Positively Midlife Podcast

ICMI - Incase you missed it... BIG Midlife Transitions: A Powerful Dialogue with Brandon Maslin - Ep. 76

November 15, 2023 Tish & Ellen Season 2 Episode 76
Positively Midlife Podcast
ICMI - Incase you missed it... BIG Midlife Transitions: A Powerful Dialogue with Brandon Maslin - Ep. 76
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is one of our TOP 3 epsiodes of 2023 and we're replaying it this week incase you missed it (ICMI).  We had the most feedback and comments from listeners on this episode as our guest Brandon's message really resonated with listeners from around the world.  Sit back and enjoy this replay of BIG Midlife Transitions. 

Are you standing at the crossroads of midlife transitions, wrestling with the upheaval of a career shift or grappling with the emotional toll of divorce? You're not alone. In our riveting dialogue with Brandon Maslin, a 'recovering lawyer' turned executive coach, we unpack the challenging stages of midlife – career changes, marriage and divorce alterations, the bittersweet reality of empty nesting, and the profound loss of a parent or elder. Brandon offers a raw account of his personal journey, detailing his encounters with grief, loss, and how these experiences served as a catalyst for his transformative path.

Picture this – you've finally reached that lofty career peak, only to discover that the happiness you anticipated is glaringly absent. We reveal how to navigate this professional transition, outlining a roadmap to adapt and thrive amidst unexpected career twists and turns. Our exploration continues as we delve into the often-taboo subject of divorce among adults over 50. We shift the narrative, inspiring you to perceive this challenging period as an opportunity for growth and a testament to your resilience. 

The empty nest phase can stir up a whirlwind of emotions. We dig deep into its profound impact on men and women, offering a fresh perspective to transform this time of perceived loss into a thrilling opportunity for self-discovery. 

Moving onto the heart-wrenching topic of parental loss, we discuss the unique grief it brings and ways to navigate through this emotionally draining period. Importantly, we highlight how to cherish relationships while we still have the chance, encouraging a mindset shift to serve others in the face of loss. 

We conclude with a powerful reflection on the assumption of the matriarch or patriarch role after the death of a parent and the unexpected joy and empowerment that can unfold from this transition. Step into this enlightening conversation and emerge equipped to navigate your midlife transitions with confidence and clarity.

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Speaker 1:

Hey Ellen. So today we're going to be talking about the four biggest transitions that some of us have already gone through or maybe facing here at midlife.

Speaker 2:

Well, a shocking part of midlife for me is that it brings these big transitions, the biggest that we've ever encountered, Tish. I'm consistently surprised at what gets thrown at us at this stage of life.

Speaker 1:

You know. It's so true, Ellen. I think like the changes come swifter and faster now than when we were young. So when we were young, we had these long-term plans. We planned out our careers after years of schooling. We planned out our weddings. After these long engagements and months of planning, we even planned out our children, you know, when we made decisions that we were ready to have children. But now transitions at midlife, well, they just seem to come very rapid and they're usually unplanned.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree, and today we're going to talk with Brant and Maslin, our guest, about dealing with these four key life transitions and we're going to focus on how to reframe how we deal with these changes. So we're going to talk about transitions in career. So career shifts, marriage and divorce, empty nesting and launching your kids out into the world, and the death of our parents or other elders in your life Wow, those really are the big four impactful transitions, aren't they? They are, and holy shit, thinking about it, tish, you and I have been through all four of these.

Speaker 1:

I know, but what I like is that we still have an opportunity to reframe how we look at these changes, and we can reframe them in terms of you know more, as opportunities for growth.

Speaker 2:

I like that. We really have to be open to growth moments here at midlife, and it's about how we handle these transitions with ease and clarity. But before we meet Brant and jump in, it's time for our weekly obsessions. What do you got for me this week, tish? I?

Speaker 1:

always love our weekly obsessions. Well, Ellen, you know I've been trying to do a side hustle with selling things on Poshmark and I have found like, so I have all these clothes some of them I'll find that are really cute. I'm like, oh no, there's a stain there. So I reached out on Amazon and found this kind of old school type solution. It's called the Nellie's Wow Stick and it's very inexpensive it's under, I think, $11 for the stick. It's kind of like a piece of chalk, like an old piece of chalk you'd do on a chalkboard, but it's a much waxier kind of consistency and you rub it on the spot and you work it in and I'm telling you it has been taking out, set in stains, it has been taking out blood spots. I was really surprised at how effective this was and it's kind of like one of those old school remedies that you kind of go back to.

Speaker 2:

I love. Sometimes the oldies are the goodies and I'm really proud of you for getting this side hustle together with your retail business. Bravo.

Speaker 1:

Hey, it's recession time coming up. You got to have a side hustle, right, that's what we said. But Ellen, what about you? What's your obsession for this week?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, I'm still obsessing about whether or not to go gray right oh here we go again.

Speaker 1:

This is going to be a never ending question for us, until we finally go gently to the gray zone.

Speaker 2:

But I still have the blonde highlights so that I can have some gray come in. But kind of the last week before I get my hair done I need to do a little bit of a root touch up. But I use this product called the Orbi airbrush root touch up spray and you spray it in in the morning wherever you need it and it looks so natural. It's amazing.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow, so can kind of get you through it that last week. So you have an event to go to and you're like I got too much root showing. You always get those like right before you really need to go. Your hair always seems to me to look the best. And then there's that last little bit where you're like oh dear, so I like that there's something that can get you through if you have an event.

Speaker 2:

Exactly Just that last week the Orbi airbrush root touch up. I use it all the time.

Speaker 1:

Love it. I'm going to need to try that myself.

Speaker 2:

You are okay, so let's move on to meet Brandon. A big welcome to Brandon to the Positively Myth Life podcast.

Speaker 3:

Welcome. Brandon Maslin hails from the San Francisco Bay Area and is an executive coach at BAM Leadership Coaching. He is a group learning facilitator, a thought advocate and podcast and radio co-host of Get Yourself the Job at LA Talk Radio. Brandon, it is so great to have you here with us today. Can you kind of tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?

Speaker 4:

Sure, absolutely. So yeah, brandon Maslin, I hailed from Baltimore where I was a lawyer. I now call myself a recovering lawyer. My wife once made that joke and she never thought it was funny until she was on a jury trial. Everyone laughed and I said I'm only funny to lawyers, but that's a very select audience. This law was. A trial attorney loved it, it was great, but it burned me out, as it does. Often there's a seven-year itch in law, and that was mine. I'm a third-generation lawyer. You think about midlife and you think about coming to acceptance, and I think there's two ways to do it. Either you get older or you go through tragedy. In my case it was tragedy so tragically, in horrific circumstances, losing my mother and then sort of short. A lot of things happen all at once and that kind of reevaluates your life and resets you. I did what all lost souls do, or many do in America at least, which is move to Los Angeles Great place to be unemployed because no one really has a job and reset and hiked and yoga and all those things, until I got myself a job as a recruiter legal in that case and then found my way into the amazing life-affirming magic of coaching. I wanted to be a therapist a long time ago. That wasn't really an avenue that at least, was pursued by family, but coaching was. Thank God I didn't get it there, because coaching is my call and I don't know if I call myself a coach as much as a strategic consultant, a partner, collaborator. I've worked with over 750 organizations of all sizes, from Google to Netflix, to person shops, law firms, and then I coach executives all over the world, but really anyone. When I say executive, I mean someone starting a business, I mean someone in the business and any stage in between.

Speaker 2:

What an amazing background, brandon, and I have to say I'm so glad you ended up in California and full disclosure here. I was lucky enough to have Brandon coach me in one of my former jobs. It was an amazing experience for me.

Speaker 4:

I should acknowledge that I met Alan while working at an amazing organization called Advancing Women Executives, where I worked for six years and really was my first foray into the coaching field, supporting amazing, just game changing women like Alan and so many others, and the whole purpose of the organization was to empower and lift up these amazing women all over the world. And I got the chance to be the executive coach, corporate facilitator for the entire country and then really specializing and focusing in California, in the Midwest.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's an amazing experience. So was Alan one of your success stories?

Speaker 4:

100%. I mean Alan. Alan was a success story long before I met her. Sometimes we don't see our narratives as clearly as others do.

Speaker 3:

I was going to say, is that what you a part of coaching is letting people realize what their gifts are really?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a part of what life's about, and I think this is one of the reasons that the field of coaching and so many other things are so important, because I was just reading this day like family, though, wants to keep you safe, and friends want to keep you kind of connected to them oftentimes and a great coach and come along and say this is who you are, though apps and all that, this is who you are. And, oftentimes, why are you not becoming not just who you are, but who you're meant to be? Because always within us, and a great coach will sort of push you. A long time ago, klein asked me to be a sparring partner, not a cheerleader, and that really transferred me to just sort of I was oh, I'm just going to cheer you on, but that doesn't really do anything. A sparring partner is going to get you in shape and get you where you need to be, and sometimes I miss, and sometimes I probably have a little too hard, but for the most part, it's my most effective tool, which is being that partner for you. That sort of says why are we sitting on the sidelines? Why are we waiting? Let's go.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing. I feel that that was one of the best parts of working with you as a coach. And when you're saying, it's true friends and family, they have a different perspective and keeping you safe, I think, is one of those big things, right.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. And then in Doyle talks about her book Untamed. One of the missions in life, for purposes of life, is to disappoint others, so you don't disappoint yourself. I was literally I was picking up my wife's ninth day and she was like devouring the book. And there's this great line in it which I love, where the daughter says to the mother who's writing the book like well, what about you, mom? Am I supposed to disappoint you? And she said especially me, most of all me. You don't let down your parent. What are you doing? It's breaking the cycle. My wife, she's a, read a lot of these books of breaking the cycles and she's an amazing, by the way, like game changer, if I'm impressed with my wife, is the most impressive person I know on earth. She is a leader at DoorDash. She's an incredible mother, wife, survivor in her own right, just one of the most, and then then yet the beyond kind. So I share all that to say that she's still in this growth process of wanting to be the best she can, and she's already the best. So shout out to my wife here's the point. She's always reading books about reconfirming, re-acknowledging ourselves and letting go with the past. And I think these patterns of systemic transgenerational trauma get passed on and passed on, and passed on, and I think one of the books that you just read was called like it Stops with Me or Stops with Us. I think it is. Then there's beauty in that it's okay to stop, and I think sometimes it takes us in our 30s, our 40s, our 50s I just saw someone do it at Modern Elder Academy we could talk about that in a second, 77 years old, and stopped the pattern of literally learn how to be a father because he had great kids.

Speaker 3:

So yeah, wow, and so it really leads into our conversation today regarding transitions becoming aware of what we need.

Speaker 2:

That it is, and I think we're going to talk today about four kinds of midlife transitions and I think, brandon, we're really looking forward to hearing what you have to say around each. The first one we're going to tackle is career shifts, and they could be anything from layoffs or really lack of work fulfillment at midlife, not achieving the level of success that you have, success you set out to achieve, kind of those disappointments, or it could even be getting ready and retiring.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I recently read Forbes article that really spoke about midlife professionals just around the globe and they were talking about that. They wanted something more out of their jobs, something different, something better, but they seem to be stuck and they couldn't really take action and they didn't know kind of the direction to go in. So, brandon, like in your experience, what tends to be the hardest kind of transitions for women, specifically at midlife, when it comes to their careers?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So if I could, I actually like the love to share something I learned. So Alan knows about this there's an amazing retreat facility process called Modern Outer Academy, led by Chip Connolly, An amazing co-founder by the name of Jeff, and a few other transformative leaders, and they talk about and it's really a reimagining the second half of life I use a little bit of different language that they call it midlife or whatever it might be. In the messy middle I like to say that because my friends are all in theater I like to say there's a first act, the second act, the third act, the fourth act and again fifth or sixth, it doesn't matter. You know the show can go on. If you're Bruce Springsteen, you have 100 curtain calls, for God's sakes. And so they talk about transitions in this way. They talk about the personal transitions, the professional transitions, the parenting transitions, the psychological or spiritual transitions, the place transitions, sometimes the most traumatic. Sometimes Pace do we get slower, Do we get faster? Physical passing obviously we don't know what that is the loss of Pecuniary they were really stretching with the FP because it's financial. And then, you know, I kind of did my brain and thing where I thought about my favorite transition, which is permission, and sometimes we don't give ourselves that sort of. What I might take away of all that is that, first and foremost, we have to give ourselves permission to transition and whatever that means, Because even if you get divorced or you lose a job or you lose someone you love, you can stay stuck in that moment, and the people do. They stay in that drama and they stay there forever and that's their life and I'm like just God. I'm so sad and so tragic. My mother did that in some ways too, and a lot of people do, because you don't get the help, the support or you don't give yourself permission to move on. And I don't want to negate trauma, but it's important that we don't stay there. We can use it. So sorry, I just wanted to give those because I thought those are probably brilliant and the people at MEA are brilliant. So you asked the question and let me answer it. What is hard about transitions professionally in midlife, specifically Because I don't have that question right. So it's this feeling of starting over, I think, a lot of times. I mean, let me give you another tragic story than that, because I think people think that's a tragedy, like you get to a point you get fired, you get laid off and that's a tragedy. As a lawyer, I saw a much greater tragedy play out over and over again. These specifically men oftentimes, but women too men would climb this legal ladder, get to the top partner, the top of their firms, and that you look back from the height of the wreckage of their life, the divorces, the kids who don't talk to them, everything and guess what? They're not any happier. And then, worst of all, especially these coastal lawyers, sometimes got blessed, as, myself included, I tried to. Actually, I took the knowledge of not doing this, but it's easy to fall into this trap. So I give them a lot of grace and compassion, but they then spew their anger and they spew their frustrations and they spew it all out. That is like Greek tragedy to them. That's tragic, that's midlife tragedy, because now you're at the top and you've fought and you've sacrificed everything, and for you to look in the mirror now would be like Medusa you had turned a stone and it wouldn't work. So that's tragic to my midlife. What I've seen, the firing, the layoff I can't do this anymore the awakening, the awareness, those are beautiful, those are glorious tragedies. And what I like to say and this might help is there's three ways to handle that in midlife. One is, yes, you get laid off and that sucks, or you get fired and that's kind of even worse. But let me really I'm gonna get to my best caveat for getting fired in a second. Two is you quit and you find another job or another career, and that's hard, that finding a new career is really, really hard. And then the third one, which is I'm a big component of it and I really promote this idea, is you get spectacularly, blaze of glory, ball of flames fired. And I will always go to bat for that one, because the bottom line is oftentimes, when that happens, it's when you've been in a 20, 25, 30 year career. I mean Ellen might even know people that fall under this category that just woke up when they was like I am going to share my voice, I am going to say the things that I was too scared was never gonna say. The women I know in particular, and some men that have done that are the most successful, happiest and most transformative people I know on earth. So transitions aren't always bad, but it's really not bad when you own the narrative.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, when you own the narrative, I think it's really great. How about when you don't? What do women in particular need to do when facing some of those challenges you just mentioned? I know that fear is a big thing. Fears played a big part in my life and my career and as we get older, I think women are less afraid.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, 100%, fucking percent. Sorry, I'm a lot of questions, you're good, all right. First off, I should disclaim her, but I normally begin with I don't want to mansplain anything, or he peed anything or god forbid. So anything I talk about is clearly not remained white, cis male angle right. It is simply talking to 2000 to 3000 and more of the most powerful women I've ever met on earth, most of them who are in business, but some of them are teachers, like my mother, and nurses, like my amazing mother-in-law, who will define fear as false evidence appearing real. On college, you nurse end of life care and that woman just goes straight into the battle zone. And so I say this because fear is not always real, but I think we can give it power. So I don't have that resonance for you, the idea of fear as not appearing real. I'm actually curious, does that resonate for you, that false evidence, as you look back at something like why was I worried? That wasn't really going on?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think we put a lot of angst onto what if this doesn't work, and what if, what if, what if? And we get stuck in that hamster wheel of not moving forward. And when we finally just embrace it and then sometimes like, if we're forced into it, such like a layoff, we don't have any choices. Sometimes the outcome is even better than where we were before.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, I know I say that sometimes I mean my daughter might run into this room any second. But one of the superpowers of like losing everything, as I did tragically was I didn't have fear for a long time, because then the ones that already have my career followed up on my people I love to die and care, you know, and then you get a kid and get a, you know, and it's like God, you know, there's actually just watching the last of us and the guy talks about this is like survivalist and he talks about finding his partner and he's like, damn it, I had no fear. It's like this. The trade-offs of fear is really it's both beautiful when you have nothing to lose, but it's even more beautiful when you do. What we have to realize is losing a career. I think this is my most important thing. Fear is we're losing something, but my experience we've lost it long ago. So one of the things I talk about I know I'm going to talk about divorce today, but I was a domestic attorney before I was a recruiter and then, obviously, executive coach and I still believe that congratulations is due to anyone who's gotten fired, laid off or been divorced, meaning something happened to you. Right, you didn't choose. But I still say to somebody I'm not saying that's not, I know how, I've seen firsthand but if it's a lawyer and as a coach, how painful that is and devastating it is so, and both financially. But I want to say this no one in history has ever left their dream job or dream person. What we're mourning is something that was, that person we married, or that 18 year old right or whatever, or that we married in high school sweetheart's case, or we're mourning the job that was. But no one knows this all too well. A company can change a lot in 30 something years or 20 something years, and we hold on to these bonds. I mean, that's like the military. People don't go to war for the purpose, they go to war for their friends, and so I think that, at least according to my military, like all the great military leaders I'm friends with and know, you know it's a person next to you as well, more than the cause. But the company starts letting you down, the person starts letting you down long before it ends, and really it's a freeing of these kind of. A friend of mine said this to me, or not a friend, a friend of the room, leader, mea, said you know he's hard. He says is it going to push me? There's a great line in Ted Lasso. He said I'm going to push you. It's going to be difficult. And one of the things that I think a great, terrible job and terrible spouse can do for us is they can be a mentor, but you can't have mentor or mentor. Mentor, that's not mine, that's Ted Lasso's. I love that line. You can't have mentor or mentor. And what's the lesson we can take? What's the lesson we can clean so that we don't fall the real fear? My experience is not falling into the old patterns. Forget the nip.

Speaker 2:

Brandon, I have to say this is a great segue for us to kind of move from career transition to divorce transition too. And I have to say that kind of my motto was I stayed at the dance too long, whether it was in a relationship or whether it was at a company or a specific job. And again, I think some of that was based out of fear, and so I like this idea of relationship. Transitions can be equal in some level around a career transition. Tish and I love stats so I'm just going to throw out a couple right here. It's the national trend to divorce among adults over 50 years or older. What Tish and I love to say is midlife, or third act, or fourth act or fifth act, I don't know what act we're on right now, but it's over 43%, and it's really, I think, akin also to women who become widows at midlife as well, and we women live longer, right, so these things are going to happen to us.

Speaker 3:

So, whether it's divorce or the job, that kind of thing, how do you start helping reframe the discussion with people to see it in better and healthier ways?

Speaker 4:

We get so focused on the loss we forget the game and we forget right at. This actually was said to me a training idea for legal team in Ohio. But someone said we get so busy, focused on the mountains, we have to climb something that would forget all the mountains we've climbed. And I think that's one of the things I do, especially in career, by the way, but divorce as well is that it's so easy. And, by the way, when, actually when I'm trying to save a marriage if I am or partnership, I'm usually like you guys have climbed so many mountains, like why do you think this is one mountain? You won't. And sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong. But I had one friend doing COVID, be like my marriage is amazing and work is amazing, and I was like I will be talking to you in three years and I actually never reconnected. But everyone else was like hey, I'm in it and I'm like you're my tribe right, because it's that feeling of loneliness and alone. And so the game comes from knowing you're not alone, both with no stats, but also realizing. I think and I really believe this, actually, alan, what did you gain? I think loneliness, right. It's almost for most people if you think of life as a hero's journey. You start at the top. You return home, it's Luke Skywalker. The alone is a swamp If you follow a star horse, but the point is that when you're alone, it feels terrible, but you know what has always feels worse, in my humble opinion? Feeling alone. Laying in bed next to someone, or feeling alone. This is something I experienced so often in my career, in my life. Feeling alone at work. Why are you all okay with this firm, this company, this, what have you? Why am I the only one that's not okay? Why am I broken? Right Turns out they were all better at hiding it, but it doesn't matter. And so I think what happens when you gain is you're actually not alone now, but if nothing else, you're connected to yourself, and if you want or do what I do, which is listen to Dolly Parton's Light of a Clear Blue Morning, or St Dolly's I call her, it's like, even though I'm Jewish, I think Dolly's probably a patron saint, I'm a positive.

Speaker 1:

I'm a Catholic.

Speaker 4:

If she's not, she should be y'all. I don't know who you're talking to about that stuff, but Light of a Clear Blue Morning is gospel. It's just literally about being in a situation and breaking free and realizing that you've been chained. And I think we get so used to the chains that we get uncomfortable with the freedom. And I know change is a really intense word, but it's these bonds, these connections, these things we're so afraid of losing. That's true, for I know we're going to talk about grieving, but that's true for grieving we get so comfortable with the uncomfortability but the idea of anything else becomes too terrifying.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, sometimes I think the many women fear being alone more than anything else, right, and that's the same within a career or a marriage, and I think that's when you talk about the hero's journey. I think that really resonates with me, brandon, really that circle right Of that journey and seeing yourself as the hero of your own story. I don't know, tish, if that's kind of a new concept for you, but I really like that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think for me, where I've been in my personal journey because I've had a lot of changes, especially the last two and a half years is I become really good with being solo at times. I don't have that sadness all the time, so there's that peace that comes with that. But I do like to shake life up a lot. I do like to get uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. That is a place that I try to get to because that's where the growth happens.

Speaker 4:

And you said the most important word there, trish, which makes you see this is the tragedy. Right, we can talk about this all day and someone's gonna listen to this podcast or whatever and go out. They don't know what they're talking about. And it's because fixed mindset versus growth mindset, right, so I mean, we talk about, you know, at the Academy. I just want to, but, like God, that's important for Midland. If you have a fixed mindset, I feel for you because you're not gonna do any of the things. But, trish, what you said is I've always had a growth mindset. Ellen's always had a growth mindset. Right, it's like it really is important to get there because if you don't, whatever transition comes is gonna feel you're not gonna move, you're gonna stay stuck because you've already developed your narrative and you're not gonna be ready. A growth mindset allows you to have anything happen. That's anything grow. It all at me and I'm great. I'm only bad at this when it comes to negative criticism, but for the most part, what can I garner from this? And I can do it with criticism. It just takes me like a lot longer and I like the same shortening that. But the point is, what happens if I'm putting myself on the spot there it feels like a personal attack. It goes to like, especially a person who was bullied as a kid and wants to be so desperately liked my biggest aha lately, trish. Maybe it's not exactly being alone, but it's the power of I don't have to be liked. Yeah, that's scary for me. I know what it is to not be liked. I know most of them. I know what it is to stand in front of a room as the only guy and be like, hated by people. I know what is it to be the only guy in front of a room I do. It's talking about feminism be hated Like I've been the hated person often times. For the audacity to be myself I mean it hurts. It just hurts so bad and I think it hurts, but that's what happens in great divorces and great layoffs and great firings. Is that like you have the audacity to be yourself and you are getting fired or divorced or whatever because of that audacity? How fucking beautiful part of my French, but like how fucking I don't know why. Why is it fucked French, not a podcast, but like you know why. How beautiful is that.

Speaker 3:

I only get it. When I had gone through a divorce, one of my aha moments was my spouse was telling me during an argument you can't do that and I go, I can do anything I wanna do. And that was like, oh wait, a minute, I've taken the reins back here, I'm changing the narrative, I'm reframing how this is gonna go forward, and that was an aha moment for me during my divorce.

Speaker 4:

And your whole energy shift and I know most people probably listen to this but, like you, literally grab the reins and pull it back to yourself and you're basically like saying no, no, you don't get to hold these. This is mine, this is my life, this is my narrative. I love that and your whole energy and your joy shifts. One of the things I will say for a divorce, or if it's worth it, to anyone who has been divorced, having studied, I don't know how I'm I mean, having done cases, and you know my whole narrative of if I'd seen in Baltimore, I don't know if I'd ever got married. I don't know if I'd still be a lawyer I'd still be. I don't know. I wouldn't be. I might not be here because of the trajectory I was on versus happily married and the life I have now. And I only say that because the force boils on the one thing it's not abuse, it's not money, it's not religion, it's not economics God forbid. Everyone says money, it's not, it is. I knew this was a problem going into the marriage and I thought it would get better and it never did. They said they didn't want kids, but I thought they changed your mind. I knew they had a drinking problem, but I thought it would get better. They thought, yeah, they had an anger. And I thought and what you really had to do in a marriage or job, by the way, supplies are, all things is go. I know this is a problem, but can I live with it? I love that. My wife and I are pottery and our jagged edges fit together. It's how we fell in love. I fell in love with her jagged edges before I fell. She's, they're so small, it's like 1% of her, but God do I love her right? A friend of mine, a lawyer, went to my room and angry little man that he is, a lot of lawyers are, and he was like she's driving me nuts, she's driving me nuts. And I go nuts, you're nuts, you're a mess. I've been with me for two years. Nuts, just find your brand of nuts. Is she on academia, is she in almond? Whatever you are, find your brand. And he was like I think she might be my nut. I'm like, go away, you know, but it's really beautiful. He's so smart that he had to reframe his brain like, oh yeah, I'll either be alone forever or recognize that I can live with this brand, this thing, these jagged edges, and that's beauty, but the feeling that someone's gonna change or evolve or whatever, and then we'll be okay, never happens.

Speaker 2:

No, I have to say. A wise woman told me when I was much younger that and I think this works for both men and women that a house is a fixer upper. A partner isn't right. So you have to be okay with them exactly as they are going into the relationship, and I think younger selves, if I could put this, think we're going to improve them and mold them and change them and all of that. So what you said, brandon, really speaks to me. I think, tish, we need to go find our nuts. Yeah, that's right find your nuts. I love it Looking forward, but I think these are some wise words around relationships. I know that we wanted to talk about transitioning kids out into the world and some empty nesting. Tish, you just went through this.

Speaker 3:

So I have this experience four times over, but it's the last one that leaves the house. That's the game changer. That's when especially whether you're in a marriage or not when the last child leaves that house, then it's you in the mirror. It's just you in the mirror. And we talk a lot about in the podcast, about what happens now and taking control and reframing however you want to look at it these transitions to make them amazing, not to just wallow in the sadness of what do I do? Now? Your whole friends group changes, your daily activities change. So how do you help women transition? How do you see women being able to reframe this? Now? I don't have to be mom day in and day out.

Speaker 2:

I have to say that you know I'm right on the cusp of this to Tish. I have my last child at home. He's leaving in six months or less, and you know what, brandon and Tish. There are days that I'm really excited for this. I cannot wait. And there are days, even though we talk about it all the time on the podcast, I've taken up hobbies. I'm out there, you know, doing different things. I think I'll have more time to focus on my work, write my relationships. There's a part of me that's like holding on to this so tightly. So I'll be interested, brandon, to see what kind of advice you have here about this handling this transition.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I mean, two things come to mind, two things. One is my mother and two is, I think, the new reality we're living in and I'll start with that, because I've done this game long enough that, like, what do women want? It's like you know, I'm not going to step on that trap, you know, I think there seems to be a way to do it. I'll skip it. No, I will, but I'll speak authentically about my experience. So one thing that me and my friends joke around a lot of my general counsel friends, guys are kind of successful. Like, who are these men that were allowed to golf all weekend? You know, like I don't know them Like, and more and more. If we're really, that's the joke. Like you know, because we all married like on purpose, every one of my friends made a powerful woman Like that would be like hi, honey, good luck with the kid. You know, I friended my. We went down to LA and he was like I'm going to stay one day and my wife was like, get your ass home. You know, like it's just, we live in a generation where I don't know who these men were, but I sure as hell don't know them now. And I know they exist, don't get me wrong. But like you know that whole idea of partnership, like I'm, I don't know how it's going to happen. I know I'm going to probably have a hard time in my life. You know, like, because just because I'm the dad, you know my wife is amazing. My wife has taken her school, my wife has her comfort, my wife is, but I'm like the play, like I'm the person who has all the fault. You know, I do all the play Aaron does, and then we're trying to switch right and I'll do the caregiving because there's beauty in there. We're true partnership 50-50. And I say that because you know I think that's shifting. I really do. I don't think it's going to be a woman issue, I think it's going to be a man issue, is my point, and I'm seeing that with my guy friends. And how hard we. You know I hate leaving my kid for a week. I hate going to work trips. I don't have to. You know I'll charge whatever I can. I hate you want me to leave my family, or literally paying me to leave my family now, because otherwise I'd rather just be with them, et cetera. So share that with you because I do think that's shifting and I wonder if we're not going to see a transition in not in and also the shared experience of most men and women really mourning it in a different way. Moving forward, I hope we do. My mother 100% died with no question about it, by poor disorder and alcoholism and probably a lot of trauma mixed in, and she held it a bay. You know, all these people have these terrible childhoods. They speak up. I got bullied a lot and tease a lot, but I didn't have what you would refer to as a bad child because my mother was amazing. But the second I left the house she fell apart and then she became full blown alcohol, full blown. All the demons she kept at bay for me for 18 years came rushing back at 19. And that is its own tragedy, and I think they're probably there. My father God bless him was around. He loved me but he wasn't. I had a mom. My dad was Gary and my mother was mom. You know my dad's having a great third act, by the way, where I call him dad now I didn't call him dad for those checkers, so you share that too, cause, how tragic, how fucking tragic. If I had a time machine I'd be like listen, thanks. Obviously you set the model for whom I was a father and a man and a human, but I'd have to be around and happy and healthy, and I think the problem that we have from empty nesting her parents and I certainly suffer from this. I went to modern outer Academy away from my family, leaving my child, leaving my wife, feeling shit, and I was like I'm going to be here, though, for this company that sent me and to be a better husband and father, and I talked about that for three days. I'm going to be a better husband and dad, husband and dad, husband and dad, better coach, husband and dad. And day three came and I'm like a start looking in the mirror be a better person to you. And I came back a hundred percent better father, husband and, I think, coach, because they spent that second half focusing on how you get better than me. That's the secret to empty nesting. For the first time in most people's lives, they have a chance to really focus fully on how they can be the best themselves. We don't get that when we're around our families as much Our kids, my humblest.

Speaker 3:

I would definitely agree with that. We talk a lot about, like you know, that, especially with women, you're considered selfish if you do things that are just for you and not for the family or spouse or something like that. And I think this idea that all of a sudden you have all this time, and so Ellen and I talk a lot about planning it out, like being ready, like it don't just all of a sudden they the door closes and they've left and you're like now what? But to like plan it out, and I think that really speaks to your reframing.

Speaker 4:

I love that and I love what you just said. You don't stop being a role model. You don't stop being the model, so you leave and that you crumble. That's still the lesson that child will get.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 4:

You know that's the truth. You know, I spent a lot of time recovering from the trauma of the lesson my mother showed me once you have nothing or you give everything to someone.

Speaker 3:

That's a lot of guilt too. That's a lot of. I always talk about that. Like children are not our emotional partners and we can't guilt them into being such.

Speaker 4:

No, that's right, and I think I played that role, as alcoholism usually does that part of it. It's the disease, is kind of the relationship. It's an irony of bronze me, my wife, we both went through Al-Anon, you know, I mean, and her mother came out the other side healthier and happier than she ever been and my mom died. I mean, it's the only difference, literally the only difference. That and having great friends, having great friends, my mom had not great friends and some really awful friends and Marcy had some. My mother-in-law had some amazing friends. I swear to God, that's the only difference.

Speaker 2:

I think community, brandon community, like you're saying is so important, and Tish and I have this amazing community of college friends. There's 10 of us that I know I can go to really at any time. But I think about empty nesting. It doesn't matter if you're a single mom, like Tish and I, or you're married and in a great partnership. It's such a hard time and I think what we're saying and what I'm hearing you say is that reframing it right, the giving yourself permission to, to explore and to do things other than mothering or parenting or, you know, just being your authentic self, is, I think, really important here at this transition.

Speaker 4:

Sorry, doing that thing. I never interrupted when we got interrupted at this level of 75% more than men so stating it. But you said something really important because I think about how you know, about how powerful and amazing you are, ellen in particular. I'm getting to know that about you too. All right, I'm going to go fucking full East Coast just for a second. I'm a curse. I'm going to say something. Why the actual fuck do we call it empty nesting? How insane is that term? It's literally if they, if the nest continues right, I assume that first still sleeps somewhere. Last time I checked it's fucking empty. Think about that. Think about that word. It's literally saying the day the children leave, nest is done. The home. Let's assume the home is the nest. The home is empty. What the why? Why have we allowed that terminology to permeate our societal brains? It literally means no one exists. It is empty. Nothing is here anymore. That is sorry.

Speaker 2:

No, it's true. It's true, I promise. Maybe we need to change that narrative, right? Do we call it better term? Yes, we need a better term.

Speaker 3:

Let's do it, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 4:

Well.

Speaker 2:

I think we could have a whole entire podcast on that, if you ask me, right?

Speaker 3:

So I think the most of our podcasts are about that, but it's interesting because you had said something, Brandon, like the nest isn't really empty, so there, there's more there. But the final transition that we wanted to talk about is when there is no more there, and you were also talking about it too. When you lost, when you lose your parents, that is like a loss that hit you in the soul. That's not something you can redo, and I said to so many friends who get frustrated with their parents I go one day, you're not going to even have this, You're going to miss it. So, you know, cherish that moment, because those you can't. There's nothing left, you know, except for the memories and so true, tish.

Speaker 2:

I just have to add in here Tish and I both lost our parents fairly. What I think is early, right in life, and I do. If I long for anything, if I have envy at anything, it's having parents to be there for either me or for my kids. You know that intergenerational bonding that that we've missed out on, and so I have this parental loss or loss of another elder. We have a lot of listeners that they may be taking care of aging aunts and uncles or siblings that are now, you know, our age or older. So there is this whole idea of this permanent loss.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and they've studied and said you know, by age 54, two thirds of us will have lost at least one parent. So this is when it's really coming, you know, deep for people, and I think it's super important to have a reframing ready for this one.

Speaker 2:

I do too. This one's a whopper. So, brandon, I'm going to be really interested to hear what you you know you have to say about this. It's also like the loss of rituals, habits and like, unlike the last three transitions. You know, we can always get another job, we can find another mate, things are around, the nest is not really empty, but the death of someone we love and respect as an elder is is final. How do we find a healthy transition here?

Speaker 4:

You know it's interesting you were talking about okay, so there's two different things here. I mean it's Trisha said. You know what do you do before they die. You know that will really determine how you recover after they die. One thing they talk about this whole end of life. You know, like my life has been both a tragedy and then like whatever version of a happy movie, you know you want to write. Like, after my mother died, a friend of mine who's a Broadway actor and musician wrote a song called Shit Year and he would perform it and people would come up to him bawling, going. I can't believe that happened to you. And then you go oh, it's about my friend Brandon. I'm fine and I had him write a sequel at my wedding and but I've gotten from my father all the things that I that you could hope for him because he had to fill that role. So speak about actions. After she passed up, he filled the matriarchal role for alpha narcissist, all the things he grew up with. He won 80 to be a version of him that never would have existed if my mom was still here. Now I take my mom out of the bay, but I think here's where I'm at. Two things, one by poor, alcoholic, yada yada, and everyone, all of her friends, would go. This isn't fair. This isn't fair. I'm like I don't know. For 18 years she was my only friend. She was the one who fought for me, loved me, cared for me. I can tell you 100 reasons why my life is what it is and it's that woman. Yeah, I guess we could argue all day whether this is fair or not there, whether while everyone in their 20s is building their careers and going off and maybe getting married or finding themselves, and I'm picking up a phone every night to make sure she's okay and then sometimes picking up with the floor or getting her committed or any of the fuck. But you know why she gets that? Because for 18 years she was there every day of my life and you know what, even at her most unhealthy, if I said, hey, mom, I need advice, she would pick up the phone and give me advice or be there, and it was a way to get her to snap out of it because she could still be a mother even at her sickest. So you get that If you're a great parent, you get the return. But I say that to you because no fucking regrets the worst thing you can do if your parent dies is to have a regret. I cannot imagine it. I don't. I want to have it with my dad and I do have it with my mom. But here's why and this is the story and I have to share it because it's true Is that the one night I don't pick up the phone, I'm dating someone who says you don't deserve it. So I'm like maybe you're right, and the phone dies and I don't pick up the phone, the mess begin the morning. As you're not picking up the phone, I'm so alone I'll be dead in the morning. And she was one night in 10 years. I don't pick up the phone and she's dead. And I found her frozen to death in the snow. True story. That's a fucking real thing. That happened in my life. How the hell do you recover from that? I don't know. I called my sister. The first thing she said after she found my mom is that please don't hurt yourself, which is probably the smartest thing she ever said, because it was like Like that's what you're worried about. I went and the greatest thing I've learned after someone dies is go into service. Go into service. Go into service. Help others. You feel helpless. Help, you feel alone, connect. But if you can help others at your lowest, you will not feel help. That's one. Do everything you can to be there. I don't care. People say I shouldn't have to do this, I shouldn't have to do this. If your mom, if your mom and your dad are great, do it, and if they weren't, don't do it. Ok, that's the truth. You know they don't now get the cash in a check. They never put money into or whatever bank account they didn't cash. So you don't owe them shit if they were shit. You know, in front of my friends cursing a lot, I know.

Speaker 3:

When I passionate subjects, that's fine yeah.

Speaker 4:

And I talk fast. I know that. So if you're listening to this at double speed, there's no way you're listening to it. But here's my point Actions after and I think this is true what do you? If our parents, at their core level, love us, then don't we owe it to ourselves to love ourselves? I really believe this, sometimes, while our parents Now my dad and me have a different relationship. But if I stayed working for my father, I never was going to become who I was going to be. If my mom was still alive, I'd still be in Baltimore because I would have never left her. So I wouldn't have my kid, who is my, my universe, my world and who my mother would have loved. What am I, my wife, who I love, my mother, would be best friends with. You know, I wouldn't have my mother-in-law, who is basically reincarnating my motherly, more neurotic and more annoying, kidding. Love you, marsha. But I wouldn't have these people and I wouldn't have this life for this profession, for this place. So I say that all that you, because if the cost is the loss, you owe it to them to gain, and I just was with amazing women who has lived through so much trauma from narcissistic, selfish mother who was abusive in every sense, it sounds like, and we were talking when she has Alzheimer's and dementia. So she'll never get that thing that I got my dad where you get to stay, all the pain and all the things, but then also get like the hallmark ending of like I'm so proud of you, I'm sorry and I love you and all the things I've got. And right, she's never going to get that, but here's what she got. She went to the Alzheimer's unit and her mother, who has been only can talk about herself, only can focus on herself, only can do whatever, grabbed her hand and kissed it over and over again I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. And I was like hurting her and she was like I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you over and over again. And she walks down, she goes, she's finally gone, she's lost it. And the nurse says I've spent a year with your mother. I think that's actually who she is. Wow, I think that's. I think she always she loves you, because that one's filled with love. She just buried it under a lifetime of pain.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

That's the resolution.

Speaker 3:

Right. I think in our society that we're so focused on this perfect life and everything's perfect and perfect and we forget that the struggle is really what makes it interesting and really what brings us to our pinnacle.

Speaker 4:

That's right. Suffering Buddhism really helped me. I have a good friend. I was best man in his wedding and he said he taught me how to be a wasp and I taught him how to be a Jew. And what that means is I taught him to feel something and he taught me how not to feel everything. I love that and he won't. After my mother died, I'm wallowing it and wallowing it. He just goes. I don't know what to tell you, brandon. Everything changes. And I was like, you know I. But every other person was like oh my God, yeah, your mother died tragically in a world you know. And he's like everything changes. And I'm like, and he's like, and he starts apologizing and you know, you said it, tell me why. And he goes. Well, when he spoke about Buddhism and he said and it literally says it like, and so I go in and I and like he shares a book of me and it literally says our unhappiness. You know, I'm paraphrasing here my takeaway, for what it's worth, I don't want to quote a religion. My takeaway was this Unhappiness comes from two places Either we are terrified that we're going to lose, or something is going to change, so we so unhappy that that thing might happen or something is bad and we think it's going to stay that way forever. There you go. That is unhappy. So if you just accept that everything changes, then you will spend less time. And unhappy. So you accept that change is a constant and a must. The other thing that the bad lesson I took away from that because I don't want to be with suffering gives and Victor Frankel talks about this man, search for meaning, Give suffering, give the pain meaning. So then I suffered and I suffered and I suffered and one day I was my best friend, brad in LA. You know who's a state for the best friend of me. You know most are like love stories. I'm like I'll move my best friend who put me up on a sofa until his wife choicefully kicked me out. She didn't realize it, but metaphorically they both did. They were like go go live your life. So lost puppy. But before that we're in Los Angeles, we're in Benchor Boulevard and the sun is shining and I got really sad, I got really depressed and I was like I'm going to use this Trish, I'm going to use this pain, I'm going to figure out how I can use it today. And he looks at me and he sees me like about the crime he goes no, no, nothing happened. Nothing happened. In the second we were laughing outside this car to the five blocks, god, you walk anywhere in LA. To the five blocks. You drive to the tea shop, which is another thing doing. I'm like nothing happened, nothing happened. And I was like, well, let me feel my no Great. No, because there is the truth of that. We can use it. There's a truth of the transition and then there's a truth that if we wallow in it too long, we are not living our lives, we're not transitioning, we are not embracing the change, we are not dancing in the glory of the opportunity to grow and if we're not growing, we're dead. You don't want to grow old great Alternative is kind of worse last time I checked. And so grow and use it and find the beauty in the manure and the shit yeah.

Speaker 2:

I have to say I relate to that so much. When my mother died I went to a parental loss group and I walked away with one thing and Tish, I know you and I have talked about this Is that it was kind of like a football game. And now the front line is gone and we are the front line. I am now the matriarch of my family and I have some responsibilities and some joy and some power and some reframing of this, not as somebody who's lost something, but now I am that tree, I am that strength for my family. So it was that transitioning, that rewriting of that that really gave me power in that instance.

Speaker 3:

Oh, and I just love that. I have not heard that from you before and you know it's that taking the torch and moving it forward now, yeah, I love that I feel powerful as the matriarch right.

Speaker 4:

Yeah and an opportunity. You would not have had that joy in your voice, that passion, that natural transition you would not have had if your mother and getting to peace with that in the ultimate loss you can find gain and being okay in that is so hard.

Speaker 2:

But yet a natural life transition. This is the circle, this is the hero's journey that we've been talking about throughout all of these transitions today. So I think this is just a really great way for our listeners and Tish, for you and I to really look at framing transitions. Yes, brandon.

Speaker 3:

I can't thank you enough for being here. This has been really kind of eye-opening, you know. It's kind of really doing a path that people can follow, of it's okay to transition, it's okay for things to change. They're going to be different, but that doesn't mean they're going to be bad and I think it is. It's about changing your mindset. We talk a lot about changing our mindset, manifesting all kinds of things like that, but at midlife, what are we waiting for? This is it? Let's go, we're in that. What chapter are we in? Third, fourth, fifth, I don't know.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Brandon, for being here today.

Navigating Midlife Transitions With Ease
Navigating Transitions in Midlife
Navigating Career and Divorce Transitions
Empty Nesting and Transitioning for Women
Parental Loss and Recovery
The Power of Transition and Acceptance