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2019 was a year of big changes in almost every arena. Two of the biggest: both of my sons went away to college and The Life Coach School has grown to the point that it’s not dependent on me anymore.

These shifts have brought a realignment of my own identity and my relationship with my husband, Chris. I’m definitely feeling all of the fear, confusion, and freedom that comes along with midlife. So, I’m trying to let myself sit with it and enjoy the ride.

I’ve got Suzy Rosenstein, the Midlife Coach, with me on today’s episode to talk a bit about midlife and the huge opportunities it contains. We’re chatting about why so many of us are shocked by the sense of loss we feel when kids move away, why we have to reassess midlife, and why there is so much room for joy and rediscovery in this stage of life. Instead of a midlife crisis, we can have a midlife awakening.

What you will discover

  • Why the midlife crisis or funk is so common and how coaching tools can help.
  • Some of the big questions I’m asking now that my kids and business are no longer dependent on me.
  • Why midlife can be an opportunity for growth and gain, not just loss.
  • How to bring more intentionality to your life, relationships, and community as you come into midlife.
  • What to do to bring joyful experiences from your past into your present.
  • How to preserve your mental health as you enter midlife.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 302.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Brooke: Hello my friends. I’m so excited today because I have one of our master coaches on the podcast who is going to talk with me and to me, maybe coach me on midlife. And we were just talking before we got on here. It’s not a midlife crisis. It’s a midlife awakening. So welcome to the podcast my very favorite Suzy Rosenstein.

Suzy: I am so happy to be here.

Brooke: Yay. Tell us a little bit about you.

Suzy: Well, I am a midlife coach. Thanks to finding you. So my story was pretty typical where I was in a job for a long time, 19 years. I was unhappy. Yada yada yada, didn’t know anything about life coaching. And then I got the knock at the door and I got laid off, which turned out to be the gift that I was waiting for but didn’t know I really wanted. I was so fearful and I was in what I call a midlife funk for about five years.

Brooke: Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize it was that long.

Suzy: Oh yeah. From 45 to 50. Miserable. And the thing that really was challenging is that there was nothing wrong with my job. And I didn’t know about life coaching, so I really felt that I was just very confused and very lost. And more confused than overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to solve my problem. I didn’t know how to get the clarity, which was so unusual because in my whole life I was always able to figure things out.

And five years went by and I was talking to people and I was whining to friends and I was hoping that somebody would just tell me what to do. But it was very confusing I think in particular because my job was fine. It was me. And I think I determined eventually that I was just so stagnant. I just hadn’t grown in such a long time. So I got laid off and that was harsh, but it ended up being amazing. And I hired one of your coaches.

Brooke: See? That’s what we do. That’s how we do. We hire coaches, we get coached, and then we decide this is the answer to the universe. That’s so great. I always think about all the people that don’t get coaching, that don’t have the opportunity to kind of come into an understanding of their own brain as they’re going through these kinds of transitions that we go through in our life.

So it’s interesting because I’m 47. So I’m kind of like, right in the middle of that five-year period. And I personally was super excited for my kids to go to college because I always felt like I have - I’m very independent. My kids are very independent. I have a whole life, a whole business, friends, community, all of my students, all of my clients. I was excited about it.

And I took them away to college and came back and oh my gosh, I think I did it in a way that most people don’t. Dropping both of them off on the very same weekend. My kids are very close in age and one of them went a year early. So it was kind of shocking in that way.

So I had the kids go away and I always say I don’t have an empty nest. I’m still here in it. It’s not empty. But they went away and then the other transition - the thing that’s funny that I’m curious to talk to you about is then all of a sudden, we have this big house and my husband was there, and I was there, and we were looking at each other like, who are you? What’s happening? What are we supposed to do with each other?

We were like, do we cook dinner? It was really interesting kind of this puzzling, the house is so quiet, it’s just the two of us. And it wasn’t even like our kids were such an active part of our life, but they were here. And so that was kind of alarming. And I think this is true for most couples who have raised children together. I think that our society now has a lot more co-parenting than it has historically.

So I think in the past, it was a lot the women were raising the children and then the children would go off, and so that job kind of disappeared in somewhat of the way, and then the woman was just taking care of the man, and kind of in that traditional way. But Chris and I really raised our kids together as a team. That was a huge project that we had together.

And they were gone and we’re like, how do we relate to each other now if we’re not parenting our kids in the same way on the day-to-day basis? So that was kind of alarming. And then the other thing that’s happening in my life right now is we kind of laugh about it because we had our two dependents, which were our boys, but we also had our dependent, which was our business.

Our business has always been dependent on us to work in it and build it and grow it and make it mature, really. Very similarly to the way that you raise a kid. And our business kind of graduated this year too because we have this huge team that’s really running it, and it’s really functioning on its own.

Chris is really ready to move on from the business, so we’ll no longer be business partners, and I’ll kind of be active in the business as a coach and as the CEO, but in a different way than Chris and I had been before. So I think all of those things at one time, and we have so much money now.

We’ve changed from being in a certain income bracket to having more money than you can even imagine as a couple, which is also identity rattling and the success that we’ve had. So we keep looking at each other going, “What’s happening?” What’s going on? We got to figure this out. Like, what does our future look like?

And so I’m just letting myself be exactly where I am, which is a little bit of no man’s land. And I had some time where I was really grieving the kids leaving and I let myself cry and process that through, and I really feel like I’m on the other side of the acuteness of that. Obviously there’s still a lot of adjustment. But I’m also in this place where I don’t really know who I am anymore.

But I wouldn’t say it’s a funk in the sense that I think because I have coaching, it’s not manifesting that way, but it’s definitely uncomfortable and it’s definitely new. So that’s where I am. What are your thoughts?

Suzy: Well, so many. First of all, the one thing you didn’t mention, which I think is interesting because I found it challenging, as well as everything you mentioned, but the one thing is figuring out the relationship that you want to have with your adult children. And that is really interesting because you have to really think about how you want to show up in that space and fight those urges. And we love urges at The Life Coach School. Fight those urges to just behave and respond the way you used to.

So all that is so interesting. But yeah, you’re talking about an identity shift, an identity transition. And because you have all these tools, it is such a gift. Like I always imagine all the life coach tools in a pink - it’s pink - in a pink tool belt around my waist. And it’s so funny, at one network meeting I actually did receive a pink tool belt.

Brooke: Put all the models in. That’s awesome.

Suzy: Exactly what I want. But it is that identity shift and I’m so glad to hear you say that you allowed yourself to just be present with all that emotion because it’s jarring. So many of us don’t think it’s going to be as big a deal. And it’s not that it’s a big deal for everybody, but it is different. And it is something to pause on.

I have three boys and one of them is a drummer and when he left, I thought, oh good, I don’t have to hear those drums. I actually missed it because it made me so happy. And that was jarring too. But he couldn’t believe it when I divulged that I actually missed it. But of course, he’s not looking at it from the perspective of I’m a mom and I’m trying to figure out who I am.

But I think that’s the real shift. It’s going from being shocked and surprised that it’s affecting you more than you thought it would be, and then having to look at loss and shifting this perception that so many of us have that we are losing something and slowly re-evaluating it as gain or as opportunity or something like that.

So I love that you’re really thinking about just marinating in what is right now. And so many of my clients who have made a giant shift of whatever kind, the ones who have given them the gift of time, not to solve their problems and fix everything so soon, so many things have come their way that they wouldn’t have ever been open to as a result of forcing a plan or forcing a very strict way to solve the problem and to become engaged and land on the other side of things.

Brooke: I think the interesting thing too, my son Christian and I have been - it’s interesting. Our relationship has changed quite a bit since this happened. And he said to us the other day, he’s like, “You know what the weirdest thing is, mom? I realized that you and dad are people.” And we were cracking up. He’s like, “No, it’s so weird.”

He’s like, you go your whole life and you don’t think of your parents as people. You think of them as your parents but then all of a sudden you have conversations and you realize that they’re people that were once your age. And it’s like, his perception of us has changed so much.

And one of the things Christian and I talked about, and Christian is my oldest. He’s 19. And he’s going through a huge identity crisis, right? He’s like, who am I going to be in the world as an adult? He’s trying to figure out who he is not as a kid, not quite an adult yet, and I’m trying to figure out who I am as a mom that doesn’t have children at home and a business owner who isn’t the sole hustler in the business.

We’re kind of having an identity crisis together and my younger son Connor doesn’t seem to be quite having that yet. He’s just having a lot of fun at this point, which I think is fantastic. And he rarely texts me and rarely talks to me and every once in a while I’ll say I miss you and he’ll write back and say I miss you too.

But that’s a very different - we’re trying to figure out our relationship whereas I feel like he’s doing much more of his independence thing, whereas Christian is much more engaged with me, talking about - and I’m doing a lot of coaching with him, which is a very different relationship. He hadn’t been open to that as much before either.

So totally, I hear what you’re saying about the relationship with the adult children is very different. And the relationship with their dad is very different. And Chris and I have spent hours and hours and hours talking to each other about what we want our relationship to be like in the future, and what does marriage actually mean to us. And I think when you get married when you’re 25, at least when I got married when I was 25, I got married because that’s what you’re supposed to do and I wanted to have some kids. And he was cute, you know what I mean?

And so now it’s kind of like, one of the things I like to do is always re-decide everything. So would I start my business again? Would I buy this house again? Would I buy this outfit again? Would I marry this guy again? And so Chris and I were asking that like, would we get married? Like, if we met today in a bar and started talking to each other, do we think we would get married?

And we both are kind of like, we think we would. And here’s why. And we’re kind of like, talking through the things that we’re attracted to each other, but the other part of it is - and this is interesting. I want to hear about your marriage about this too is we kind of both don’t really know where we’re heading because we’re like, what do we want the rest of our life to look like? And both of us are kind of in that no man’s land and we’re allowing ourselves to be there, kind of where we want it to go.

Whereas I feel like when you’re 25, we had a much more clear idea of the path. And so I’m a true believer in you shouldn’t just do what you’ve always done. You should always recreate whatever it is and make it even better. So did you go through that at all with your husband? You did, okay.

Suzy: Oh my gosh, yeah. So the thing is that 20 to 40 or 25 to 45 or whatever but in midlife, you’ve had 20 years, even if you didn’t know exactly what you were going to do, it was pretty charted. Like you are going to establish yourself professionally, you’re going to buy a house or figure out where you want to life and what kind of lifestyle you want. If you want kids, you’re going to be working on that.

And so you’re pretty much under control in terms of large things. Maybe you don’t know exactly where you want to go on vacation and maybe when the kids go to school there’s some decisions and whatever. But the main things, like the stakes in the ground are kind of charted out.

And now, anything goes really and we need to rely on our ability to dream. And one of the exercises that you take students through is this what are 20 things you really want, and so many of us can’t even identify 20 things that you want. And I kind of found that. It’s like wow, if the sky is the limit, what is it that I want? The other thing I noticed about my kids, and I’m sure yours are the same way. Very entertaining. They’re funny, they’re entertaining, and we don’t really realize how much we rely on that.

Brooke: And their energy, right? In the house.

Suzy: And their friends and it’s really a diversion. We end up very focused and everything. So when that’s gone, I remember the first time we took a vacation together without kids. We were in Quebec City at this quaint little place and we sat down and I’m more outgoing than my husband is. He’s a little quieter and so we’re sitting there and I’m not my outgoing self and he is his quiet self. And I was thinking to myself, I better step it up a notch here.

Brooke: Or you’re going to be one of those couples that has dinner and doesn’t say a word to each other, right?

Suzy: I had to remember, who am I? And I’m allowed now, there’s room. It’s not that I wasn’t allowed before but now there’s room for that energy and that personality to step forward again. And what’s been so interesting with my husband is that he’s funnier than I ever gave him credit for. Now the kids aren’t as present, he’s not hysterical, but you can definitely see a lot of humor in his quiet way.

Brooke: Interesting.

Suzy: But even right now when we’re recording this, it’s around the holidays and we don’t have plans right now for the holidays and we’ve had plans consistently for this week coming up for five years because the kids were at three different universities and the only week that they had was the Christmas week. So we went away.

And then now they’re not in three different universities and we didn’t make plans. And I’m just like, wow, what are we going to do? And without being intentional, we did nothing.

Brooke: Which is so interesting because don’t the kids dictate so much of the activity the whole time you’re raising them, and then all of a sudden it’s like you have to be creative, you have to be connected, you have to be on the same page, you have to decide.

Because the thing is I can think of things that I would like to do personally, but I notice that I always used to be thinking about what the kids would love to do. What is the vacation that the kids would love to do instead of like, what would I want to do and what would Chris want to do and is it the same thing? Or can we find a way to blend those things?

And it’s like a new skill we’re learning. We’re like, talking to each other. What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do? I don’t know. I’m like, okay, well we better figure out because there’s nobody else here to tell us what’s happening. And I’ve thought a lot about the typical midlife crisis where it’s the kind of cliché that the man goes out and finds a younger woman and a hot car and tries to regain his youth. And I see that.

I see that wanting to reinvent yourself in a way that reignites all those feelings of youth and freedom and joy. And I feel like we’re in a position where we’re able to do that. We have all the money we could ever want. We can travel where we want, move where we want, buy any house we want. And we’re both like, just frozen looking at each other. We’re like, what do we do? It’s really kind of a trip. And I can see how without coaching tools, it can be terrifying.

Suzy: It is terrifying. And what ends up happening if you’re really not aware of what’s going on in your brain is you become very focused on loss and sadness. And not able to really focus on the potential, the opportunity, and what it’s like to have a relationship with kids. The kids, they’re always going to be your kids. One of my sons asked me recently, “When are you going to stop treating me like a kid?” I said, “Newsflash, you’re always going to be a kid.”

Brooke: You’re always going to be my baby. That’s it.

Suzy: Sorry. Yeah, so I think it’s really getting into that mindset of well, anything is possible and I just need to prioritize thinking about it that way. I still catch myself thinking there’s an opportunity to travel or an opportunity to do some cool thing that takes me away from the house. My gut reaction is I can’t do it. It’s too complicated.

It’s always too complicated. And then I catch myself now going, well, the only thing that’s really complicated is my dog, and I have a reliable plan for my dog now. I have a guy who comes whenever I’m gone and there’s really no reason I can’t do these things. But it’s still - it’s become habitual, the way I was thinking about it for so long. Things are just way too complicated.

Brooke: Yeah. I think too for me, a lot of what I’ve been considering is like, what do I want my community of people to be? My close community of people. I’ve done some work and I’m sharing it in Scholars about how I think a lot of times we expect our mate to be all the things that we want. And I can see how if you’re thinking that way at this time in your life, you’re going to be like, time for a new mate.

And I was reading about this, like, so many women our age in their late 40s and 50s that the kids leave, they’re like okay, now that the kids are gone, they start considering like, not being married. They consider what all their options are. And I can see how if you don’t have coaching, you’re going to think that’s a solution.

You’re going to think that going out and changing the circumstance - I was just coaching someone on this today. She’s like, “But is he the right guy? Is this guy going to be the guy that makes me happy?” And I think for me, it’s much more about being conscious about what are the relationships I want to have in my life. What do I need now that my kids aren’t here every day and the kids’ parents and the kids’ friends, and that was kind of my community. How do I rebuild a community of friends and people that I want in my life?

Obviously my kids will come back around with their families is my guess, but until that point, what do I want my life to be? And I think it’s easy to be like, uhh.

Suzy: Exactly. That comes up so much. Actually, it’s a big focus in my work that when it comes to relationships, I look at the inner circle relationships and being very intentional about those. And then the friendship circle, the friends, the people that you choose to hang around with. And then the community level. The outer circle of connection and relationships in your community.

And I ask clients to really, really think about what they want and to be intentional and the phrase I use is regret-proofing your life. Like, what are the areas that you don’t want to have regrets about when it comes to the people in your world. And one of the most common regrets that people have is around relationships and wishing that they showed up and had the courage to really express their feelings the way they wanted to, and just really encouraging people to take responsibility for the way they’re showing up.

And also, to build the communities that they don’t have that they want. And I have really seen that as an entrepreneur. If I didn’t do something about it, I would just be sitting here by myself.

Brooke: Because you’re not going into an office meeting people that you can then go to dinner with or have lunch with locally. That’s my experience too.

Suzy: To really build that community of support and entertainment and fun and The Life Coach School has been - has really shown me the way there, and now I’m much more open to really engaging and connecting in other communities and going the extra mile, going on that retreat because I never regret it.

Brooke: Yeah, totally. It’s so funny, I’m the same way. Like I make all these plans and I’m like, why did we make all these plans? And then I go and I’m like, oh, that was so fun, we should do that again. So and I think that having the foresight to make the plans, that’s one thing Chris and I have been talking a lot about lately is our life was so kind of pre-planned for us that now taking the time to be like, where do we want to go on vacation, what do we want to do together, what do we want to do separately?

Like, what are some things that he wants to go do and I’m really into hiking and I’d love to go on a retreat and go hiking with women and do yoga and do that sort of thing, and how does that work then? He’s going to be here alone, which feels weird.

And so we’re trying to figure that out. We’re like, who wants to be alone for a week? I mean, I know I do, but I don’t know if my husband does. So I think that’s just a huge adjustment to figuring out, okay, this is different. Whereas with kids and being married and all of that, that adjustment is, I don’t know, somewhat forced upon you too, but you know it’s coming. This, I feel so unprepared for.

Suzy: Isn’t it funny? Because…

Brooke: Yeah, we should be prepared but we’re not.

Suzy: Exactly. And I really didn’t see it coming, which I find so strange.

Brooke: Do most people feel that way?

Suzy: Yes.

Brooke: Okay.

Suzy: My experience - no, the people in my world feel that way and they’re confused and they’re just focusing on what they can’t do. They really aren’t focused at all on what they can do. So that’s the transition. And once they get their mind around that, then the opportunities open up.

Brooke: I love the idea of reinvention. I love the idea of being able to do things that I had never considered doing because we have so much more freedom now. It’s so amazing. Like I said to Chris, I’m like, we could go to Europe for a month. We could go live somewhere, as long as we can have the dogs, for anywhere we want for like, four months on a beach somewhere.

And I will tell you that I think in some ways, that freedom is exhilarating, and in other ways, it’s terrifying because there’s so many options and so many things that we can do, and then also being in this place where we’re not actually sure what we want to do and that sort of thing. So I told him, I’m like, let’s just chill and keep talking to each other, and I’m journaling like crazy and I’m doing a lot of study on relationships, especially kind of the second half of life, which is kind of how I’m looking at it. Isn’t it crazy to think about?

Like, think of the life that I’ve already lived just being the first half. Like, I still have so much more life to live. What am I going to do? What do I want to do with that life? That’s exciting, and again, completely overwhelming.

Suzy: Exactly. And I think that’s really a problem with aging is people - well, women. I work with women - tend to have just so many negative thoughts about age being limiting and running out of time and what we make age mean in terms of opportunity and what they can still do.

And it’s really - it’s just so limiting because it happens to people in this phase of their lives. I mean, you lived - one really crazy thing happening to me, having a weird opportunity, Museum of Modern Art in my 50s. To have something that I made displayed there in an exhibition. I would have never thought that any kind of an amazing opportunity like that would come my way at this point in my 50s.

Brooke: What is that about? Isn’t that interesting? Don’t we believe that if something great was going to happen, it would have happened when we were 20 or 30, right? It would have happened when we were in college or when we were going to school or whatever. That’s when all the amazing things happen. But what if we’re totally wrong about that?

What if - like, I look at my amazing life already and what if my future is way better than anything? We think raising our kids is the most magnificent thing, and it is, but what if it’s not the most magnificent thing of our whole life? What if the grandkids are? Something else is? That’s what I want to open my mind to and let myself be a little bit overwhelmed by it for a minute. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.

Suzy: I love that. And I think it’s because we really do think that youth is better.

Brooke: Yeah, isn’t that weird? That’s so interesting. But it’s not. When I think about how I felt and what I thought and what was going on for me in my youth, you can have it. Compared to how I feel now, I just am like, oh - I talked to Christian and some of his friends, and the stuff that they’re worried about and panicked about, like posted the wrong picture on Instagram. I’m like, oh, come on. Like, it’s so much nicer to just be like, none of that matters now. I just feel so much more peaceful and confident and at home in my body and with my life.

Suzy: Exactly. And that’s why you helped me name my podcast, which is called Women in the Middle, and that’s such a beautiful name because we are women in the middle of it. We’re not at the end. We’re not at the end of it. But one of the titles I toyed with in an episode was are we older and wiser or are we older and worse?

And I really do believe that so many of us just automatically go to we’re older and worse. But I really believe yeah, we’re absolutely wiser. We’re not just older. We’re wiser. There’s so many ways that we’re wiser with relationships, with career, with just being a person in the world. Even without coaching we tend to be wiser, even if you have dramatic shenanigans going on, you’re still not the same as you were when you were 20.

Brooke: Oh gosh. And I have so many people that want to sign up for The Life Coach School certification who are in their 60s or in their 70s, and you know, they’re like, am I too old? I had someone in their early 50s asking me if they were too old to become a life coach. And I’m like, what in the world is happening that we’re thinking that the only time for school, the only time for starting a new career, the only time for beginning things is when we’re young?

I was thinking, I was saying to Chris, maybe I want to learn Italian. Maybe I want to learn how to play the guitar. And I do agree, because I watch my son learn things, it’s harder to learn when you’re older, but it’s also your choice and you have more time. Chris and I were saying, wouldn’t you love - I was walking Christian through college and we were like, wouldn’t you love to go back to college now?

As a freshman? Not stay in the dorm, for goodness sake, but just go and take classes? I’d love to go to high school again. I’d love to go to third grade. All the stuff where I didn’t think it mattered. Like, I feel like in so many ways, I’m so much more present and aware and I don’t care what other people think as much. I just - so in that way, I’m really excited for all - I can do anything. I can go back and get a degree if I wanted.

I don’t want to, but I could learn any sport, anything that I want to do. I could start playing golf. All the things. So then all of a sudden it can get, alright, that sounds like fun. And you don’t have to have a lot of money to do some of the things that are available. Taking classes at a local college, junior college or something like that and just opening your mind to - because people say to me all the time, I wish I would have - it’s like, would’ve? What do you mean? Go do it. That’s a thing, right?

Suzy: And online learning has just opened up. There’s so, so many possibilities.

Brooke: So give my listeners something they can do, especially if they’re super old like me, 47. Now listen all you youngsters. This is common so get ready. Give them something that they can do, something they can think about as kind of an exercise to - maybe they’re not feeling good. Maybe they’re feeling like they’re in a funk like you did. Maybe they’re confused like I am. What is something that they could do that could help them get closer to kind of understanding their future and where they’re heading?

Suzy: It’s so funny Brooke because in that last question that you asked me I actually forgot what I was going to say. You jumped in and I went, I think I just had a midlife moment.

Brooke: Oh my god, we didn’t even talk about that. We didn’t even talk about how our brains totally - wait, what’s your name? I know you’ve worked for me for five years but I got nothing.

Suzy: Oh my gosh yeah, I just totally went blank and it was something really good. I’ll let you know if it comes back. Okay, here’s one of my favorite activities that I have worksheet on and it just seems to really, really help people. And you don’t even need the worksheet. But I’m a firm believer that whatever has sparked joy in your past is highly likely to spark joy again. And so I just remembered what I was going to say so I’m going to write it down.

Brooke: Okay, awesome.

Suzy: Okay, so sparking joy. So the thing is that so many of us are so disconnected to reflecting on this kind of thing. So I take clients through an exercise of going through different chapters of their life. You can divide it up however you want. It could be elementary school, it could be junior high, it could be when your parents got divorced. It doesn’t matter.

The idea is to look for a moment of joy in whatever period that was. So even when something traumatic happened, there can be a moment of joy during that phase. And that became really clear to me. My father died when I was 12, but when I took myself through this exercise, I remembered something extremely joyful that happened in 1976, and that was when I took tap dancing for the first time. And what do you know? I’m tap dancing again.

Brooke: Are you really? Good for you.

Suzy: Okay, it’s a little embarrassing. I’m highly afraid of falling, but I am in…

Brooke: That’s so awesome. Are you going to tap for us at mastermind? I think yes.

Suzy: No.

Brooke: I think yes.

Suzy: Oh my gosh. Okay, but the point is unless you’re really looking for this kind of stuff, it’s very hard to remember. But it’s enough to shake you up a little bit as to what did bring me joy and that would be a bit of a roadmap to what you might be able to take from that and bring into your future.

So the example I like to give is mud pies. I enjoyed making mud pies when I was around 10. And I remember it vividly, in the backyard, making like, I don’t know, it was kind of like a fort. Really getting my hands muddy and really creating the mud pies and watching them dry and whatever. So what can I take from that? Because I don’t have a lot of other memories.

And what I realized is I really did enjoy working with my hands, and now I remember how much I enjoyed taking a cake decorating class, and I see how much I enjoy playing with beads and wire. And so what happens with clients is by just pausing and carving up their life into different times and just look for moments of joy. Not trauma. Not crazy stuff that happened, but just what was really great about that period.

And the clients have had so many interesting things, and then it really gets them thinking. But why did I like that camp ground so much when I was a kid? What was it about going horseback riding? What was it about being competitive? Why did I like marching band so much? What was it about that that I could bring forward?

And I think that sort of thing is very positive. It focuses on joy. It’s completely in your control to have those thoughts, remember that feeling, and decide where you want to go with it. Your world really is your oyster.

Brooke: I love it. I loved playing volleyball. When I played volleyball in high school competitively. And we just drove by here in our town, we just drove by this place that has competitive volleyball for anyone who wants to sign up. And I was like, oh my gosh, we should totally do that. That would be so much fun.

But it feels like, terrifying, because you’re just like, do I know how to play volleyball anymore? I’m like, afraid I’m going to get hurt because I’ve seen my husband think that he’s 17 years old playing soccer and he’s always getting hurt. But those are the kind of things. I totally agree with you. It’s like, it takes a lot more effort to kind of reignite it, but it’s totally worth it. Okay, what was the thing you forgot to tell me?

Suzy: Oh my gosh, the reason that so many of us don’t think about learning again is because it feels too indulgent. It feels too indulgent to shift the time, the resources, to something that’s purely for you. And so, so many people tell me that. They’re just so uncomfortable doing it. Like, if they were going to take a course and it cost a few thousand dollars, I don’t know, I couldn’t do that.

Because right again, the habitual thinking is well, my kids need something or the house needs something or I need to fix the bathroom. So to put yourself first is giant shift, which is why I started this new membership called Finally First because when I was talking to all these women about what is it really, what’s really missing, what is the block, and it is this idea that they have a lot of difficulty being finally first.

Brooke: Oh my gosh, so interesting. I love it. I love everything about it. Okay, so if somebody wants to join your membership or work with you or is going through a midlife awakening like I am and wants to talk more, read more about it, where can they find you?

Suzy: Okay, awesome. Well I’ve got this really great freebie called nine secrets to get unstuck in your 50s that you can grab at Or they can check out the That’s the membership. But it all goes to my website.

Brooke: Lovely. And Suzy is also a part of my community at The Life Coach School, so if you join there to get certified, you will definitely meet her and get to enjoy all of the wonderful things that is Suzy. And I just appreciate you coming on. This is your first time being on the podcast, isn’t it?

Suzy: It is, and there’s one other thing I wanted to touch on before. I know you’re a dog lover, as am I, and I have done a lot of thinking about the concept of the empty nest dog. And what seems to happen is when we have an empty nest and we feel a loss, this is an amazing opportunity to show some love on a dog. If you're a dog person, if you’re open to being a dog person, I’ve read so much positive feedback about the role a dog can fill in terms of giving love and receiving love and just I don’t know, I really believe a dog makes a house a home.

Brooke: Well, you’re preaching to the choir. And I think too just having their energy in the house too makes a huge difference. If we come home and our dog sitter has our dogs, we’re like, so confused. We’re like, who’s house is this? What’s happening? Where are my dogs? They’re just so delighted. So yes, I absolutely agree.

So that’s another thing that we totally agree on. Suzy, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This was an awesome conversation. I’m sure that we will - let’s have you back on when I’m on the other side of this and we can talk about - when I’m like, 65? Is that when I’m going to come out of this awakening?

And I’ll keep you guys updated on what I’m learning and some of the decisions I’m making. But if you’re going through it too and you want some help, make sure you look up Suzy. Thanks again darling, I’ll talk to you soon.

Suzy: Thank you. It was just amazing to have this chat with you. Just remember, focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do.

Brooke: Love it. Okay.

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