Stephanie looks back and distills the lessons from the conversations she had with guests in Season 1 and then looks forward to what’s coming up in Season 2.
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Tell me a fantastic “forty story.”
Listen, Rate & Subscribe
Stephanie: Hello, I'm Stephanie McLaughlin. Welcome to season two of the Forty Drinks Podcast. Today, you've got me all to yourself. Before we get into the season two interviews, I wanted to take a look back at some of the conversations that I had during season one and some of the things I learned from the amazing people who joined me in the first 20 episodes.
Stephanie: Then we'll take a look at some of the conversations you can look forward to in season two. All right, jumping right in. In the first episode, I told you the story of the 40 Drinks Project, which is how I celebrated my 40th birthday, and ultimately how that project turned into this podcast.
Stephanie: When I turned 40, I decided that I wanted to have 40 drinks with 40 people in 40 different places, and that each drink would have some thematic connection to my friend or our relationship, or how we knew each other, or the time we used to spend together. And I pulled people from all walks of my life, literally grammar school, high school, college, different jobs, an old boyfriend, um, people I hadn't seen in 5, 10, 15, I think even 20 years. It was a blast. It took me a year to accomplish, and in the end, it changed my life completely. So if you wanna hear more about that, go back to episode one.
Stephanie: In episode two I spoke to Janna, who is a friend, a colleague, and was also one of my 40 drinks. And from that conversation I really took that play is an excellent on ramp] to finding yourself, which is really interesting considering the next episode of the podcast. After joining a roller derby team and choosing an alter ego, Jan found that that alter ego allowed her to be somebody else. But that, that somebody else was really, felt more like her than the person she was every day. And it kind of opened up a path for her to, um, really follow through and kind of walk into herself. So that was really neat.
Stephanie: In episode three, we met Jamie, who is also a friend and was also uh, one of my 40 drinks. And one of her colleagues said to her something that I think we should all listen to, which is, stop shoulding all over yourself. And we really talked about how we spend so much time 'shoulding' that we forget to just be and enjoy ourselves. She also talked about how she goldilocks'ed her way into finding what she really wanted. Um, for her that was mostly where she lives, and a lot of it was related to weather. New England was too cold. Florida was too hot, and now she's in the mid-Atlantic and it feels just right. Sometimes we have to work our way through several options that are just too something before we find what fits us just right.
Stephanie: In episode four, I talked to Kim, who lost several people who were really important to her during her thirties, and she learned that grief can really be a difficult and debilitating copilot.
Stephanie: You know, we all have baggage, but really it's our job to find a way to deal with and carry that baggage so we can move forward in life. And if we play emotional whack-a-mole, if we just try to avoid that baggage or avoid the emotional things that are difficult or challenging or unpleasant for us, we never really get beyond loss or trauma.
Stephanie: Also Kim did a project similar to mine on Instagram. She called it her 40 to 40, where for the 40 days before she turned 40, she posted a picture and some insights every day that really were what she was thinking about turning 40 and one of the big things that came out of that for her was recognizing, understanding, and giving herself grace for not really knowing who she is. So instead of looking at that milestone birthday as I'm 40 years old and I have no idea who I am, she really kind of came at it from the approach of, I'm 40 years old and now I get to find out who I really am. And that's a really interesting piece, the mindset of being open to change and open to the unknown. And that's really helped Kim enter her forties in a really positive way.
Stephanie: In episode five, I spoke with Susan, who is, uh, someone I've known in the local business community for many years, and she is an image consultant that I have worked with at different times along the way. And one of the things that I learned from her is when you have a bizarre attraction or calling to something, even if it doesn't suit you at all, or it doesn't make any sense, you have to listen to it.
Stephanie: It may be the real you trying to get your attention, especially if that bizarre want makes your heart happy. So when you feel that calling, answer it. And for Susan, it was a pair of Birkenstock old school, dark brown, suede Birkenstock that she had no idea why she was drawn to. But over the next several years, that pair of shoes really transitioned and evolved into who Susan really was, and a lot of that was being drawn to things that she loved as a child.
Stephanie: So, when you get that calling for something that doesn't make any sense whatsoever, you really have to listen to it. There might be some wisdom coming through.
Stephanie: In episode six, I talked to Eric, who said some of our shoulds, those shoulds we talked about with Jamie, may be left over from our parents' generation and the ideas that some of these things that we're supposed to do is because that's the way our parents' generation did it. That's what they know. And sometimes there's a real tension between the fact that our parents worked so hard to make sure we had opportunities that they didn't and we could do things that they couldn't, and yet they may try to hold us to the same standards and timelines that worked for them and their generation.
Stephanie: So those traditions of their generation may not have completely fallen apart, and yet they're trying to apply them and their point of view to our lives. A lot of this happens when we're growing up in our teens, in our twenties, and we learn some of those things that we, we think we should do. All of the things that are gonna make us a successful adult human being.
Stephanie: Sometimes their advice may not be the best fit for your generation, your life circumstance, your personality, any of those things. So we have to unlearn those shoulds.
Stephanie: Another thing Eric and I talked about that I think is important is, you cannot believe when your brain tells you, if this is who I am now, I'm probably not gonna change later. It's just not true. You can't believe the hype. The only thing we can really count on in this world is change, and that includes ourselves as well. If you are still the same person you were five or 10 or 20 years ago, oof, things might be getting difficult for you. Things might feel like they're not fitting.
Stephanie: Again, this being open to change and being willing to follow some of these threads that don't make any sense and throw off the advice and the shoulds of the folks who only have our best interests at heart are difficult but necessary.
Stephanie: In episode seven, I met Selena, who for 15 years was a standup comic in New York City, and after 15 years, it just stopped being fun. And she thought she might be ready to give it up, but that was terrifying because if she didn't have standup, then who was she? Because standup had become her identity. It was what she did outside of work. It was her community. It represented almost all of her friends. So did that make her a failure to push so hard for so long and then simply walk away?
Stephanie: Whew. That's a big question and a tough one. But her boyfriend assured her. It doesn't mean you're not good at it. It doesn't mean you're a failure. It doesn't mean it didn't work, so you took your ball and went home. But deciding to take a different path doesn't undo any of your accomplishments. It doesn't mean the time you invested was a waste. It just means it's time to pivot. It's time to see a little change in yourself.
Stephanie: In episode eight, I met Gigi who had an amazing story about not asking for enough in a professional environment and letting the situation snowball and get so bad that she had a complete and total breakdown and literally had to stop working for a time. It's a great reminder for all of us. Are you asking for enough? It may be a recurring theme in Gigi's life, but it's a really good question for the rest of us too. The other thing about Gigi was that when she went back to work, she had a completely different approach to her professional life and sometimes after a transition, she said, we need to re people our lives. Some of the people who were standards in a previous incarnation might not necessarily fit or understand or make sense in this new incarnation. So we need to go out and find the people who do.
Stephanie: In episode nine, I talked to Melissa who talked about the fact that carving your own path, Personally and professionally, requires energy to create that path in addition to simply walking it. So sometimes when we go outta bounds, when we go outside the societal norms, it's great for us, but it requires a lot of energy and that's okay because it can be really rewarding and really fulfilling.
Stephanie: In episode 10, I met Brianne, who is a recovering sex and love addict and outed herself just before her 40th birthday. She had been in recovery for maybe a decade at that point, but she decided to write an article for the Huffington Post that was seen millions of times, and as a working actress in Hollywood, that's a big deal. So she said, if you find yourself having a dark night of a soul, things are likely to get bumpy, but the other side is gonna be so much more satisfying than where you are now that it's worth going through the bumps.
Stephanie: In episode 11, I talked to Brooke, who said sometimes being strong prolongs our suffering. She's someone who had managed depression and anxiety throughout her life, but after she had a baby, just before she turned 40, she found herself in postpartum depression and anxiety, and the tools and strategies for dealing with those challenging periods stopped working, because her anxiety and depression changed form when she had that baby. So only by asking for and getting help did she get her extra large helping of feelings under control.
Stephanie: In episode 12, I spoke with Father Evil who said sometimes it really is that easy. When he turned 40, Lou Avira, who's better known in the horror community as Father Evil, decided he was tired of fitting in. He decided to do what he wanted and that he didn't care what other people thought. And that included his siblings, his parents.
Stephanie: Throwing off those chains allowed him to embrace and become this character of Father Evil, who he really thinks feels more like him than Lou, and that makes him feel weightless. It makes him feel Zen. And so he found his true self by getting tired of fitting in.
Stephanie: In episode 13, I talked to Tara who told me that a degree of self examination is necessary to determine whether we're making decisions because they're easy, because they're assumed, or because they're what others expect of us.
Stephanie: As she was coming up to her 40th birthday, Tara wondered whether she was doing things just because the world told her that that's what she was supposed to do, and she wondered whether she wanted to have a baby, which really brought into focus how the 40 milestone is different from 30 or 50. At 30, the baby question is not that pressing. At 50, the baby question is mostly off the table. So at 40, that question is really a matter of biology. And in the end, she chose to have a baby on her own.
Stephanie: In episode 14, I spoke with Mindy who said that different speeds are okay and they might actually be better. Through her twenties and thirties. Mindy moved at warp speed, something I can completely relate to.
Stephanie: She was fast, not only in her movements, but also in her thought processes. She used to think that if she didn't get something done, like right now, she wasn't doing it right, but of course, the 40 transition brought her to her knees and now she's shifted from go, go, go to slow flow. And that made her wonder, right, according to who.
Stephanie: So now she's okay with things taking a little longer, whether it's movement, whether it's thought, processes, decisions. And that's really helped her find some happiness.
Stephanie: In episode 15, I talked to Nikki who said, When you go through a healing journey, you either find the person you lost or you create a whole different person. And this happened to Nikki when she realized that, after about eight years, she felt completely invisible in her marriage and that led her to therapy, where she learned that the life she had built was not really one she built for her, but built to meet sort of societal expectations of what a woman was supposed to do.
Stephanie: Again, the dreaded should creeping up on us. And once she left that marriage, she was able to create something that fit her much better.
Stephanie: In episode 16, I talked to my friend Ann, who after a brutal year of change and loss, didn't know what next looked like, but that's actually okay, and it's really kind of the point.
Stephanie: A lot of times we don't know what next looks like. So Ann just kept putting one foot in front of the other and after a while the fog lifted and her life returned to technic olor. So sometimes really just putting one foot in front of the other is the heroic act.
Stephanie: In episode 17, I talked to Julie, who is a declutterer. And who said that clutter is anything that prevents you from creating the life you choose, deserve and desire. If you look around at home, at work, at the surfaces and closets, but also at the thought patterns and people and traditions in your life, it's interesting to start asking, are they serving you or are they keeping you stuck?
Stephanie: In episode 18, I met Joanne who had always hesitated to call herself an artist, but she spent the summer before she turned 40 painting and drawing and photographing mangoes that fell in the backyard, at a friend's house in Florida. Joanne thought she couldn't draw, so how could she be an artist? A wise friend of her has said, No, Joanne, you can draw. You just have to accept the way you draw, which is pretty profound advice for any of us on any subject that we are struggling with.
Stephanie: In episode 19, I met Jenny who said it's okay to say I'm not okay. , That's what Jenny had to do when she found herself married to an abusive alcoholic. And as she was used to being someone who could do it all, Jenny found herself struggling to lean on her network, which she found truly humbling, but also effective.
Stephanie: And in episode 20, I met Fiona, who like me suffers with chronic Lyme. Nope, I'm gonna say that differently. Who like me, manages chronic Lyme disease and her lesson was to trust yourself.
Stephanie: In her thirties, she listened to her doctors and followed their suggestions. She respected their authority, but after more than a decade of frustration with chronic illness and not enough improvement, she needed to trust herself a lot more and the doctors a lot less. And since she's been doing that, she's been feeling a lot better.
Stephanie: All right, one more lesson from the first season for me, and that was the learning curve. So this is a completely non 40 lesson I learned. Um, and that is how challenging and intricate it is to produce a weekly podcast. There are lots of parts of this process that come very easily to me, but audio editing is not one of them.
Stephanie: And season one was a trial by fire, steep learning curve. There were people along the way who helped, including my friend Jeanette Riendeau, who produced the first half of Season One, and Dave Jackson and Cianna Stewart, who I met at Podfest. There were people in the podcast groups on Facebook who generously answered questions.
Stephanie: There was Simona Constantini, who I met in one of those groups and who pitched in to help me slay some technical gremlins. And there was my good friend Corey Stulce, who launched a podcast on the same day as me. I like to say we're raising them as twins, and he talked me down a few times and we worked together to learn this.
Stephanie: So if not for the podcasting village, I would not have made it to season two.
Stephanie: All right. I'm gonna pause for a moment. This is where I usually ask you to look down at your phone and either rate or share the podcast, which you're still welcome to do, but I had an idea recently. I wanna give a try. I know I could ask you to follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and again, you're you're welcome to do that.
Stephanie: But I'd also like to invite you to connect with me on Marco Polo. This is an app that I use to keep in touch with friends and family. I usually describe it as a video voicemail. It's somewhere we can get to know each other better, and that's something I'd really like to do. So search my name Stephanie McLaughlin. I'm the one in a purple shirt and shades.
Stephanie: All right, now let's look at season two. Interestingly, we started season one with Janna and the concept of play, because coming up next is Mike, who is so invested in the concept of play that he started an organization called Playful Humans. I think you're really gonna like that one.
Stephanie: I'll talk to Kim, who at the age of 42, overcame disordered eating and exercise habits and obsessing over her weight to find joyful movement, body acceptance and food freedom. I think that's something a lot of us can relate to.
Stephanie: In an upcoming episode, I'll talk with Elle, who in her thirties got suicidally depressed and while she did all the things she was told would cure her, none of it worked. So she literally kick boxed her way out of depression. She became an Ironman athlete. She ran over a mountain and she says she did it all to prove her worthiness. But then she entered her forties and felt a little bit of hallelujah. She says, social expectations can kiss my round bottom. Elle is a bundle of sass who today is known as the Fear Maven, and I think you're gonna love her.
Stephanie: Carrie is learning that her forties are freeing and that she feels more comfortable in her own skin, even if it's starting to droop in some places.
Stephanie: On her 39th birthday, Melissa decided to leave her marriage after being with her husband for 14 years. She moved to Puerto Rico and now she runs a mental health agency and is an artist. James talks about how life is a journey, not a destination, and what that means for him. Will found his voice and his purpose at age 44, and Toby left an abusive controlling relationship at age 40. She talks a little bit about how she found herself there and how she got out.
Stephanie: I also talked to Sheban who decided to celebrate his 40th birthday by hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, which he almost had me believing was something I could do. , It's not, trust me. I came down off of that conversation. He also talks about how he was completely dissatisfied with his life, even though it looked like he had all the things he was supposed to have from the outside, and how personal growth took him on a different path in life. It's a really interesting conversation, especially considering he's an immigrant.
Stephanie: And later in the season I'm gonna talk to Emily, who is just 36 and a half, but is already starting to think about turning 40, what she wants to do before then and how she wants to celebrate.
Stephanie: She wants to talk about turning 40 from the point of view of someone who's in the in between, as she calls it.
Stephanie: So there's that and so much more coming up in season two. Thanks for being here with me today. I hope I've wedded your appetite for big gooey conversations about turning 40 and all the wonderful, maddening and humbling transitions we go through during the decade between 35 and 45.
Stephanie: The 40 Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing Communications.