think I need to try it again, because it’s happening again.
Jo: Yeah. Let’s face it, if we can’t remember the tissue in our bag, we’re never going to remember a Post-it note just to cover the sensor.
Christine: This is true. I know. This was my younger mom days.
Jo: Yeah. When you had your bag full of that stuff.
Christine: Exactly. It’s great. Thank you for sharing that.
Jo: That’s all right.
00:29:13 Christine: Jo, what is one piece of advice you would like to give future empty nest women?
Jo: I think I have bored on about it now, but oddly enough, one of the things, actually, I can’t remember if I was going to do this one. Anyway, one of the most important things is to remember who you were before you became the wife and mother. I think it’s so important. I think it’s the big answer to the empty nest question. Because the empty nest question is who am I now, and I think you can answer that by who was I before, because that person is still there. That person, if you remember, could do anything. The world was your oyster before you became a wife, before you became a mother, for most people. I look at my 22-year-old son now, and he was looking for a job. It just doesn’t cross his mind he’s not going to get one. It doesn’t cross his mind he’s not going to find a great flat, and have just the best time. We were all like that, and that’s the person you need to remember that, instead of sort of thinking what am I going to do, help, what’s my purpose? If you remember who you were and how you felt, that should just give you that sort of confidence to just start again. Just reinvent yourself all over again. You’ve got a whole another half of your life, at least.
Christine: I know. We have so much. It’s so funny.
00:30:47 Christine: Fifty is not, like, come on, it’s like nothing.
Christine: Really. I talk to people who are early fifties, and they’re like, “Okay, my kid’s gone, I guess I’m done.” I’m like, “What?! No, you’re just starting!”
Jo: But I think if your only identity or the only part of you that you can identify with is the mother part, then that is how you feel, because if you no longer have that, what are you? That’s exactly how I felt. I just thought to myself, God, 18 years of my life have gone past, and what’s left? What’s left for me and what am I, and who am I now? As I said, I never expected the walk to do this, but it just said, “This is who you are.”
00:31:30 Christine: That’s awesome.
Jo: “This is what you’re capable of, and you are still capable of doing all of that,” and that’s what I would say to everyone. You don’t have to go off and do a walk to find it. Lots of people know exactly who they are, and go, them. But for those people who don’t, you’ve just got to find something that makes you remember who you were.
Christine: I love it. Great advice. Great advice.
Jo: I know. Most rare. I’d better write that down, actually.
Christine: It will be in the transcript, and I’ll do an Audiogram of it, so you’ll be all over the place.
Jo: Yes. I’ll have to write that down. I’ve never been so insightful.
Christine: That’s very good. I always say, our old me is there, it’s just like–
Jo: Yeah. That’s the trouble.
Christine: We’re so used to putting that on hold for everyone else, that it’s just like we’ve pushed it down for those 18 years.
Jo: Yeah. Exactly.
Christine: We have to make the effort, like a walk, or whatever it is for you, to try to find her.
Jo: Yeah. Because she’s in there.
Christine: She is, totally, and she is awesome. Is there anything else you’d like to share with my amazing future empty nest friend?
Jo: The only other thing, funny enough, I was thinking about was, because I think this is really important. My mother’s favorite expression was always, “If you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you’re with.” While that’s generally about people, it made me sort of think you could apply that to your life, because one of the things when I came back, I hated my life as role, but I felt so confined by my life, I thought there’s a whole world out there, that I want to go and explore, and there’s all these amazing people I want to meet, but it’s not practical. I can’t go and walk for six weeks every year, so I take my two weeks. You just scale it back. We can’t all live our best lives and have our every one of our dreams come true. We can just scale them back a bit, and just be happy with the ones we can make work, rather then permanently striving for the things we can’t. You can’t have everything that you want, be happy with what you’ve got.
00:34:01 Christine: Well said. Another gem!
Jo: I’m going to have to lie down. I’m exhausted. My brain’s so old. Actually, anyone who follows me on Instagram regularly, listens to this, they’ll go, “Oh, well, it’s not her. There’s no way that’s her.”
Christine: I have video to prove it.
Jo: Yes. Good point. Let me see.
Christine: I won’t delete it now. Okay. Before you go, I have four questions that I ask every guest of mine. The first is very important. Waffles or pancakes?
Christine: Yes? Any reason?
Jo: Definitely pancakes. I just don’t know. It’s too much, the waffly — and also, waffles are a bit dry.
Christine: They can be. Yes.
Jo: Yeah. They can be. Yes.
Christine: What do you put on your pancakes?
Jo: We’re a traditional lemon and sugar girl. Is that not traditional with you guys?
Christine: Lemon and sugar? Is that what you said?
Christine: No. You do call them pancakes, or are they called something else?
Jo: No, they’re called pancakes. But yours are just sort of small round fat ones, aren’t they?
Christine: They are. What are yours?
Jo: Ours are the size of a dinner plate and they’re much thinner.
Christine: Oh. Look what we’re learning today.
Jo: Did you know, we had a long discussion at lunch today, about prawns and shrimps, because somebody said, “Oh, those are prawns,” and when asked what’s the difference, because in America we say that’s a shrimp.
Jo: No. It is pancakes.
Christine: Got it. We’ll leave it there. What is one item you can’t live without and why?
Jo: It’s not really an item, but coffee. I know it’s not really an item, but actually, I have a really strong willpower. I have drunk nothing but juice for 28 days. I can give up things in a heartbeat. If anyone even suggests I give up coffee, I’m like, “Nah.” It’s just my thing.
Christine: Do you have that on your walks?
Jo: Oh, yeah, and I take sachets so that if I’m in danger of missing a coffee stop, I have some.
Jo: But you know what? I don’t even mind that it’s decaf. It’s a total habit thing.
Jo: Actually, I don’t drink, not that I have a problem, I have to just emphasize that. But I just gave up drinking about 13 years ago, just out of choice. I just thought it actually doesn’t suit me. It doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t smoke, so that’s my vice. My coffee.
Christine: That’s a good answer. I love coffee. A few weeks ago, I gave it up, that lasted two days and it was awful.
Jo: I just kind of think, I don’t drink a huge amount. I just think why give it up? I love it. I don’t want to give it up. I don’t want to.
Christine: It’s good stuff. All time favorite movie and any particular reason?
Jo: Can I have two? I’m very quick.
Jo: “True Romance” the Quentin Tarantino film. Have you ever seen it?
Christine: No, I have not.
Jo: Okay. Quentin Tarantino is not known for soft films, so that’s my word of warning. There’s some proper violence in that, but the cast is unbelievable, absolutely fantastic cast. One of the best cinematic scenes of all time has got to be the scene with Dennis Hopper and Christoper Walken. You’re now going to have to go and watch it, so you know what I mean.
Christine: I will. Yes.
Jo: The cast is just extraordinary. Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, half of the cast of “Sopranos”. And, “The Last of the Mohicans,” just because it’s beautiful and cinematic and wonderful, romantic and dramatic. I love it.
Christine: Excellent. Yeah. I’m getting good movie recommendations.
Jo: Yes. Have you not seen “Last of the Mohicans” either?
Christine: I think I have, but I’m one of those people where I’ll see movies, and I’ll be like, I think I liked that. Except for a very few, that I’ve watched over and over.
Christine: It’s interesting that I picked this question to ask everyone.
Jo: You’ve done it secretly, haven’t you? You’re going to get lots of recommendations for films. Yeah?
Christine: I think that’s it. I just had a plan, I just didn’t know it.
Jo: But do watch “True Romance.” Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s just awesome.
00:38:39 Christine: Sounds awesome. Great. You have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go-to thing to do?
Jo: Read. Every time. Read, read, read. I love books. I don’t care what it is. I will plow my way through rubbish. I will plow my way through the classics. The films, books, it’s that whole escapism thing. Actually, I so involve myself in it that there’s some books which some people rave about and I’m like, if I don’t like the characters, or if I don’t feel anything for the characters, I’m not going to really care what happens to be. Reading. I just love it. Absolutely love it.
Christine: What are you currently reading?
Jo: I am currently reading a book called, “All the Light We Cannot See.” Do you know what? You’re going to ask me who the author is, and the awful thing is because it’s on my Kindle, I just don’t know. I just don’t remember.
00:39:50 Christine: That’s okay. I’ll look it up, and put it in the show notes. I have somebody who transcribes it for me. Thank you, Beth.
Jo: Yes. Perfect. If she thinks of something a bit more intellectual, put that in as well. The Bible. She’s reading the Bible. Complete Works of Shakespeare, actually.
Christine: I’ll have all my Amazon affiliate links below. That’s great.
Jo: But, yes, that’s good. I’m loving it.
Christine: Wonderful. My empty nest friend, don’t forget to follow Jo on Instagram at Midlife Highway, or visit her website, MidlifeHighway.com. I will have her contact information in this episodes full show notes, on my website, youremptynestcoach.com. Jo, thanks for opening up your life to us. Thanks for all you do to entertain all of us. I am thrilled you joined me today. Thanks for being here.
Jo: Thanks, Christine. It’s been a great pleasure.
Christine: It’s been so much fun. Awesome.
Jo: Thank you.
00:40:55 Christine: Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
The questions I have for you in this episode are: number one, Have you ever done a long walk, such as the ones Jo has completed? And, would you ever consider doing a walk like this? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website.
Oh, my goodness, did you hear? I have an online program, “The Empty Nest: First Steps Toward Success.” I now offer GPS Reset Weekend Retreats, Unplugged and Charged Up, and I am available for speaking events. Seriously! What are you waiting for? Visit my website or see this episode’s full show notes.
My next episode is another guest episode, Jenn Musselman, who is going to be about as real as can be when it comes to sharing thoughts about her son heading off to college.
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
Life can be filled with lousiness sometimes. Right when you begin to feel like you are getting somewhere, suddenly something happens that has you feeling like you are back at square one. This is beautiful: it is real; it is life. Nowhere are we guaranteed smooth sailing or perfection, did you get that guarantee? Because I didn’t. But we get to live it – ALL of it. I encourage you to live through it, not run from it – the good, the bad, and the ugly – all of it because, you are ALIVE. It all comes down to who you want to be in each moment. I know you can be amazing, but you have to choose to live in it fully to level up in your life. In this episode, I share how I feel life is like Donkey Kong.
Take a listen or read the full transcript below.
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓
Want to subscribe to this podcast? Great news – it is free!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 35: Leveling Up in Life: Donkey Kong Your Life. … Donkey Kong. One of my favorite games as a child was the original Donkey Kong. I know I am showing my age, and my geekiness, here, but my love for it was real. If you never played Donkey Kong, I’ll have a link to a video of it in my show notes. Indulge me for a minute. Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game in which you as Mario, climb platforms using ladders to reach your princess at the top. …
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 35: Leveling Up in Life: Donkey Kong Your Life. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:40 Hello, my future empty nest friend. This episode is one that I feel combined with my “Sit in the Simmer” episode topic really has hit home with my recent clients, my work colleagues and it has been evident in my life, too. I’ll tell you personal example at the end of this episode. But first, I have a favor to ask of you. My team and I are planning on taking some time off over the holiday season, and rather than going completely silent for that time, we thought we would share listener favorite episodes or snippets. That means that we are looking for your submissions for one of two things, something you learned from the podcast that has helped you, or your favorite episode. For both of these, explain what they mean to you and tell us what episode number it is from. You may email your recorded submission with your phone audio recorder, or type it out. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your assistance.
00:02:06 Donkey Kong. One of my favorite games as a child was the original Donkey Kong. I know I am showing my age, and my geekiness, here, but my love for it was real. If you never played Donkey Kong, I’ll have a link to a video of it in my show notes. Indulge me for a minute. Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game in which you as Mario, climb platforms using ladders to reach your princess at the top.
00:02:33 If you look at the 1980-something version, it is pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to play this game. The barrels roll toward you, maybe you’re able to jump over a barrel, or two, successfully, and then, you make it up a ladder, and then, you might be able to grab a hammer, and destroy some barrels. Maybe you make it to the third platform, when a barrel hits you. Whaa whaa. No, that was not the sound you hear. You are sent back to the start of that level. At this moment, there are two types of gamers, there are the gamers who freak out throw the controller and need to shout, get anxious or put on a show of frustration. Then, there are the gamers that realize that the last time in the level, they noticed something new. Something that might help this next time. Which gamer is more fun to be around? That second gamer goes back in knowing they might make it to the top this time, or maybe they’ll learn something new again. Or, maybe they’ll find that their brilliant idea from last time didn’t work. That’s okay. They won’t do that again. They work through the level again, and again, and again, until they make it to the top, or decide they got all they want out of the game.
00:03:51 Each time they start over, a little bit more of that level moves faster for them, because they get it. They understand more, and they’ve learned more. Let’s say the gamer is you, and this time you figured out the first three jumps needed, and you now have that timed perfectly. Maybe the next run, you figure out that it makes sense to pause a bit behind a ladder and wait out a particular barrel. Or, maybe you realize you can actually go down the ladder and it might make the best option for that moment. What happens when you finally reach the princess? You know it. You get another level. Do you know me well enough yet, to know where I’m going with this? Yes. Life is all about leveling up. Sure, we have our amazing moments where we reach the top, and those moments are worth celebrating for sure. Even more important, is all that leveling up you are doing to get to the end game. That is where you learn about life, and more importantly, where you have the opportunity to learn about you.
00:04:57 Each time you maneuver a little bit better. You become more confident, more sure of your path, and the most important part, is that you keep going. Next time, you are working on sitting in the simmer of your life, I challenge you to see where you have leveled up recently. Maybe you figured out how to jump over one barrel. That is one barrel you didn’t know how to jump over last month. If you can’t find anything, maybe it’s time for you to push the start button and give something a try. You can always change the game you’re playing. Life is so much more fun, when you are in the game. Remember that being sent back to the beginning, is to be expected. Check your thoughts when this happens, and make sure you choose thoughts that make you feel amazing, because you are worth it 100 percent. You may not reach your goal tomorrow, but you will learn a heck of a lot about yourself along the way. You may apply this to anything, weight loss, your life in general, to going through my program, or anyone’s class or program, to your thoughts, to you learning something new. It is endless.
00:06:11 Next time you feel that the progress you are making in something appears to come to a halt, I want you to challenge your thoughts at that moment, because you are wherever you are. You will level up faster next time around. The re-entry and the leveling up will go smoother with kind thoughts to yourself. Take the drama away as you play the game. It makes all things run much easier and I’ve got to say, life is a lot more fun, because now you know when that next barrel is heading your way. This time you are prepared for it and ready for it. You may even make the leap with a smile or jazz hands. Why not?
00:06:50 Yes, there are times when it might feel like you take two steps forward, and three back. Just remember that the two steps forward, already have some footprints to follow. Let your body reset for the next level again, and jump right back in. I did promise you that I would tell you how I’ve noticed this in my life recently. Here’s one example, it has to do with getting this weekly podcast out to you. I am unbelievably thankful for my tremendous team member who does my editing, transcription, and a few other things. I have a checklist that I put a lot of time into creating. I mean a lot. This checklist is huge. It used to overwhelm me. I still look at it as I begin to assemble an episode, and have a momentary thought that is something like, “Oh, there’s now way this is going to get out.” But that is a thought I changed to something more along the lines of, okay, I’ve now 30 or so episodes, this episode will get out just like the others, and it will be great. Such a great thought. Everytime I wrap up another episode, everything runs faster. So much so, that I now feel like I’m missing things. I’m not, and I know this because of my crazy detailed checklist, but I’m leveling up so fast, it feels like I’m cheating. Do you get this? Then, that is where Imposter Syndrome kicks in, and I’ve got more thoughts to deal with. We are never done with this thought work. But I have to say, each time it gets easier, and I level up faster. Isn’t it great that that happens? Until we reach a new level. That’s what I have for you today, my empty nest friend.
00:08:38 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:09:05 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:09:32 The questions I have for you in this episode are: Do you feel like you are continually back where you started? And, have you noticed, or do you now notice the leveling up in your life? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next three episodes are going to be a little different. I have three women that I find interesting, and inspiring, that I’ll be interviewing for you.
00:10:09 Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode, every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this episode when I wrote it. Throughout our life, we experience change. Sometimes it is expected, sometimes it is not. When we are unable to be patient with ourselves through the transition, things can get a little off course and “boil over.”
In this episode, I talk about the importance of a simmer in a beef stew and what that has to do with your life.
Take a listen, or read the transcript, below.
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓
Want to subscribe to this podcast? Great news – it is free!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. … My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 29: Christine, I Don’t Know What to do Next. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:35 Hello, my future empty nest friend. What amazing things are going on in your life right now? Take a second to stop and think about something. Anything, and how amazing it is. Want an example? Right now, you are listening to my voice. I’m not with you live, in person, I’m off doing something else in my life, but something that I assembled and recorded weeks ago, you are able to listen to as if I’m right here with you. Now, that’s pretty amazing. Need another? How about how your body manages to take breaths, to keep you alive without you having to think about it. Amazing!
00:01:11 A quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering to My Future.” To be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com and sign up today. Look for the link that says, “Uncover Your Future.”
00:01:29 My future empty nest friend, I want to talk about when you can’t figure out what is next in life. This may be in the form of thoughts such as, Christine, I don’t know what to do with my time or Christine, I think I know who future me is, but I can’t figure out what to do next.
00:01:49 Beef Stew. When you make beef stew, there is some prep work. You cook the beef. You then cook your veggies, seasoning, broth, maybe wine, more seasonings, and you bring it to a boil. Once the stew reaches its boiling points, you reduce the heat to a simmer and have more additions for the next 30 to 45 minutes. This simmer time allows a couple of things to happen. One, it cooks the food gently and slowly, allowing it to maintain its structure in ways impossible with boiling. It also will bring fat, proteins, and other substances to the top of the pot, which allows you to skim them off, and results in a clear stock.
00:02:25 Notice that two things are not recommended. One, allowing the meal to boil over, and two, once the boiling point is reached, turn the heat off and eat the stew. What does this have to with the empty nest? Something that I’ve noticed for many of my clients is that we reach this point where we have been “doing life” at a million miles an hour. Due to the circumstances of life, we get really good at hiding the real us in the name of taking care of everyone else. So much so that when a family member moves out of the house, be it for college, or their first apartment, the first thought that comes to our mind is what am I going to do with my time? As if we didn’t exist before they entered our lives. Think about it.
00:03:07 You were a full grown adult before you had your child. At least, most of us are. You had a life. You will have a life again. That you has been hiding really well. Is she different? More than likely, yes, but she is there. She’s just not used to showing herself. For many of my clients, the question what am I going to do with my time, seems to have an almost universal effect that moves my clients to, in the stew analogy, a full-on rolling boil that leads to a boiled-over mess. Can you picture this? There’s a frenzied emotion guiding the question for them. The frenzy sometimes is led by the need to know the answer to this question as soon as possible.
00:03:47 If you are able to answer the question right away, what am I going to do with my time, fantastic! Go you! But for many of us, the first thing we think we should do isn’t really the answer. Jumping all in on that thing, whatever it is, without allowing life to simmer for a little bit, will cause the stew to boil over, or we realize we’re not heading down the right path, so we pull the pot off the heat and dump it down the sink. When what we really need to do is turn the heat down low and allow things to simmer.
00:04:19 Allow ideas to bubble up. Explore them. Research them. Try them, and if the timing is right, take some time to discover if the stew is finished cooking, if you need to try a new recipe, or if you are simply still simmering. Remember, also, that if you don’t move from the boil down to the simmer, adjustments become messier than they need to be. In this transition, in your quest to figure out what you are going to do with your time, take deep breaths, and if you don’t have complete clarity, it is okay. You are simply simmering. You are exploring what is next.
00:04:55 What if you are sitting there wondering what am I going to do with my time, and you feel frenzied. You feel things starting to boil, but all you have is water in the pot, right? No direction. If this is you, I want you to try something for me. Try changing your question, what I am going to do with my time to the sentence, I am going to have more time, or I have more time, and simmer in that. Please note that this doesn’t mean that you don’t take any action in your life. You can try things. You can explore things. You can go all in on things, and you can adjust things. Throw some ingredients in here and there and see what that does for you.
00:05:35 Sometimes you want to make a huge change right away, but circumstances need you to stay where you are to allow the next step to be smooth. Rather than resenting where you are currently, realize that you are in a necessary simmer that is needed, before the next ingredient is added. As you simmer, get to know future you. Find her. It is so funny, I already hear some of you ready to say, how can I know future me, when I don’t know if blah, blah, blah is going to happen.
00:06:02 I need to be very clear. Future you is meant to inspire, encourage and motivate you. She is not necessarily a prediction of the future, unless you have some powers that I don’t know about, then, you know, give me a call. Let me know. But she’s your navigation system. Right now, in this moment, whoever future you would be, use her to guide you in your decisions.
00:06:27 That question you want the answer to, Christine, what am I going to do with my time? It might make you feel like you need to pick a new job, a new career, or a hobby to fill your time with. Maybe what you really need to do right now, is to keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe you see where you think your life will be in two years, but you’re just needed quite a bit right now, doing what you’re doing. Which might mean that your life isn’t going to change as quickly as you imagine it. You might be in the necessary simmer.
00:06:59 So, are you simmering? Remember, if you stop simmering, the recipe never finishes. Once the stew is finished cooking, there is always another stew ready to be made. Sit in the simmer. Don’t be afraid of the simmer! Don’t fight it. Use it to get in touch with future you. This time is needed and if you simmer long enough, the miscellaneous things that you don’t need, will rise to the top for you to skim off. That will make your life, your path ahead, clearer, just like the skimmed stock. Isn’t that cool?
00:07:30 If you’re having trouble sitting in the simmer, try reminding yourself that you’ll figure it out. So, where are you right now? This isn’t for me to tell you. It’s for your GPS future you to tell you. Don’t look to me, don’t look to your friend. Look to future you. Ask her what makes the most sense right now, and try asking her if you need to simmer. Trust that you and your GPS will figure out all the pieces when the time is right. Maybe right now, your GPS needs you to work on you, on your emotional health, on your physical health, so you may have the best future in store for you.
00:08:07 Having your future self to check in with is incredibly helpful. Mostly because she is you. She has your back, my friend. The destination sometimes changes for us, but the guidance system doesn’t. Find your guidance system. Find you and go after her 200 percent.
00:08:25 Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? Well, the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:08:51 If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.”Episode 13 covers the high-level concepts of this program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep in the concepts, take my free program as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
00:09:13 The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) Have you found future you yet? And
2) What was, or is, your biggest obstacle in finding her?
As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is, I’m Not Being Appreciated. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free, and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode every Friday.
00:09:45 If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!