When she was 35, Diane Woodford was living a pretty picture. She was married with two kids and a dog, living in her dream house, and driving a minivan to her dream job. She had no idea that everything was about to blow up. She says the next decade was when she transitioned from a caterpillar to a butterfly. But first, she had to make some decisions that not everyone would agree with but ultimately led to both her – and her family – thriving.

Guest Bio

Diane is a retired critical care nurse, instructor, author, podcaster, philanthropist, world traveler, one-love ambassador, mentor, wife, mother, and nana. Diane has a heart for serving humanity and raising the vibrations in whatever space she enters. Diane and her husband Charles are on an incredible journey of being love in action wherever they feel called to go. They call it their “Go Where I Send You Journey.”

Turning 40 and Emerging from the Cocoon

In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie interviews Diane Woodford, a woman who has experienced multiple transformative periods in her life. Diane shares her journey of going through a divorce and leaving her children behind to start a new life on her own in California, and finding the courage to heal unresolved issues with her father. She discusses the importance of trusting oneself, giving oneself grace, and surrendering to the shifts and changes that life brings. Diane also talks about her ongoing journey to reach her dream of going to Paris and the unexpected adventures and achievements she has unlocked along the way. This episode is filled with wisdom, inspiration, and a reminder to embrace the journey and trust the process.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Diane’s realization that her marriage was coming to an end and the feelings of discomfort and out-of-sync that led to their separation.
  • The importance of uncovering and addressing unresolved issues, such as Diane’s relationship with her father, to find healing and transformation.
  • The courage it took for Diane to leave her children behind and start a new life in California, and the positive impact it had on both her and her children’s growth and independence.
  • The power of surrendering to the shifts and changes in life, and the importance of giving oneself grace during the journey.
  • Diane’s ongoing journey to reach her dream of going to Paris and the unexpected achievements and adventures she has experienced along the way. 

Rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast if you enjoyed this episode!

Guest Resources

Connect with Diane at the Paths 2 Transformation website

Diane’s book, Clearly Ready: See yourself in your next season

“When God Winks” by Squire D. Rushnell

Do you have the Midlife Ick? 

Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from this insidious midlife malaise. www.fortydrinks.com/ick

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Stephanie: Hi, Diane. Thanks so much for joining me today.

Diane: Hi, Stephanie. Thanks for having me.

Stephanie: I am so pleased to have you today, but I'm very curious because when we first chatted, you are a traveler. So I want to know where in the world you are today.

Diane: So, I am back where it all began. I am in Michigan, where I was born and raised. So, we are at the beginning for this story. How about that? How about that? Yes.

Stephanie: to be today. What a riot. That's perfect.

Diane: Yeah.

Stephanie: All right, well then let's just jump right in. So tell me how do we get to the beginning of your story? Set us up for where our story begins.

Diane: All right, then so our story's going to begin at around age 35 At age 35, there was so much happening with me. There was a transformation that was starting. There was a shifting that was occurring. I was a new nurse. I was a mom and I was in a marriage. I was at the beginning of where everything was going to blow up and I didn't even know it.

I was at like my dream come true. I was in my dream house with my two kids, 2. 5 with the dog, you know, the minivan and all of that. And I was happy. I was like, yes, but I didn't know what was coming.

Stephanie: Well, isn't that a pretty picture?

Diane: Oh, yeah. Yes, ma'am.

Stephanie: So, okay, so you achieved the pretty picture and then what happened?

Diane: And then. It got all blown to pieces. It was just shattered. Um, I allowed my children, you know, I gave permission for my children to go and live with their dad, which was very hard because my children were my life. At that point. Um, and when I did that, it was intentional, but I didn't know it at the time because what was happening was this little caterpillar was be coming a butterfly.

So it was in that stage where you were just kind of letting things go and just hurting and trying to come out of it. So in the process, children went to live with their dad, their biological dad, because I was married second time at that point. a divorce was soon to follow because it was just things had really gotten shooken up.

And, as a nurse, there was this journey ahead of me. And I said, I got to get out of this space. So I was in Georgia at the time. Right. And it's like, I got to get out of this space. And so travel nursing, and I love to travel. Right. And so I grabbed hold to that and made a plan to go to California.

Stephanie: Okay All right, before we go to California back up a couple of steps How did you know the marriage was coming to an end? What was going on?

Diane: Right. That's such a good question. And it's like, really, Stephanie, how do any of us know, right. It's so unique for us all. So what I can say is I began to just feel uncomfortable in it. A relationship, a situation that fit so perfectly was not fitting anymore. It was just out of sync. And, you know, A year before we filed for the divorce, we kind of separated a little bit.

We came back together and I call that going back into something after the expiration date because we both knew what it was, but we weren't ready to accept it at that point. And because we came back together to kind of force a fit, you know what happens when you force a fit. Things just really break to pieces.

So instead of just being able to gracefully part, we tried to force the fit and it just shattered. It shattered to just let us know it's over. It's over.

Stephanie: Yeah. So I just want to go just a little bit deeper when you say, um, you started feeling uncomfortable in the relationship and before the, the first separation, what did it feel like for you when you say it didn't fit it and, and you told me before there was, there was no drama, there was no cheating, there was no violence.

I mean, this was not a bad thing and those are, those are easy ways to say, aha, this is wrong. But for you, it was a little bit more subtle. So I'm just trying to get a sense of like, how did you even begin to become aware that it, it wasn't fitting or that you didn't feel comfortable? What does not comfortable feel like in a picture perfect position.

Diane: Exactly. So, for me, one thing, it was just the peace of it all. There was such a peace. It was such an ebb and flow in the relationship, just back and forth, where the conversations were easy. Just being around was easy.

The conversations began to get a little more strained. Um, we, it's like we started on two different paths. It's like we got to an intersection, right? And I'm like, I know it's right to the left. And he's like, I know it's right to the right. And we couldn't find that common ground. To forge our way through on a common path. There was no common path. Like there was no middle, it was a right path and a left path.

And we were just pulled to different paths. And it was like really one of the hardest things ever. It was, it was really hard because like you said, it was picture perfect.

Stephanie: Right. Right. So where did you find the courage?

Diane: Whoo. Yeah, that's a good question. That's a good question. I think the best way I can answer that one Stephanie is just Mmm, you know how we have that fight or flight, where you get into a situation and there that strength within just levels up and it just comes up and say we got to do this. It's like life or death. It's like I have, if I don't get out of this. I will die. I will die. Not maybe literally, but just that my soul would die. It's like suffocation. So it's like, I got to get my breath. Right. And so it's, it's like that deep within, it's like, I got to do this. You don't really think about it a lot because if you think about it too much it'll just it'll send you on a hamster wheel.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So this marriage, dissolves and you've got two children and they're going to go live with their dad. How old were your kids?

Diane: So at that point my son was 12. My daughter was 16 and they actually already went and lived with their dad. And I, I truly believe that that was the beginning of the end because the family had already started to come to pieces. So when that decision was made, it changed the whole dynamic of the family. And there, I, there just wasn't a dynamic where it was just he and I in there without the kids.

Stephanie: Right. I, now, now that you say that, that chronology makes a lot of sense to me because when there are kids around, there's probably so much more activity and stuff and, and things to take care of that, when you take kids out of the house, and I know this because my husband and I do not have children, it's a pretty quiet existence.

Diane: Yes,

Stephanie: And it's, it, there's not a lot of things to distract you from what's going on.

Diane: Exactly. It's like the empty nester syndrome that came prematurely. Right. And I mean, speaking now about it, I have to say that there was some resentment there that I didn't have my kids. It was some deep seated resentment, not so much towards my husband or anything, just towards the situation, because I feel like as a mom, I was cheated. You know, those are my babies, right? And then I made, you know, that hard decision that turned out to be one of the best decisions I could ever make in my life, but didn't look like that then. Nothing.

Stephanie: Yeah. I mean, here's what it looks like. You, your kids go and live with their dad and then you hot foot it across the country.

Diane: Yes,

Stephanie: How did you do that?

Diane: Very carefully,

Stephanie: Okay.

Diane: Very carefully. So, the whole California message kept coming. You know, you could do travel nursing in California. So I was in Georgia. So once the decision was made that there was going to be a divorce, right? It's like, okay, I need to get away from here.

It's just too much hurt. The house that was my dream house was no longer that. It was like a house of pain and I need to go. I don't need to be around things that are going to remind me. So this little lady. She got in her car and she drove from Georgia, let's just say Atlanta because that was the city we were in the suburb, but just let's say Atlanta, Georgia to Thousand Oaks, California

Stephanie: Wow.

Diane: It was me and my Honda Accord

Stephanie: Wow.

Diane: and that indeed was a journey. It was a life changing, that was just a beautiful journey indeed.

Stephanie: like?

Diane: You know? It was exciting. Once I left, it was very hard to leave. So a few days before I took off and left, I saw my son. We, we stayed together. I got a hotel and me and my son, we'd spent some really good quality time. He was 12 by that time. My daughter had moved to Michigan. So she was no longer her dad in Georgia. She was in Michigan with family here.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Diane: Spent quality time with my son and then just had to get my mind. It starts, it really does start in your mind. You have to get your mind in a place of peace. And I believe once you can get, find that peace in your mind where you can just draw that clarity, then you map it out and you do it. I've always been a driver. I've always did distance driving. That was the longest.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Diane: I set up along the way stops. just stops in daytime. So I wouldn't drive at night. even though I did one night and then also I had check ins. And I just went for it before I got to California. I met up with a friend that met in Georgia. She was now in Arizona. And I spent like two, three days with her. I now know that that's kind of like my release. phase, every time I take a leap, every time I do something, there's a place where I go and I just shed what I just experienced and prepare for what I'm going into. So that three days in Arizona was like a purging. It was like getting that Georgia off. It was a lot of tears. I cried a lot in Arizona because I grieved. I grieved. I wasn't divorced. I grieved the marriage. I grieved, you know, just leaving my life because I knew that it would never be the same.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Diane: I grieved.

Stephanie: I don't have kids. So it's, it's hard for me to, to really conceive of what it's like to leave your kids behind and choose something that you need. I'm interpreting from you that this was not a cavalier decision,

Diane: Oh no.

Stephanie: right?

You, you didn't just up and go, but how did you, or even looking back, how do you weigh this is what Diane needs to survive versus my kids need me? Like, how, how did you even weigh that?

Diane: Good question. And you know what, the best way to, to answer that is, you know, that announcement on the airplane where they say, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then put it on your children. And you know, if you have someone with special needs, right. I had to regain my own breath, my own strength, or I was going to be no good for not only my children, but myself.

When I left my home in Georgia, I had the most fantastic neighbor. Her name was Barbara. And I said, she reminds me of Joan Cleaver off of Leave it to Beaver, like the mom. And so we, we had porches, our porches, we could stand on our porch. At the edge of our porch and face each other over the driveway. Right?

So before I was leaving Barbara and I had this really meaningful conversation. I'll never forget. She says, Diane, she says, I want you to know that I really think your husband, I'm not going to say his name, but your husband is great guy. And she says, but I want you to know that I am so happy for you to have the courage to leave this situation. She said, because you're going to fly now, she said, you couldn't fly here. You couldn't fly in this marriage. She says, and I would never have said this, you had to get to this point, but I saw it a while ago. And she says, I'm so proud of you for taking the courage to fly. She says, your life is going to open up in ways unimaginable.

And it was like, kind of like the future speak. And it was like. A download, a message, a divine message through her,

Stephanie: Right.

Diane: right? And so, and it, it was like confirmation of, yes, you are doing the right thing. You're doing the right thing for yourself and for your children. And when you have children, Stephanie, as a parent, one of the most selfless things that you can do is to just open up. And just give your child the freedom to thrive, whether they're young or old. And by me leaving, I was able to then reflect and see that what was planted in them early gave them strong roots, gave them strong roots. We all thrived.

Stephanie: So this decision that you made to take care of yourself turned out to be the right decision for your kids as well.

Diane: Yes.

Stephanie: Oh, isn't that wonderful?

Diane: it gave them their wings too, because once they saw that I took the courage to take the leap, right, and just fly,

Stephanie: Yeah.

Diane: it inspired them to do the very same thing. So it was a beautiful experience after, like in hindsight. Please believe stephanie I cry. Oh my god. I don't even know how I still have tears Because I tell you I just I I cried myself dry really, really.

Stephanie: Wow. then you get to California. And tell me how you, you stop in Arizona, you've, you've, I love the way you said, I, I, I threw off the Georgia and I got ready for California. Tell me about what was California like?

Diane: California was so beautiful. And I think one of the things is getting there, right? I had never seen mountains as majestic. So like driving that route from, uh, you know, going through air as you approach Arizona, the mountains were so big, it was scary. So you get to California, you see these majestic mountains with the ocean right there at the, at the foot of them.

And it was just, uh, California became a place. It was a place where I truly healed and transformed. It was a place where I truly healed and transformed. So my first, uh, probably a few months in California, I was literally clinically depressed and I didn't even know it. I was a travel nurse. So I went in, I took care of my patients.

I worked at night. Um, I had a beautiful, uh, studio apartment there that didn't. Let in a lot of light, which like you're working at night. You don't really think about it. And so probably for the first, maybe six weeks there, it didn't even hit me. And then. One day off I said, I think I'm depressed because it's just like I was just withdrawn. You know, I just kind of withdrew myself and I said no we can't do this I got to get out of this and so I began to drive to the ocean. I began to walk. I began to just work my way through it But I think that dark tunnel was necessary for me to just get to the light and I think it was necessary to be in that place so that I would be able to recognize it for future parts of the journey,

Stephanie: I love that. You called it a dark tunnel because it, it seems to me like the apartment you chose was like a physical embodiment of the dark tunnel. You said not a lot of light came in and you mostly worked at night. So you're sleeping during the day. Like, it's probably, it's just so interesting that you qualify that period is a dark tunnel. And yet you were living in a dark box in the, in the dark tunnel. So,

Diane: exactly

Stephanie: um, wow.

Diane: And you know what that did for me too. It brought back because even in Michigan and the reason that I, I just choose not to live in Michigan is because it's dark in the winter time. It's like no sunlight. And so when I left here, it's just like, I need sunshine. I need light. And so the same applied when I left that apartment, I was like, I will not again live in a place that doesn't give me light, because even if I am emotionally in a dark tunnel, I'm gonna be physically in light. I'm not gonna, it's not gonna be on the inside and out. We're gonna get some light in this place, you know? Yeah, for sure. Yes. Yes, ma'am.

Stephanie: I know exactly what you're talking about, uh, because I live in New Hampshire and we have, uh, long winters, six month winters that, uh, that do get dark and dreary. And, you know, in December and January, it's lovely and pretty. And then, by February and March and April, like the snow is just dirty or it's, um, you know, it's crusty or it's piling up or like, you know, it's it's no longer pretty. It's just something you, you have to get through. And I say that too, because I'm not a winter sports person. I'm not a skier, a snowboarder, anything like that. Right. So, um, and it's interesting because just last year, um, the last couple of years I've started to have some trouble with the long winters and,

Diane: Mm,

Stephanie: and the seasonal affective disorder and, and the, the down in the mouth. So two years ago, I had a, a period that's very uncommon for me, but like, you know, a month or two months, I was just dragging on the ground, uh, really not good. So I, I made a commitment to myself that we would go away in the winter, and we did last year, we went away in, um, I think it was in March. No, it was February. It was over Valentine's day and just getting away for a week. And I didn't even call it a vacation. It was a vitamin D recharge.

Diane: Girl. Yes.

Stephanie: need the sun on your skin and you need to recharge your battery. And so, um. I just, this week said to somebody like, Oh yeah, I got a plan that our winter vacation, cause we, you know, I got to get on that and get

Diane: That's right. That's right.

Stephanie: uh, that, that darkness can really wreak havoc,

Diane: Oh, yeah. Now, where did you go? Where did you go, Stephanie, for your recharge?

Stephanie: I took my husband to Key West.

Diane: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.

Stephanie: time favorite of mine and he had never been, I'd always talked about it. And so we, we made it down to Key West and, and here was the funny thing. Cause I had gone eight or nine times in my twenties and thirties, when I was down there, it was very much during my party days, very much during my fun days.

And so when I went with my husband, one question was, was he going to like it? And my second question was, how is Key West going to be if you're not drinking your face off 18 hours a day?

Diane: Right. Oh my. And what was the answer to that question?

Stephanie: I am here to report that it was lovely. Oh my God. There's so much to do.

Diane: Yeah. Yeah.

Stephanie: culture and there's art and, and, and frankly, there's just relaxation in

Diane: Mm hmm. Mm

Stephanie: So so we enjoyed it thoroughly and I'm not sure if we'll go back there this winter or if we'll, you know, do something else, something Caribbean. One of my best friends is in San Diego, so that's always an option. Um, so

Diane: suggest Santa Barbara,

Stephanie: Really?

Diane: Barbara, California

Stephanie: Okay. Tell me more.

Diane: Is one of my, oh my god, that is one of my favorite places and actually when I was in Thousand Oaks in that place, that dark tunnel, right? That's what I would do. Santa Barbara was like a 25 minute drive up the highway and you could drive up and then the ocean would be at your left side, you know, driving up from LA.

So beautiful. I'm saying palm trees, just so freaking beautiful. And I even have a place I'm going to, what I'm going to do is I'm going to send you, when we get off of here, I'm going to send you a link to a place that we call it. Our space is a, it's a inn in Santa Barbara directly across from the ocean. Just right. Beautiful. Just a beautiful spot, a really good vitamin D reset

Stephanie: Okay. All

Diane: And you could explore other places from there. Like there are other, like you can do the Hertz castle from there and just, yeah, some other places.

Stephanie: My cousin and his wife had told us about Santa Barbara and said, you should, you should make it up there. And we never did. So I'm glad you said that.

Diane: I, we're gonna do that further. And you know what, when I said that to you, what he did is it circled. So when I moved to California from Georgia, right, I brought my son where I lived in Thousand Oaks. Okay. And he was 12 years old and he was like, Oh mom, this is just, Oh, this is dead.

It was beautiful, but not, you know, not a lot. We had a pool where we, where I live. So he could go to the pool and everything. Right. So let's fast forward. My son last year just moved from Thousand Oaks, where I lived, he, his wife and his three children lived up the road. So talk about, you know how, like you say, you go and you set the pavement.

Like I literally went and set the, set the way for him because he moved with me at 16. He came to California. He graduated high school in California He left and came to Michigan. California had his heart. He went back to California and then I eventually joined back, you know doing travel nurses. My son got married in California had three beautiful children there and they are now in Texas. So he, he moved his family. He bought a home in Texas. So him and his family are in a home in Texas. My daughter and her son are in a home here in Michigan.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Diane: Right. Before 40, both of my children were homeowners and parents and thriving.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. That was actually one of the questions I was going to ask you is, you know, you know, how are your kids doing now? Because I can imagine that there might be people listening to this who, who do the, oh, I could never.

Diane: Mm hmm.

Stephanie: Right. And, oh, would that, you know, affect my children negatively?

Diane: Mm hmm.

Stephanie: at the beginning of season three, I talked to a woman named Terre Short.

She created a life that was a little bit outside the mainstream. They spent six months in California and six months. I can't remember exactly where, like in Big Sky country for like six or seven years while their kids were small. And and she and this was like in the maybe late 80s early 90s. Maybe 90s or something and so it wasn't that. Homeschooling wasn't that common and and so she you know She got a lot of chatter in her ear about the

Diane: Mm hmm.

Stephanie: to. And you're and and she said to me you know, we just had to really sort of like be strong in our core that we knew we were doing the right thing for our family. Our kids were doing well.

And she said today, her kids are like world travelers. The result of their upbringing led them to a life that in which they are thriving. So I'm, I'm just so happy to hear that

Diane: yes.

Stephanie: kids are in their own version doing the same. They had a non traditional childhood and yet it gave them the foundation for the life that they needed. Yeah,

Diane: It strengthened them so much. It strengthened them so much. And I'm going to tell you, there were things that they did along the journey that I was like, Oh my God, what are you doing? Just like totally out of the box. My son and my daughter just totally out of the box. But you know what? It developed them into the, the man and woman that they are today. I'm inspired by my kids. How about that? I'm inspired. I'm inspired. Yeah.

Stephanie: And for me, there's just looking at it from the cheap seats way back here. There's, there are some really lovely circular, right? So you started in Michigan and your daughter ended up in Michigan and then you were in Thousand Oaks and then your, your son ended up in Thousand Oaks. Like there's some really beautiful

Diane: Yeah. It's swirls. Yeah. Yes, yes, exactly. And it's really a beautiful, it's really a beautiful thing. So, but there was, there was, so would you say, tell you about California? Because when I say that I became a butterfly there, like just thrive. My sister, my youngest sister began to call me Butterfly.

That was like my, my nickname, right? Um, and that healing. See that healing took me to a place in my heart the shifting that was occurring around 35 that just kind of went into the 40s was there was a space in my heart that was wounded. It was a wounded Uh, place in my heart that I was not even aware because I buried it so deep and then it just had to come up.

And what that was was unresolved issues with my dad. And so those unresolved issues led to me having just separation anxiety, right? And that separation anxiety just led me to a place where my heart was just really, really um, My heart was hurt.


Diane: There was a separation anxiety there because my dad he was a truck driver. He was gone more than he was there. And it just created a space. Sometimes he's supposed to come. I couldn't really count on him as a child, bottom line, right? Um, I'm not saying. I love my dad. I love. Oh my god. I love my dad and we did get healing So, you know, it's a it's a happy ending to the story. We did get the healing we needed but, as far as my relationships, in order for me to have a healthy relationship with any man, I had to resolve those issues. And when you have it so deeply buried that you don't even consider that you have it, like if you don't know it's a problem, how are you going to solve it? Right?

So I believe all that shifting, you know, in, in my marriages and in my relationship was as a result of my heart cry. And my heart was saying, I'm broke. I need you. You got to fix this. You got to fix this. And, and, you know, I didn't, we were coming to the end. You know, just where my dad was. We never know, but you know, sometimes the soul knows.

So there was a letter written to my dad from California. Now this was in the next place. This wasn't in the tunnel place. So we're out of the depression, right? And we're going, we're, we're into resolution, right? We're about to fix this, right? And so I go to this, my next condo. God, it was beautiful and full of light.

It was so much. It was maybe almost too much light. It was full of light and just, you know, just beautiful space. And I wrote my dad a letter. It was more than five pages. It was somewhere five to eight page letter. And I just poured my heart on the pages and I ended and I said, I love you dearly, but I'll understand that if you don't want to have relationship after you read this, I'm cool, but I need to free me because I can't go on without saying this. And it brought us so close together, you know. And it was just beautiful. And as a result of that. This is all California. This is like transformation. This is happening this we're leading up to 40. And i'm not sure if you know or if you were aware but 40 Is a number of transformation

I kind of came across that as I was just looking over things that are in the Bible. I use the Bible as that. And you know, you go with your 40 days and your 40 years and just like how with Moses and, you know, just bringing the people out, you know, just bringing the people out and then just the 40s, the 40s, the 40. It was just like a transformational period. So, you know, when I was just thinking about this, I said, I wonder if Stephanie knew about the, the relationship with 40 and transformation.

Stephanie: I I've heard of it before. I'm not, uh, church going person. I don't have deep familiarity with the Bible, but, um, I'm aware that the number 40 comes up in, in multiple ways throughout the Bible. The thing that I always go back to, that's part of my thesis for this podcast, but also for, what happened to me and kind of where I came out of it is there was a book, um, by a woman, um, named Gail Sheehy and it was called Passages and she wrote it in the

Diane: Mm

Stephanie: 1970s.

Diane: mm-Hmm?

Stephanie: And her. Her thesis was that from conception to age, like, 18, there are so many books on what to expect and developmental phases and different ways to help us understand what's going on with children. But once you reach, you know, 18 or college, right. It's like, you're on your own.

There's no more guidance. And she realized that there, there are predictable, uh, periods of transition and transformation in our adult lives and, and, and her book is, you know, it was like two inches thick.


Stephanie: And she says that, um, you know, from say 18 or 20 to 35 ish, plus or minus. She calls that our first adulthood. And that is when we do all the things that we're told that we should do by external authorities. We put our trust in people outside of us. So that could be parents, bosses, mentors, friends, teachers, whatever. Right? So, but and by and large, those people want the best for us. So they're telling us that the things we should do so that we can be happy, healthy, successful, safe. And most people, not most, many people find in this 35 to 45 period that the things that they achieved and you're a perfect example, the picture, perfect, picket fence lifestyle

Diane: on.

Stephanie: was not anywhere near as satisfying or fulfilling or safe as it should have been based on everything you had been told for a decade or two. And so this period of 35 to 45, again, plus or minus,is when we start realizing that we have expertise ourselves and we know what's good for ourselves and we start to make decisions based on our own guidance, our own expertise, our own experiences. And we start to trust ourselves more so we can make decisions like Terre did to, to create this lifestyle with her family where they were 6 months in different places. Or like you did to say, to find the courage to say, I'm going to do something wildly out of the norm and non traditional, but I know it's good for me and it'll be okay for my family.

Diane: Mm hmm

Stephanie: Right? And so, so that period of, of transition is usually a period, not only based on what, what Gail wrote and this, this book that I sort of use as a guiding star, but also in the. Yeah. Geez, you might be like in the eighties of conversation. I've had like 80 conversations with people and it's pretty, you know, it becomes pretty consistent after a while. It's like when you start trusting yourself and you start trusting your own voice and you start to make the decisions that feel best for you, even if they're not normal air quotes, right. Or right.

Diane: Yes

Stephanie: All of a sudden there's, there's a, it's almost a return to authenticity, a return to what's truly for you, a much more deeper feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment and happiness, um, when you've truly accepted who you are and what you need to build a life.

Diane: That. You are so. While. You were just hitting it. And you know what was resonating is, when you can get to a point where you stop explaining your moves to others, you will move so much freer. You will move so much braver because you will, you just like, you know what, I'm not going to explain it because you know what people can only understand you from their level of perception.

So if, you can explain it until you're just white in the face, just like, you know, just your last breath, right? And they still may not get it. So it's like, I'm going to save my breath and I'm going to save my peace. And I'm going to save my clarity and focus because the thing of it is, is when you start explaining them, what you are doing is you're allowing them to interject their opinions, their judgments into the scenario. And even though you say, Oh, that's not going to affect me and I'm not going to be bothered. But you are. You are bothered, you know, with every exchange you are bothered. You might not realize it, but you are. Right.

Stephanie: Right. Every time you explain yourself, it has the possibility and the potential to chip away at your confidence in your own decisions.

Diane: Yes, yes. And think about it. Right? So when I have made the decision, I'm going to go to California. I'm going to leave my children. Think about how different it would have been if I would have just like put it in a public forum. I would have been called a bad mom. How could you do that? What's wrong with you? Are you you know, just are you crazy? And guess what? It comes. It comes in the process because you know, after I got the healing from my dad, then my next thing was okay, I am ready for love. Like once you get fixed. Right? So it's like, once you get that car fixed or once you get that house fixed, you want to entertain. You want to like, now you want to do it. Right? So it's like, my heart is fixed. I want to go into this and I want love. You know, I think I, you want to test it. Right? It's just like, is this really? Does it really work? And you know what? I, after that conversation, just fast forwarding it, I met my husband, but it was in the most, unique way.

And it was fitting of the journey. My dad and I talked every single day, the last year of his life. Every single day we talked and that was huge. Right? And then. My dad died. He died in November like the fall season, like where I'm at right now, in Michigan. I came from California to Michigan to handle the affairs because I was the oldest so me and my two sisters, we came to you know, take care of my dad. And the day I landed that night I met my husband Like I met him that night. One of the last conversations I had with my dad was about meeting someone. I said, I'm ready. You know, I want love. I want, and he said, it's going to come. And my dad was not a religious man but he was very wise. And he says, you know what? Everything aligns. It's going to come. It's going to come right on time. My dad died on November the 15th. I met Charles on November 16th, and we've been married for now 17 years, together for 19 years.


Stephanie: And if I'm, if I'm not mistaken, you were 40 when you got married again. Is that right?

Diane: Yeah Yeah

Stephanie: a hell of a five years.

Diane: Yeah

Stephanie: Again, let's throw, there's another circle in there.

Diane: There's another, you know, it's enough, but I was 40 and I was ready. So when you go from that time from 35 to 45, it's like I was at the height of the expected life at 35, right? Got the house, got the kids, got the profession, got the husband, right? You got all of that. And then it just blows up. It just shatters to pieces. So, you know, just for anyone that's listening and you know, you may be going through some transitions, just two things. Number one is this too shall pass, whatever it is. If it's good, it's going to pass. If it's bad, it's going to pass. It's going to pass. Just keep moving forward. You move through it. If you have to cross food, whatever, and allow yourself, to call the people. I'm going to say that again. Allow yourself to call the people that you need around you. And when I say call, I'm not talking about pick up a phone. I mean, sit quiet and just be true. Just, and even if you don't completely know, just put it out there, just allow the people that are going to nourish my soul in this season. Because someone that nourishes yourself in another season might not be the right person for this season. It doesn't make them bad or anything. It just means that where you are, they're not the ones. They're not the ones that you need. If you do it, everything that you need will come. And I can't explain how. I just know. It happens. It happens.

Stephanie: Yeah. And it's really about. It's an internal game. It's there's nothing external about it. It's you said you said a bunch of the words, right? You said you got to get quiet. You got to think about what you want. You got to listen to what's coming up. For you It was a wounded heart that you were able to identify and then work through which I mean that stuff's messy. It's messy But you know what, if you continue to put one foot in front of the other. Right. How do you climb, uh, you know, Mount Kilimanjaro? It's

Diane: Right. One foot in front of the other. That's right.

Stephanie: Take breaks when you need them, you know, get to base camp, rest.

Diane: Mm hmm.

Stephanie: And when you ready.

Diane: Rest. Yes.

Stephanie: So, you know, there's, there's a lot of that. And once you, once you've done some of your own healing and, and, and, and, and sometimes the healing is just acknowledging, just realizing it and acknowledging it and those are, Oh, that that's a pebble I can take out of my shoe.

Diane: hmm. Mm hmm.

Stephanie: And sometimes it needs more healing and you know, there's all kinds of ways to do that. Um, but once you realize what you want. And, and, and it doesn't even need to be clear. It doesn't need to be clear. It just needs to be, I'm thinking back again. I I've talked about, um, a number of times. There's a, a spiritual guide that I love. His name is Mike Dooley. And

Diane: Yes, I know yes, I love yes,

Stephanie: knows Mike was in The Secret. That's sort of where he, blossomed. He bloomed out into the world, but he's, he's got this whole, you know, um, he's got, he's got a whole, he's got a whole thing. He's got books and.

Diane: Yeah, he does yes,

Stephanie: but he always talks about, you know, manifesting, you want to, you want to think ahead. You want to think, you know, what do I want to feel like? What are the more qualifications you put on what's going to make you happy, the, the, the harder the universe has

Diane: Yes, yes,

Stephanie: happen. So the more you can say, I want to feel happy and fulfilled. That's all the universe really needs to know. Right. And then you continue to take your one step in front of the other. And so a lot of it is it's, it's, it's faith, right? I know I said, I'm not a religious person. I'm not a church going person, but I am a faithful person.

Diane: And that's beautiful. That's beautiful. Yes

Stephanie: for. Those of us who aren't church going people, right? You have to believe in yourself.

Diane: Yes, ma'am.

Stephanie: to believe in, in, in energy and forces that are supporting you and that want good things for you. And so you do your part and they'll do their parts and magical things will happen. Like, like your husband will show up the, you know,

Diane: Right! Right!

Stephanie: the right time. I mean, that's pretty magical.

Diane: You know what's so funny about that? I did a lot of reading in California. I did a lot of reading and I, became familiar with Mike. I know Mike Dooley. I know, uh, uh, Rushnell. I'm, I can't think of his first name. Rushnell. And he's, and his wife too. He did God Winks. He did the book God Winks.

And I remember about, you know, It's probably within nine months before meeting my husband. I remember reading that book and they were doing all these God winks, you know, just how like all these God winks work, right? That's what he called synchronicities, you know, so just a little synchronicities. So he called them God winks, right?

And so, um, Check that book out if you haven't. It's real. It's so good. It's so good So there's a there's a section in there and he talks about how this woman meets her husband. She's going for her dad's funeral and she's like at the airport and you know. So it goes through this whole, you know scenario story and I'm like, that sounds fantastic I'm like, wow, that's a little bit hard to believe. So it's like right After her dad died, she goes. And I, and she meets her, her husband right at the airport. So I said, huh? I said, that's pretty cool. I said, not the dad dying part, but it's just like what it was bringing. It's like when you lose, when you have lost, there's gain. And so it's like that part. And so it was something in my soul that just resonated or whatever, because that's exactly what happened. I went for my dad and I, and I remembered that. And so I had to go back and read the book and I'm like, Oh, this happens. Like this. Like I'm living like this happens like for real. And so it's like, wow. Just like, wow. Yeah.

Stephanie: like do you remember that movie from God, I think it was the 80s The Never Ending Story

Diane: Yes.

Stephanie: Where the little kid was reading the book and the adventures happening and then all of a sudden things from the book start happening in His world. I

Diane: Yes.

Stephanie: what happened to

Diane: Yeah, exactly. For real, right?

Stephanie: read the book

Diane: Read the book and then it happened and it was real and you know, it's, it's so funny because you know, when I was listening to you and you were talking about just how, you know, uh, the, the universe, God, just how it just, If you would just, I call it surrender. So things that I want, I surrender them. I'm learning to just detach, right? And just, you know, really just let go and allow for things to happen. And one of the big things is give yourself grace. You gotta give yourself grace because we're so hard on ourselves. Give yourself grace to get it right sometimes and to totally jack it up sometimes. Serious. Serious. Serious. Just like,

Stephanie: it.

Diane: It's just like, you know what I, I just, yeah, I messed that up. I messed and be all right with your, you know, give yourself grace.

Stephanie: Right, right. Because a lot of it, you know, life is an experiment. And so if you make a decision and you, you screw something up big time, you're like, well, that wasn't the right choice. So next time I'm faced with that kind of situation, I'm going to make a different choice.

Diane: Say that. What you said right there is so true. Next time I'm faced with it, because life is a cycle and it's coming back. Even if you get it right, guess what? It's going to come back at a different level and maybe a different way, you know, the intensity of it. So

Stephanie: Yeah.

Diane: yeah, sometimes, sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you. You mess it up

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. I'm aware.

Diane: yeah me too.

Stephanie: there.

Diane: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am

Stephanie: you met your husband, you guys got married, you were, you were like 40. you are a fully winged butterfly at this point. I want to hear about, um, in 2015, you said you were going to go to, you and your husband left the house and said you were going to Paris. Tell me about that. It's

Diane: Oh my gosh, okay, so here we go. So in uh 2015 my husband I were living in Pasadena, California. And again, you know you get that shift. It was a shifting but thanks God, this time it was a pair shifting. It wasn't like I had to take the journey alone. And I just want to pause for just one second and say that sometimes you have to take the journey alone so that when you get that partner and you take it in partnership, you're ready for it. You're ready. You're ready for it. Right?

So in 2015, I'm in Pasadena again, living my best life. It always seems to come in in those moments. Right? Um, I'm teaching. Um, I'm a college professor, which was a dream. Again, I'm doing things that I dreamt of and here comes this call. Here come the shift. So we walked away from everything that was normal and comfortable and we're going to go overseas.

We're going to go to Paris and we're going to write books. Okay. So yeah, this time, like people were calling us nuts. Like they were just saying it. It was like, Diane and Charles have lost their marbles. I don't know what's going on with them. You know, they're crazy. Even our family, we're scared for you, but, but, but, but it was hilarious, but not because when you're in that, that's not really what I need to hear.

Like I kind of need to hear, I don't know what you're doing, but I know that you have your sense about you and you, you know what you're doing. And that's all that matters. Not so much what came. We left our home. And as we've discussed before, as soon as the keys were on the counter and we're out the door, the shift realigned. Everything that was like right in order and in step. Things start shifting. Oh my God, what's going on, right? So in 2015, December, we left and started this journey that we have been on now for about eight years. Is a, it's coming up on eight years. What I would like to say is we're still heading to Paris.

Stephanie: You haven't made it

Diane: We have not made it to Paris, but what we have done is I've written two books. My husband's written one book and we've crisscrossed the United States twice or three times, at least. We have been called out to live love. We have been called out to go to places that we don't even know. We just head in the direction. Is people ask them where they're going, and with a smile, we say in the right direction. And that's how we've been living for eight years. And when I tell you that life has been phenomenal. There has been storms that come, but there has just been beautiful encounters that we would have never made. So just like in The Alchemist, I'm not sure if you're familiar with that book, The Alchemist, how you go all around the mulberry bush. And it's, it's a lot of, you know, good and things you end up where you started. I'm here now I'm in Michigan. And now you soar. And then you, and then you get there. Never stopped with Paris. And I think when I give you your update, you know, I'm going to have pictures from all over from all over Europe, because it is happening. And even though it's been eight years, we never dropped the dream, but it shifted. It went from a priority to just in the journey map. And we got to a place because at first it was very frustrating. Because I don't know about you, but when you get a call or just a purpose, like it be it write a book, get married, whatever. Go on a trip to Santa Barbara. You just start seeing people doing that very thing. So as soon as we left for, you know, we're going to paris. I had students going to Paris for uh marriage proposals. Have friends that never talked about going to Paris and sending pictures from the Eiffel Tower. Everything was Paris. So I really got frustrated for a minute there because it's like, okay, so hey, we're, you know, we're what's going on and we really had to surrender it and just let it go and just say, we'll get there when we get there. And that's where we're at. We'll get there when we get there. We are closer today than we were 8 years ago.

Stephanie: Would you mind terribly if I, uh, shared a reflection that I'm coming up with based on our conversation today.

Diane: Absolutely. Yeah.

Stephanie: I feel like in the story that you've told me, there's almost, um, the way I'm, I'm interpreting it as almost like a video game element to it of you get, it's like achievement unlocked, right?

So in, in that first part of the story, you got the marriage and the kids and the job and the house and the picture perfect. And you, uh, you unlocked that achievement and then it was time for something else. And then you, you know, you went on the next part of your journey and, and there you were in Pasadena and it was picture perfect again, and everything you dreamed of, and you were teaching and achievement unlocked. Okay, next. And so now you're on this next part of the, of the journey. And I think if you make it to Paris, you're, it's going to be like, okay, something else, right? You'll get a

Diane: for sure. For sure.

Stephanie: Nope, we, we got to go somewhere else or some other phase open. So it's just in the way you're telling the story to me, that's so clear that there are phases of life. There are seasons of life. And every time you've, I'll use air quotes every time you've gotten there,

Diane: yeah.

Stephanie: It's shifted.

Diane: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Stephanie: I think that's just such a great illustration of shifting and,

Diane: Mm hmm.

Stephanie: the surprises that life can throw at us and the, the, the ways that we never really know, even, you know, for all the planning we can do, I'm sure you walked out of the house in Pasadena with a plan to get to Paris.

Diane: Absolutely. And you know what? Here I am in another, guess what? Achievement unlocked moment. As we are interviewing right now, we, uh. When I first spoke with you, um, we were in Georgia, we were in Hephzibah, Georgia, uh, at a beautiful lake house. Um, and I wrote my second book there. So much peace there. Very comfortable there. Guess what happened? Achievement unlocked. And we left that space and here we go again. It's just like, there is, there's things to be done. It's a journey and progress and I, I truly believe in my husband. I would talk about it, even getting our dream home and just, just having our gathering retreat, our home will be for others, right? It will be to just bring in others and to just do life with them, but it will just be a base camp because we will keep going. We will keep going because. We're going to answer the call. We're going to answer the call and we're going to go with the shift. We're going to go with the shift because that is our purpose. We feel like that is our purpose. And whatever the shift brings we're gonna go with the shift. Yeah, we're going to go with the shift. We're going to go with the shift. I will say this if it's all right with you, uh, over the course of the journey, I've written two books. So my first book was Clearly Ready. And that, and that book, uh, it takes the readers through that transformational period. So it takes that readers from that, that, that 35 to that, like say 40, 45 period of time, right? Okay. Yeah, 35 to 45, what we're talking about, that book speaks to that. We had a tremendous trauma that we went through in 21 and I wrote a book about that.

So that, that year in the lake house was a time, how you say you got your vitamin D reset. That was our peace reset after trauma. And out of that, I wrote a book. So yeah, I mean, and over the course of, you know, this whole journey, like I want to say in 2020, we started a podcast. So, and then that podcast, it has allowed us to bring the people that have come across our, our, our path, right. To bring their inspiration into our story. Because when you know that it's bigger than you, you're on to something. It's always bigger than your story. It's always bigger than what you're doing. And when you can resonate with that, then you're on to something, for sure. Yeah

Stephanie: that. I love that. I love the name of your first book because it's such a perfect description of that period of our lives. Clearly Ready. She was clearly ready. Oh, I love it. I love it.

Diane: you know what's on the cover of the book right

Stephanie: It's gotta be a butterfly.

Diane: It's a caterpillar Looking out the window or mirror just depending on how and it sees the butterfly It sees what it is and what it's like it sees the potential.

Even what you were talking about in your journey. There has to be fruit. And that's an important factor. You know, people say, well, how do I know if I'm going in the right direction. Or how do I know if I'm, you know, if I'm doing the right thing. There's going to be fruit. If there is no fruit, then I'm not saying that you're going the wrong direction or you're not doing the right thing. But I am saying pause and see, because there's some adjustment that needs to be made.

Stephanie: Right. Right. You don't always have to throw away the baby and the bath water. You maybe just need to adjust the mix. Yeah.

Diane: I love that. I love that. I love that.

Stephanie: Oh, Diane, I have so enjoyed talking to you today. Thank you so much for joining me.

Diane: Oh yes.

Stephanie: so generous with your story and there are, there are some real visuals for me today.

Circles, cycles, and butterflies is, uh, is, is, is what I'm, I'm leaving with today. So thank you so much for spending some time with me.

Diane: Thank you for having me. It's been wonderful.

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