Turning 40 & Caregiving for Ailing Parents
After a period of her parents’ declining health, Amy Lokken became a full-time caregiver at age 35 after being married only a couple years. Her dad died a couple years later and her mom a couple years after that. At 40, Amy found herself coming out of a whirlwind of caregiving and grief and needing to find herself again. While she thought she had decided who she would be in her 20s, at 40 she wondered, “now who am I?” But one of the things that often comes with turning 40 is not caring about what other people think, which empowered Amy to reclaim pieces of herself she had put away a long time ago.
Amy Lokken is the founder of Müd (pronounced mood) Modular, she is a Visual Presence Designer, who has an innate ability to understand human psychology and how you are showing up on camera tells a story about who you really are. She loves working with individuals whose values center around quality, self-awareness, communication, with a desire to improve. Amy has over 27 years of design industry experience, she is a 7x international award-winning marketing expert, founder of the Chippewa Valley Lewy Body Dementia Caregivers Support Group in Eau Claire, WI, and an active member of 100 Women Who Care. Amy resides in Eau Claire, WI, with her husband, Chris and their super chill 5 year old Golden Retriever mix dog-son, named Sammy.
Amy Lokken was thrilled to turn 30. She felt “done” with her 20s and excited about her 30s, which she thought were going to be great.
By the time she got married at 32, her dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and she knew something was going on with her mom, who was later diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. When she was 35, both of her parents moved in with her and her husband full time. Amy had recently left her career and was in the process of reinventing herself professionally, so she had the time and flexibility to become the primary caregiver for her parents.
Amy and her husband had been exploring adoption, but as her dad’s health started to decline and her mom’s dementia progressed, they felt they “adopted” her parents instead. Her dad died and a couple years later, her mom died two months before Amy’s 40th birthday. Thus, the decade she was so excited about passed in a blur with most of it spent caregiving.
In the receiving line at her mother’s wake, Amy turned to her husband and said, “Hi, I’m Amy, your wife. Thanks for sticking around.”
At 40, Amy found herself coming out of a whirlwind of caregiving and grief and needing to find herself again. While she thought she had decided who she would be in her 20s, at 40 she wondered, “now who am I?”
Amy spent the first couple years of her 40s working her way back to who she always wanted to be. After being bullied and teased as a child, she had turned down the volume on several parts of her style and personality. But being 40 means you can own your space, own who you are, own your weird, own your style and be completely unapologetic about all of it. The older she gets, the easier she finds that to be. Now she’s comfortable standing out because she knows she’s owning who she is.
In this episode, you will learn:
- How Amy’s parents came to live with her full time during their illnesses, her father with prostate cancer and her mother with a rare form of dementia.
- How Amy and her husband felt they “adopted” her parents when their health was declining and they needed help.
- How turning 40 led Amy to reevaluate her identity and find strength in her own story.
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
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Stephanie: Hi Amy. Thanks for joining me today.
Amy: Hey Stephanie. Thank you so much for having me here.
Stephanie: It's truly my pleasure. Any friend of Elle's is a friend of mine, as we've clearly demonstrated already.
Amy: Absolutely. She is. She is. Everything.
Stephanie: Listeners might remember that I talked to Elle a few months ago, she was our guest who kick boxed her way out of depression and straight into becoming an Ironman athlete. I call her the Dynamo From Down Under.
Amy: Oh, that is so perfect. I am calling her that from now on.
Stephanie: She introduced us and knew that we would hit it off and have a lot to talk about, and indeed we do. So when we first met, you started your story back a few steps further than where I usually start. You said you were done with your twenties and you were so happy to turn 30. Let's start there.
Amy: Absolutely. I've been told I have a very old soul, so it was nothing new for me to be like, yeah, you know what, I know who I am. Twenties are where I believe you truly find yourself and you realize who you really are gonna be as an adult and basically the rest of your life, which is great. Trust me, I had lots of fun moving 1200 miles away to go to college and all of that fun stuff. So it wasn't like I could just come home for a weekend . Um, so I truly was the goody goody in high school and had my fun in college, but I was just, I was done with my twenties. I was ready to move on and I knew I was not gonna be married before the age of 28 and I had a career in mind and that thirties is where it was all gonna be at.
Stephanie: All right. All right, so you had met your husband and you did get married in your early thirties, and what was your career at that point?
Amy: At that point in time, I was working in the shopping center industry as a retail designer visual merchandiser.
Stephanie: Ooh. I spent years through my teens and twenties working in retail and loved it. And my dad always used to say that I missed my calling as being a buyer for retail That's one of those alternative, uh, parallel timelines that maybe on another timeline I'm a buyer. I bet that would be a lot of fun.So you met your husband around 28. You got married at 32, and when you got married, you knew that there was something going on with your mom and your dad Your folks were both a little up in the air.
Amy: They were. So I'm the youngest of six and there is a significant age gap between myself and my siblings, 16 years between me and the oldest, and about six and a half, almost seven years between me and the sister before me. So, my dad had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it actually was pretty, um, far advanced. So anybody who understands the PSA levels, he was registering at like, I believe it was 146, and somebody at his age should have been at like four or under.
Stephanie: Oh, oh. My dad also had prostate cancer and he used to like to say, "Yeah, I, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and not the good kind," meaning, most men will get prostate cancer. I don't know if it's most, it's a lot, right. But they're gonna be 80 or 85 and something else is gonna take them. It's just something that moves real slow. And my dad had the other kind and it sounds like maybe yours did, too.
Amy: Yeah, my dad, I believe, was diagnosed at 70. Actually had never spent a night, wasn't even born in a hospital until he turned 70. And yeah, he was, you know, honestly given three to five years and actually made it almost seven. But I never grew up remembering my dad being sick other than, you know, a little pleurisy here and there. Like do people even get pleurisy?
Stephanie: I don't even know what that is, Amy. It sounds so Victorian. What's pleurisy?
Amy: Something like fluid or something in the lungs. So you would have like a pain that would go between your breast bone and to the center middle of your back, like your shoulder blades, if I remember it correctly.
Stephanie: Interesting. All right. Yeah, you're right. That is not a common one.
Amy: No, it's not . He was a farmer all his life, worked in a powder milk plant, there could have been something with that. But yeah, he just was a very healthy, both my parents for the most part were actually pretty healthy people.
Stephanie: And then you said there was something going on with your mom. What were you seeing at that point in time that made you think, eh, something's going on.
Amy: You know, going back in that journey and really kind of thinking through it, hindsight is always 2020 and you can definitely wrap your head around a few more things looking back. I would stop on my travels, because I traveled a lot for work, I would pass their home to go to one of my properties and mom would still be like had not showered that day yet, and it's like three o'clock in the afternoon, which was just not like my mom or she would be wearing a sweatshirt in the middle of, you know, July and live in the Midwest, so that's pretty nice weather time and so there were all these kind of unusual things and the clutter maybe around papers being organized were maybe piling up even more than before. It was just interesting things like that. She would say certain things like, "Oh, my tasters off," and she was a really good cook. And there were just bizarre things like calculations, like long hand, writing out, trying to figure out, balancing the checkbook and things like that.
Stephanie: Hmm hmm. So how long was it before she got a diagnosis? I mean, it sounds like you guys were sort of watching some little things along the way and that they added up over time.
Amy: They did. My dad would reference certain things, he was obviously the one who was with her. And my brother lives next door and he would see them daily. It was a trip to Eau Claire where I live about 30 miles from the family farm, and my dad came out of a store as my mom would oftentimes just stay in the vehicle, and she was having a hallucination and was wondering where the girls went and we're assuming it was us sisters, her children. And, he's like, "Okay, this is going beyond you thinking there's a cat in the house," because they did live on a farm and we did have cats, not in the house. But
Amy: So, that progressed to him actually calling my sister, who's a geriatric LPN, and then that went into my sister-in-law, bless her heart, and very grateful that was able to get my mom into a neurologist here in Eau Claire very quickly, who actually was very diverse in his ability to know about many different dementias. And he diagnosed my mom of having Lewy body dementia in the very first appointment.
Stephanie: Oh wow. Okay. So there was no question.
Stephanie: I'm not familiar with the different types of dementia, this one, I think, is pretty common?
Amy: Um, actually no, it is not. Well, it is, let me back up. It is common. We were not aware of it and neither was my sister who actually had been working in the geriatric area and at a nursing facility for 26 years. We didn't understand a whole lot about the whole dementia. You know, it's Alzheimer's you often hear of and in all reality, there are actually like 75, 76 different forms of dementia. Alzheimer's just happens to be the most commonly diagnosed. Lewy body actually is the second leading cause of degenerative brain disease and it's often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's or full blown Parkinson's. So it has a huge connection to Parkinson's. In fact, that's actually how it was um, discovered. Rich Lewy was actually looking for a cause of Parkinson's and that's where he found these proteins now known as Lewy Body and about the same time Alzheimer's was diagnosed. So very interesting kind of correlation between the two of 'em. Slowly but surely it's becoming more common in people understanding, but it does take potentially four doctors and up to 18 months to really get a good diagnosis and a solid one because it covers a lot of similarities between other things and yet has some very different aspects to it than, let's say, Alzheimer's, for instance.
Stephanie: Wow. So you were really fortunate to get a good diagnosis right away, it sounds like.
Amy: Yes, very fortunate. So there's actually three different ways it's actually diagnosed. The first way is a cognitive issue, and that's typically where it gets misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's. The second way is a mobility issue, which is the Parkinson's, and most of 'em do either have full-blown Parkinson's or Parkinsonisms, so your frequent falls, things like that. And then the third way it's often diagnosed and most challenging is mental illness, so due to the hallucinations. Generally they're children and animals, they're often not frightening and they're visual, but they can be auditory and all sorts of different aspects. And that actually is how my mom was diagnosed.
Stephanie: Wow. Wow. So you are recently married. You got married at 32, and then this is all sort of happening in the next couple of years.
Stephanie: It's a lot for a new marriage. And then when you're about 35, both of your parents move in with you full time.
Amy: Yeah, somewhere around that, you know, everything's so much a blur. But yeah, they spent a lot of time at our home and with us. We had a dog named Moses at the time, lovely golden retriever, and my dad and him were like best friends. My husband and I weren't blessed with children and at that time, so we looked at our dog as our, you know, our baby. And having, at that point in time, probably 12 nieces and nephews, my parents had lots of grandchildren and, and so they would often joke of, you know, grand dog and all that. And both my husband and I traveled typically a lot for work during the day. So he would go north, I would go all over the place, and so my parents really enjoyed stopping in and, then they would be here for a while or we, they'd still be here when we would get home thinking, oh, they were gonna be gone and, oh, they're still here. And Dad'd be like, "Yeah, you don't mind. I'll buy dinner tonight if you don't mind if we spend the night." And so it just kept on becoming kind of a typical thing. We knew as long as he wasn't playing music in his little band at a nursing home someplace, and they were letting out our dog, they were probably spending the night. In hindsight, dad needed a break from caring for my mom and dealing probably with what he was dealing with and not being, you know, really able to understand how to communicate that.
Stephanie: I'm really curious, as the youngest of six and somebody who lives 30 miles away from the main homestead,
Stephanie: why is it do you think they ended up moving in with you versus any of your siblings or having anybody move in with them?
Amy: You know, um, so we did try a few things kind of leading up to it. Everybody was working and people had children and grandchildren and all those things, and I ironically a few months before all of this, I had actually left my career in the shopping center industry and was reinventing myself at the time. And they were doctoring here and I was the only one living in Eau Claire and it just, it was an easy thing, but I also remember my grandparents being in our home growing up more than I remember my older sibling.
Stephanie: Oh, interesting.
Amy: So when it was obvious that dad's health was declining and the treatment wasn't necessarily working anymore, I knew no other way, to be honest, other than, "Hey, we're not being able to figure out a schedule, we're not really getting the right people to come in. I'm working from home rebuilding and building a business. It just makes sense." I'm having to take them or meet them at doctor's appointments with whichever other sibling is able to join, and it was just a natural thing. I mean, God just had a very different plan.
Stephanie: Yeah, all the pieces just fell into place. That's really wonderful actually.
Amy: I'm their seven year mistake that ended up being actually a really good one in the end.
Stephanie: I'm sure nobody ever considered you a mistake, um, that's really sweet of you to say. So your folks move in and your dad at this point has been diagnosed for a couple of years and is now starting to decline.
Amy: Yeah, actually the true permanent, they would go back to the farm and, but when it really became, "Yep, they're pretty much here. We're in this," he was in the middle of a um, clinical trial and was doing chemo, I believe it was once every three weeks. So he would have like a good week or two weeks of a month and then a really bad week. So he would do the treatment, come here immediately after, cause he would have to go back the next day and all those lovely things. And he definitely wasn't able to care for my mom, and let alone himself at that point. So it was just an easy transition.
Stephanie: So you're in your mid thirties and all of a sudden you find yourself a full-time caregiver to ailing parents.
Amy: Yeah, like I said, God had a different plan for us. My husband and I were actually at that stage when we got married, we're like, we have a lot of kids around us. We were both very career driven. If children happen, they happen. It wasn't something we were necessarily trying for, but we weren't also not open to. But nothing was really happening and we were kind of getting to that point of, well, okay, neither of us are getting any younger and, well, maybe it's special needs adoption we should look at. Like, we don't necessarily need an infant and our dog didn't come to us as a puppy, we adopted him at five. So we were starting that whole process and God definitely had a plan for us. We went through the whole special needs adoption and obviously caring for parents is added challenge in going through that process. And I like to say we ended up adopting my parents in the end, so they became our children, especially my mom.
Stephanie: I love that.
Stephanie: What an interesting way to turn life on its head. It, it happens to all of us at some point, right? But you become the parent, and the parent becomes the child.
Amy: Absolutely. And there is actually a point very well, probably the last year of my mom's life so. My dad had already passed and my mom and I had just a very different relationship. Well, overall I had a different relationship with both my parents, but my mom and I, because my dad, like, as I said, was a farmer all of his life. But he also worked for a powdered milk plant, and he would do, I dunno, whatever that shift is, where he midnight shift maybe where they, he would get home at like six o'clock in the morning.
Stephanie: Overnights. Yeah.
Amy: Yes. And so he wasn't necessarily there when we would have dinner in the evening. So it would often be my mom and I sitting at the dining room table, having dinner and having like really interesting deep conversations, which weren't probably necessarily typical for somebody my age to have with their mother, but she was just easy to talk to and, um, all sorts of things. So fast forward, and my husband, officiates football and basketball in his spare time. So he of course wouldn't be home for evening dinner at certain times of the year. And it was one moment in time and I remember it like it was yesterday, my mom and I are sitting at the dining room table and the roles are 100% reversed, but we're literally doing the same thing we did 20 years, 25 years earlier, whatever it was. And it was just that instant moment of total clarity of like what was actually happening in that moment in time. I'll be honest, there was definitely a, a quick, um, grieving moment, but also a really amazingly precious, blessed moment in time, if that weirdly makes sense.
Stephanie: Oh, it makes a hundred percent sense. I lost my dad a few years ago and my husband lost his mom just before the holidays. So, we were just last night talking about grief and grieving and some of this. So yes, it makes perfect sense to me.
Stephanie: So your mom passed two months before your 40th birthday.
Amy: Indeed. Almost to the day. Almost to the day.
Stephanie: How did that play into what you felt about turning 40?
Amy: You know, it was, kind of like whiplash a little bit. Like I remember it was just like, well, this, just like, what?
Amy: I couldn't honestly wrap my full head around it, you know? And my dad had passed, I had both of them at the same time. My dad passed and then, to be honest, I actually never took the time to grieve my dad. In fact, if there was any challenging, time in my husband and in my relationship at that point was due to him actually grieving my dad and me not understanding why he wasn't who he was at that time. So to then have my mom gone and, and literally months before she passed, she was doing really great. We're like, okay, we could be looking at like another five years I mean, all right, well, you know, we didn't think it was in the cards for us to be doing this forever type of thing. And so when it did happen, it was like, wow, where did the last 10 years go? you know, that decade I was uberly super excited about and couldn't wait, and bam, I'm 40. Like that kind of sucks.
Amy: Is honestly what I thought.
Stephanie: Yeah, I'll bet, I'll bet.
Stephanie: You told me that you said something to your husband at your mother's wake. Do you remember what you told me?
Amy: I do. In the receiving line. I remember turning to him and saying, "Hi, I'm Amy, your wife. Thanks for sticking around."
Stephanie: Yeah. That's a lot. That's a lot to put on a relationship. I'm not even sure how to ask this. Sometimes you put major stress on a relationship and it brings you closer and sometimes it pushes you further apart. Sometimes it strengthens a relationship. Sometimes it breaks a relationship. How did you do with your husband?
Amy: You know, like I said, our, our biggest challenge it during that time was him grieving my dad, when I couldn't. And, and that I take full responsibility. I certainly could have, I didn't feel as though I could have,
Stephanie: Well, you had your hands full. You had to take care of your mom.
Stephanie: I completely understand that. It's like one of those things you put, you know, on the list to do later
Stephanie: because you've got too much to do right now. I mean, this is an amazing load that you were carrying. I don't blame you. I mean, it makes complete sense to me why you would've pushed that off.
Amy: Absolutely. And at the same time, so to answer your question, and not go down that little rabbit hole, but the first year of my husband and I's relationship was a thousand miles apart. We actually met on a blind date when I came back to the Eau Claire area on a long weekend visit. So our relationship was really built on communication and we always know that when something's happening, as it happens in every relationship, we know that we're not communicating. And it's that, and our faith. God put us on this journey for a reason and we're here for the long run and to figure out what that is.
Stephanie: You guys came out the other side together and stronger.
Amy: Yeah. On top of it being early in our marriage by all rights, he loved my parents as though they were his and my parents were just the kind of parents that if you walked through their front door at that farm home, you were just part of family. They looked at all of their son-in-laws and their daughter-in-law as though they were just sons and daughters of theirs. So I was very blessed and Chris was very blessed in being able to have that kind of relationship. But it's a lot like if you've never witnessed somebody dying, let alone in your living room, that's hard. But I will tell you, we also had, and have like, there's not a day that goes by that we don't have a conversation about some funny story or something about my parents, whether it happened here in our home or it happened at the farm or wherever, you know, they live in everything. They live in our lives, like constantly. Their memory is forever there, and we just have memories that nobody else will ever have because they happened with just the two of us.
Amy: That's a really key part in it. Now, that doesn't happen for everyone.
Stephanie: Yeah. I can relate to that so much on both accounts, on both my dad and my husband's mom. He just literally this week started saying, his mother said the word sandwich very bizarrely. She said it like, no D and a g at the end. So do you want a sandwich,
Amy: Got it.
Stephanie: And so just this week he's been joking about having a sandwich and, sort of poking fun, and then he looked at me one day almost like he wasn't supposed to be doing this, and he said, "But this is how I'm honoring her." And I said, "Well, of course, of course."
Stephanie: I remember giving my dad's eulogy, and one of the things I said was, I don't don't remember where this came from, it came from like the Egyptians and the big temples and the pyramids and stuff. And it was like, as long as people are saying your name, you're immortal, right? So they built these big temples and these big pyramids and things. And so we're still talking about Ramses all these years later. And so I remember at my dad's funeral telling some version of that story and saying, "Please don't ever hesitate to tell me a story about my dad. Don't ever think it's gonna hurt or I'm not gonna want to hear it, because that's the way we keep them alive and that's the way we keep them with us." And it was interesting, shortly after that, within the next month or two, I had a couple of friends come up to me and say, "You said you wanted to hear a story." And I was like, "I do," and they told me stories about my dad, but we're doing that with his mom as well, finding the quirks and the peculiarities there are already things that we say like her anyway, that, the entire family knows is a, her name was Mooneen, so it's a Mooneenism. Yes, it's a beautiful, beautiful name, that we've never run across before. Neither had she, she did a bunch of research into it, through her life trying to find out if it was, something common in Ireland. And it's not so.
Stephanie: So yeah, that's the way we honor the folks who are no longer with us is to remember them and to keep talking about them and telling stories. I think this week my husband was wearing a fleece vest that was my dad's, and, you know, those kinds of things.
Amy: Absolutely. And it is truly honoring them. We all have those, and my siblings each have unique special stories, because they would give Chris and I a little bit of respite and try to take them back to the family farm on the weekends and take turns in that rotation. They are forever, always, we still do certain rituals. to this day we, we literally, yeah, to this day.
Stephanie: Yes. Yes. Same, same. So after spending, five years as a full-time caregiver and 10 years, managing your, parents' illnesses, you turn 40, which is normally a time where people face themselves and think about certainly one of the things that, that comes to the forefront of that era of people's lives is dealing with their own mortality, but also figuring out what's important to them and how they're going to transform or transition their lives to be more authentic to who they are, more in line with their own goals and values. So you at age 40 are coming out of this incredible whirlwind of caregiving and loss and grief. And what are the next couple of years like for you? How do you recover from that? How do you find yourself again? How do you find your footing?
Amy: Yeah, it's an interesting journey. Turning 40 is such a interesting journey for everyone because you really do, you have this finding yourself in your twenties and then all of a sudden like reentering that now who am I, in my forties and there is that, oh, the fun thing of, that's when I realized I didn't care what anybody thought anymore and all those lovely things. And for me, I found myself really struggling as to who I was at all. My biggest fans, in my mind, were gone. I was building this business while I was caring for them and, who am I, what do I even have to give? You know, no children, dogs, great nieces and nephews and all that, but it wasn't in my life, like daily. So I ended up having some female health issues shortly in through my first year of 40 . Yay. Let's go from that to that. And I would have to say just one day, I'm like, well, shit, who am I supposed to care for now? And realized, oh, maybe it's time I put a little time into myself and start caring for myself.I wasn't happy with who I was, had been teased and bullied or whatever you wanna call it as a kid for all my adolescent years and never really fully loved myself as most women can I'm sure relate to and people just in general. The first couple years were really a turning point of redefining who I was and actually going back to who a I always wanted to be and actually was. Like, let's take off the rosy glasses and let's put on some really crystal clear glasses and say, "I like the reflection that I'm seeing back," and truly being authentic in knowing that I like to dress a certain way because it makes me feel good and that's okay. That it's not maybe the norm or, oh, that's right. I've always liked to be a little different. In just truly wrapping myself around that and it has taken many years in the forties, to fully understand what that means, to own your space, own who you are, own your weird, own your style, own just yourself and be unapologetic about it, which, you know what? I would have to say, the older I get, the easier that is to really start to absorb and believe. In all honesty, it comes back to who do you wanna be? Because who you wanna be is actually who you are. If you're willing to start loving yourself for who you are.
Stephanie: I love everything about this, Amy. Oh my God, there's so much I want to talk about. So I rely on a paradigm by an author by the name of Gail Sheehy, she wrote a book called Passages in the seventies, and she talks about first adulthood and second adulthood. And the way I interpret it is your first adulthood starts at 18 or 20 or whenever you leave home, and it goes till sometime between 35 and 40 ish. And in that period you are the adult that other people raised, right? Your parents raised, your bosses, your mentors, and in your story, I hear a lot about when you say that you were teased and bullied through your teen years. I feel like those people raised you because they affected how you presented yourself to the world. And so in this transition to the second adulthood, you become the a adult that you raise, right? You start relying on your own judgment, your own experience, your own authority to say all the I am statements that maybe you had been afraid of before or you had been avoiding. So I love everything you've just talked about. It's so deep and wonderful. But I wanna know, tell me about what you used to love to wear that people teased you about, that you stopped wearing, that now you're wearing again. 'Cause to people who listen know that I'm a clothes horse and I love clothes and style. So I did an early episode with my friend Susan literally about style and how your style changes around age 40. So tell me about that piece of it, your outside presentation.
Amy: Yeah. I like unique articles of clothing.I'm a jacket, blazer, funky coat type of person. I've always been drawn to unique um, structures and styles and I'm definitely embracing that. And because it's me, it's that aspect of wanting to stand out but stand out because I'm owning who I am. I had cut my hair short in my probably um, mid to late twenties. And my dad took one look at me said, "I thought I had one son," and walked out the door. And yep. Wow. That was like a woo.
Amy: And of course then there's my mom who was like, oh, well, that whole thing. And in my first couple years of turning 40, I cut my hair. Like it was a defining moment in my life and didn't really tell a whole lot, had maybe kind of talked about it off and on to my siblings and I have a sister who's was a hair stylist for years and, yep, and just did it. And it was a pivotal point in time and I'm sure it was a heck of a lot more stylish than it was the first time I did it but I finally felt as though, and if anybody has ever, female wise, have ever cut their hair short, you will understand that there is nothing you can hide behind when you have short hair. And I'm not talking about, you know, shoulder length or chin length or any, I'm talking short and you are 100% exposed.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, you're right. I wore a pixie cut for maybe the better part of a decade through my maybe late twenties to mid to late thirties. So I know exactly what you're talking about. I went from the bob to the pixie and grow out a little bit and cut it back and grow. I did that for a lot of years, and you're exactly right. Yeah. There's no bangs to put in your face. There's no playing with your hair.
Amy: It's funny, I said to my husband this morning, "Oh, I'm just struggling with my hair." He's like, "What are you struggling with?" I'm like, "'Cause it's the longest, it's been in a very long time, and it's time." Like I can tell when it's time for me, my confidence level changes. It's that whole thing and I just think it's so interesting but I've also never been somebody who could grow my hair very long. So I think that's the other piece. I've definitely spent my forties on getting healthier from an overall fitness and weight perspective. That had always been a struggle for me all my life. And just like owning that and, not taking any of that judgment to heart anymore.
Stephanie: Yeah. So for you it's been, as the Beatles say, a long and winding road.
Amy: Oh indeed. Good tune.
Stephanie: It just popped into my head right that moment. I was like, oh, I guess I'm supposed to talk about The Beatles right now. Yeah, and that's interesting to think about for other folks who are in thatlate thirties, sort of in that just fog of this isn't quite right, this isn't quite me. There's no quick fixes.
Amy: Mm. No. And for somebody who's definitely has traits of a people pleaser and also being a true Virgo and having that perfectionism curse or blessing, however you look at it, you know, is all wrapped up into a really interesting ball of knots at times. And how do you start pulling those apart and weaving it into something that feels real.
Stephanie: Yeah, that feels good. Yeah. And it's interesting, the visual, the ball of knots. There's a lot of that because you do, you have to figure out how you start unknotting things and you'll work on one strand at a time, and then you'll have to put a strand aside to work on another strand. And then once you've got all of your threads, then you can weave them together and make something that that suits you.
Amy: And I think that turning 40 and that transition and that passageway into your second, is really, you haveall these fibers that have made, made you, made you who you are and you have this textile that you are able to now create and how you're going to wear that proudly into the world 'cause it's almost that body of arms, that shield that is, one hundred percently ours. I think we all have a superpower, you know, mine is visual spatial intelligence, for instance, and it took me forever to really realize that, that is like truly my superpower. But that's just a part of who I am and a part of my superpower and to look at that textile that we're able to craft out of all of those fibers that truly do create who we are because whether whether,that's your first passage or your second, the more you're real with yourself, the more comfortable you become. But you have to understand why certain things, like somebody showing up a certain way triggers you, then that's something you need to sit with and you need to ask yourself, why is that triggering me?
Stephanie: So well said, Amy. Just so well said. I love your visual of the fabric and the textile and that each of our textiles is so utterly unique to us because they're all made up of our experiences the bad and the good and everything in between. I just, love that.As you were talking, I didn't mean to wander, but I was thinking of the weaving of my own textile and what threads and even the little pieces of your life might just be a little piece, be a single thread where the larger pieces are, a background color. I love that. I'm gonna have to figure out a way to play with that because that's a great visual.
Amy: Well, I'm kind of a visual person.
Stephanie: Yeah, clearly. Clearly. Amy, thank you so much for joining me today. I just have enjoyed our conversation so much. You and I are contemporaries, so we're both sort of in the same stage of life, you know, past 40 and even past 50, but, um, but still working with all this good material that we've dug up in our lives in order to continue a really nice way to move forward in the world.
Amy: Oh, well, Stephanie, thank you so much for having me. What a absolute um, blessing this has been.
Stephanie: Thanks, Amy