Real Talk: Midlife By Design

Ep. 19 | Designing Your Midlife By Choice with Sid McNairy

December 07, 2021 Ericka, Curator of Zest / Sid McNairy, Author and Coach Season 1 Episode 19
Real Talk: Midlife By Design
Ep. 19 | Designing Your Midlife By Choice with Sid McNairy
Show Notes Transcript


Is it a place of struggle, or a place of ease?

Is it a place of nothingness, or a place of bountiful, new beginnings?

Is it a moment of staying stuck in being lost, or an opportunity to reveal one’s true self?

No matter your answers to these questions, it brings you back to the same point … do you have a real choice in designing your midlife outcomes?

Our guest today responded with YES, to all of those questions and he has been living his designed midlife with his wife, Liz, for the past several years.

Sid McNairy is a relationship guru who has transformed himself to help others find the relationship to connect to their highest and best self.

He is a coach of coaches, teachers of teachers, healer of healers,
and guide to shamans inspirational speaker and a connector of connection to your highest.

Sid's work is widely known internationally, and he is a best selling author of six books.

His next book, the search for the perfect wave releases November 11, of 2021.

Stay connected with Sid  and find out more about her work with the quick, access links below:



We're inspired to become the #1 Resource for Midlife Women. Go get access to articles, expert insights and more at  The Zestful Movement

Ericka  00:04

Midlife. What does it mean to you? I believe that midlife is a place to recognize, reprioritize and redefine your purpose. It's a place of new beginnings, new personal growth and new adventures. Midlife is a chance to release your outdated labels and begin designing your second like journey. How? With heart centered experts, tangible tools and a supportive community. Why? Because if not now, then when? Now that's real talk. I am Ericka, your host and Curator of Zest. Let's begin building our midlife by design together. If you're enjoying this content, please follow and share this podcast with someone you care about too, as it truly helps to keep that zesty energy flowing and visit where you'll find more resources cultivated for your midlife journey on health, relationships and more. 


Ericka  01:02

Sid McNairy is a relationship guru who has transformed himself to help others find the relationship to connect their highest and best self. He is a coach of coaches, teacher of teachers, healer of healers, and guide to shamans, inspirational speaker and a connector of connection to your highest. Sid's work is widely known internationally, and he is a best selling author of six books. His next book, the search for the perfect wave releases November 11, of 2021.  


Ericka  01:41

Midlife, is it a place of struggle or a place of ease? Is it a place of nothingness or a place of bountiful new beginnings? Isn't a moment of saying stuck and being lost? Or an opportunity to reveal one's true self? No matter your answer to these questions, it brings you back to the same point. Do you have a real choice in designing your midlife outcomes? Our guest today responded yes to all of these questions. And he has been living his design mid life with his wife, Liz for the past several years. Sid, welcome to Midlife by Design.


Sid  02:19

Hey, thank you for having me. I appreciate being here with you Ericka and look forward to this conversation.


Ericka  02:25

Yeah, me too. And I know that we're going to get some really good insights because I look to you Sid. And I'm always in admiration of your walk. Why you're walking?  Because your walk is your talk. And I think you really inspire people to show up as their whole complete potential selves. And so I have to ask you, how do you find the courage to move forward towards your truth, regardless of societal expectations? And how do you think your missteps in your life have helped to move you forward in this personal journey?


Sid  02:55

Awesome. Well, first, I'd say that the desire to move forward is that I fully committed to my walk, you know, I committed to bringing peace forward. My native name, He Who Brings Peace was given to me on my third vision quest, and, and at the same time as receiving at name, I was asked if I would take on the mission for Spirit to bring peace to the world. So because of that, my level of commitment to being a yes, because I was told you don't have to do it. It's could be hard and all the different things to deter me from saying yes. But when I said and when I said yes, it was like, Okay, this is a full on commitment. So, even in moments where sometimes, I mean I haven't drank in almost 16 years now. 16 years coming Labor Day.


Ericka  03:58

Oh, my goodness. 


Sid  03:59

And there's those moments where I'm like, what does it look like if I were to drink? And often in my life, it looked like something other than peace. Whether it was whether it was the next day or being irritable just because I'm now going on a high and a low you know? All those different things didn't look like peace. So because I've made that commitment, I'm am constantly in evaluation on where's peace missing. And that guides me to keep going.


Ericka  04:41

That makes a lot of sense. So essentially, you're like really clear on your why. And your why is to live in peace. And so you're in a situation where you can assess whether or not your choices are going to support that or hinder that. And you're so clear on what it is you're here for and what it is you want to do that it becomes easier for you to make those choices. and supportive piece is that essentially?


Sid  05:02



Ericka  05:03

Okay, and that's and that's really attainable to most people. But sometimes I do believe we forget that. So if you're a little wavering on that, how would someone shore up? How could they get so clear on what their mission is, so they can be more true to their choices?


Sid  05:20

Well, I think first is to recognize when are you truly happy? What is it that you truly want in your life? Like, I remember sitting with one of my teachers, and she asked me, what is your...what's your go to thing that you want in your life? And I was like, love, and she's like, you're such a liar. I was like, oh, wait a minute. Why did she just tell me I'm a liar? And I was like, No, I really want love. She's like, you don't get it. And she moved on, ask somebody else. And I was like, Oh, I do get it. And she came back. And she was like, what do you what do you think I mean? And I said, well, actually, it's not love. Because I'm, I'm often miserable, more often than I am in love with my life. And so if I really wanted love, I would have love. But the real thing is, I want misery. So I'm miserable. And so I had to start looking at everything so different from that point on.


Ericka  06:29

That's very interesting. ow we do ask for what we want, but we live otherwise. Like our walk in our talk, they don't necessarily line up. And so do you feel like that was like a key transition for you to your highest ground understanding that you're walking, your talk had to be in alignment with one another?


Sid  06:44

Yeah, I mean, that I that if I really wanted to have a life that I loved, I had to actually start seeing it from myself. It had nothing to do with, like, the trees don't change, especially down here in Florida. That's all there are always green. Right? So if I look at the trees, and I'm like, angry trees, that's not the trees vault. That's my view of the tree. And that's the same thing. When I look at a person. If I'm constantly like, that looks like anger, I might want to evaluate how I'm seeing through my lenses.


Ericka  07:19

Absolutely. So it really comes back to awareness, accountability as well. Those are some challenging things for people. And you have become a master at that. And I think you're a brilliant example of it, of being that master and who you are and who you want to be. But what about for the people who are listening? Good. Okay, that's great. And good for Sid, but what do you do when you have a life partner that maybe has different views on things? Right, so how did you stay united as a couple within this process of chosen change? Like how did you find that common ground to move together? Together forward?


Sid  07:53

Well, you know, to be honest, I am. I had two marriages earlier in my life. Then I had a long relationship. I had a short relationship that my grandma made me break up with. Okay, then I found Liz. And so, for my parents who went through all the swings together, you know, like, which are the same swings, I went, I have gone through. I just chose that, alright, right now, our path is not moving in the same direction. And I choose to walk away. My parents chose to stay and neither are wrong. I think it's just a matter. For me. It was a matter of I need to figure out what works for me the most. And that didn't look like staying, because I had I had witnessed what staying looked like and it didn't look like peace for me. So I go back to the peace like that my parents stayed. And I will say they probably stayed more for love. 


Ericka  09:03



Sid  09:05

And love are actually heard the other day that when you look at vibrations, it goes love peace, enlightenment. I just chose to be at peace, which meant that my loving someone would be willing to set them free. 


Ericka  09:25



Sid  09:27

To find it for themselves, you know, and, and I know my last relationship. When I stopped drinking, she stopped drinking. We broke up she started drinking.


Ericka  09:39

Okay, so do you find that in your, oh go ahead Sid. Go ahead.


Sid  09:43

No. So it was just it just a different walk. And it's not that either is right or wrong? I just had to learn what was peace for me.


Ericka  09:53

So what did it feel like? So it's really clear that peace is your guiding principle. But so when you said out on that last relationship, I'm going to assume that there wasn't necessarily peace with that, right? So when you're striving towards peace, but you're not necessarily feeling peace, how do you move forward in those steps? Like, what are some things you do to affirm yourself that this is the good way for me, and it's going to be okay.


Sid  10:19

Well, I go in, and I get still inside first. 


Ericka  10:22

And okay.


Sid  10:23

No matter what's happening. Now, this is a learned behavior. And this is as a athlete from seven years old, and then go right into coaching football until I was 34. You know. So from seven to 34, I was constantly inundated with how to react and move from a place of either reaction or getting in the zone where I'm not thinking at all, which is still a reaction, in many ways.


Ericka  10:58



Sid  11:00

To getting to a place now where it's like, I'm no longer reacting. I am pausing and feeling within, and then moving accordingly. So that's how, that stillness inside, is how I maintain my peace, to bring it forward, in my reality.


Ericka  11:23

I like that, because that shows you that it's essentially is a practice, right? It's not something that's immediate present in your life. It's not something that's immediate present in a chosen or a challenging situation. But because you have these resources and these tools within yourself, you can go back, assess where you're at, and cultivate what it is that you want, which is ultimately peace. And it also says to me that, like, if you can do it, we can all do that. But it takes awareness, and it takes practice and clarity on what it is we want to accomplish and feel in our lives.


Sid  11:56

Yeah, it's like, going through the four stages of learning. The first stage of learning is unconscious incompetence. Like we don't even know, or inability, either one, we don't even know that there's something to learn.


Ericka  12:12



Sid  12:13

And then then we start to know, ah, maybe I don't have peace. I didn't know that I didn't have peace. And then all of a sudden, it's like, okay, I don't have peace. The moment that I recognize that there's something I need to learn, is the moment I actually can learn it and move forward. So that place of conscious inability, where I just became aware that I don't have peace, how do I have peace, is the moment that I was able to start to move forward. And then I got conscious ability, I started having tools of different things I could breathe, I could meditate, I could go do yoga, I could do all these things to make sure that I continue to find peace conscious ability. The idea is to get to a place of unconscious ability, where I don't even have to think about how to get myself and keep myself in peace. 


Ericka  13:08

I like that.


Sid  13:09

But yes, there's four stages of learning. And, you know, the world right now is learning, through those four stages of how to love. We didn't even know we didn't know how to love. Yet, we were going thinking, Oh, yes, we're America, we love you. And we're going to go start a war? That's not love. So then it's like, Okay, now we're starting to learn the ability, because we've seen so much like, right now we're in this place, which is a great teacher, in the pandemic. All these people having to learn a different way to love one another, even when thoughts are different. And eventually, we will get to unconscious ability with love as a species, or we'll be back home, asking for more help.


Ericka  13:57

Right, right, exactly. Now, that's really powerful. And once again, it says to me that it's attainable to all of us, but we first have to be aware of what it is we want, and then take the measures necessary to do that. But I also like one of the things I really learned from you, Sid, is that it takes time, it takes time. And it takes genuine practice and effort about what it is you want to bring forward. And it's continuous, like I always, I always believed like, Oh, if I do these things that I'll be done, the end.  I will have what I want. But that's not really how it works. It's about a continuously showing up and really applying this thing so you can have the outcomes that you want. And I I I learned that I didn't like that lesson. But I also felt like it was a powerful one for me to learn. And I bring it with me because it reminds us like we're never we're never done right. It's always about being and doing and then being true to who we are and what it is we want to create. I love that. Absolutely love that. 


Sid  14:56

Yeah, that is awesome. 


Ericka  14:57

Oh well yeah, I learned that from you Sid so thanks. You. So as far as your marriage goes, What do you think was the biggest shifts you saw in yourself as an individual? And how did you show up differently in your marriage as a husband?


Sid  15:13

Well, I guess I really started to recognize that when we sold everything in our house and hit the road. And and there were so many things, one was, okay, I've released all this stuff. I got one, at one point someone was interviewing myself and Liz and, and they're like, Yeah, you have, you know, what's important for relationships is letting go the things that aren't part of your relationship. We looked at each other. And we're like, oh, we definitely did that. We have, you know, everything in our house now, except for two, a king and queen chair and two meditation chairs, and our bronze statues. Everything else is brand new. 


Ericka  16:04



Sid  16:05

Like, we don't have pictures of exes. And, and we don't have anything. Like we have two big walk-in closets. We only use one. And we still have space in there. So we don't even have leftover T shirts from relationships or anything. So that part of it, I think, for us is, has been one big thing is it's just letting things go that are no longer really here. They only carry forward because we keep giving them energy in some way. 


Ericka  16:36



Sid  16:36

So I think that was a big part. Then the next thing was, I remember when we had we were in the car for 32,000 miles in a year.


Ericka  16:46

Oh my goodness. Okay. That is a lot of driving.


Sid  16:50

Right. And so we, um, at one point, I remember, I was driving, and I said something, and it may have been a little harsh.  And I looked at Liz's face, and, and I was like, Oh, that's not the face I want to see in this car, or feel this. So we talked about it. And then I was able to, to recognize in me like, Okay, this isn't what it looks like for peace to be in our car for me to be loved for Liz. So I choose to be different. And I think, you know, that part of it, for me, was a major shift. Because before it was just me moving. And being in reaction with however someone else felt about something. 


Ericka  17:44



Sid  17:44

As opposed to really going just a little bit further on holding myself accountable for why I'm seeing what I see.


Ericka  17:52

So would you say that by you being responsible for your actions and showing up how how, you know, you're capable of showing up? And then that idea of how you show up? Do you find that Liz reciprocate that more easily now? Like is there a better balance of, I don't know camaraderie, connectedness? And I guess, like the big question, not feeling like someone's attacking you like so is there more space for you to be your whole true self without feeling like you're being attacked or judged? Or assessed in the process? You're just more connected?


Sid  18:24

Yeah, definitely. I mean, Liz definitely pauses. And I will say as much as, like I can hear often on level of people's thoughts. Like, if someone has a thought all the energy comes through from somewhere into someone's heart, and then creates a pulse. And we filter it in our minds, and we bring it back out and speak. 


Ericka  18:53



Sid  18:53

And so I learned, I learned to listen to that vibration. So I go pretty deep when I'm listening. Yet, there was a sense of listening from, I want to know what you're about to think, if that makes sense. So it was about me and my listening. And then Liz listens from a space of, I want to, she just listens. I just want to listen. Like it doesn't matter what you're saying. I'm listening if she's listening, because sometimes she's just not listening.


Ericka  19:34

Well, it depends what you're talking about. Right?


Sid  19:36

Exactly.  And so, so, I learned that in many ways from her to just listen. And because neither one of us are listening with a motive other than being there for the other person. 


Ericka  19:51

I love that. 


Sid  19:53

It just allows us to be in a place of ease and not reactive because I'm just listening. 


Ericka  20:01

I love that. 


Sid  20:03

Someone said something. Go ahead.


Ericka  20:05

No, I was gonna say I absolutely love that. And I think people need to hear that. Because sometimes I think we work so hard to put that responsibility on our partner about who they should be and how they should treat us and all these things. But the reality is, if we show up in the way that we want to be treated, hold that space, find that stillness, and genuinely listen, then it kind of dissolves all that tension in between, and you all can just be there for one another. And ultimately, that's what, what the point is. And I think when we're in midlife, and our children grow up in our careers change in our life shift. That's like, really the essence of being together to enjoy one another. So I love, I love to hear that exchange between you two and how it's come about. 


Sid  20:49



Ericka  20:51

So I have to ask you,  Sid, so was this big change in your life? You know, selling all of your things, getting to the essence of what's going to be in your home? traveling in a car for 32,000 miles being together? Was that easy?


Sid  21:08



Ericka  21:10

It was? You're supposed to say No Sid but , go ahead. 


Sid  21:14

Yeah, really. 


Ericka  21:15

Okay. It was it. It was easy.


Sid  21:17

It was crazy was okay. I started like dissecting things. Like, Okay, we have, we have a mortgage. That was gone. We had two car payments, down to one. We had. Let's see, we had my kids were gone. Like, literally, and they were already gone. Because we had emptied the nest. Right. And so that was we we had our cell phone bill. And we had one car note. That was it. Wow. So like, so and then we had to eat, you know, and and people were giving us their houses. And you know, like, we have multiple houses. You're going through Atlanta, you could stay at our house. It no one will be there. Like, okay, this is weird. Didn't know this was like this in the world. But it really was, it was it was easier. And were there. There were a couple moments. monetarily, we're like, Alright, how much money do we have? Where do we have to be next? Okay, we have to be up in Boston, and we're in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. How much money do we have to get there? Okay, cool. And we'd start going and then all of a sudden, someone we want to sign up for something. And we'd be like, Oh, well, now we have 10 grand, like


Ericka  22:46

It worked out.


Sid  22:47

We can live for like four months. Alright, let's keep going. 


Ericka  22:52



Sid  22:52

So it was, it was really amazing. To be able to be so free, that when we went to places outside of there was only one place that we pass through that I was like, we just need to keep moving. When I'm not gonna even say where where it was because I'm trying to let it disappear from reality.  Okay.  For everybody. But when we would go places, it was so easy to just accept that we were in somewhere new. And it didn't matter what people look like, it didn't matter how they talk. What mattered was if we got out of the car smiling, and we're okay, it was okay.


Ericka  23:42

Right? I'd say listening to the story. It does sound like ease because of the approach that you took. And it sounds like it was quite a wonderful journey of growing, evolving and connecting with one another. But for someone who's listening going, okay, yeah, that's great person lives. They create this midlife by walking away from everything. But I can't do that or I'm afraid to do that. Or I don't know what will happen if I do that. What would be your like one little motivation of a reason they should go ahead and take that leap?


Sid  24:12

Well, I'm, I you know, it's kind of like I want to say Jesus said this, you can either do what I did yourself, or you can have faith and follow the words. And so like someone who's not ready to go discard everything. We, in my book, those who know God, talk about a 30 day purge for purge to surge. Can you go find one item a day that you can let go of for 30 days that that dismisses that feeling of attachment of being tethered to something that are actually like, they were like little hooks in my body. I was in so much pain, that's why we chose to, to go, because I needed to find a place I could live without the pain. And, and so when we, when we closed the door and locked the key for or locked the door, put the keys on the counter. And headed out, I instantly lost so much pain in my body. And now here it is. We're still pretty much on the road. Like it's like, even though we have our place and we look out the windows and we love where we are. We're still free, like we're on the road. And so I've watched my body transform, I lost 75 pounds. I'm so I'm as lean actually, I can't remember the last time I had a 30 inch waist. 


Ericka  25:52



Sid  25:54

You know,


Ericka  25:54

I've seen the transformation with my own eyes.


Sid  25:58

Yeah, it's, it's, it's wild. So that part of it I feel anyone can do wherever they are. Just start letting go of stuff. Get more simple. 


Ericka  26:08

I like that.


Sid  26:09

And as, as someone, lets go of things, there's a space that was created for me. I wrote, I wrote those who know God, from start to finish. When I say finish, I mean five edits with my editor, and completely published and out in 22 days. 


Ericka  26:33

Oh, my goodness, yes. 


Sid  26:35

Like I didn't, I didn't have that space in me to do that, because I had so many other things going on, like Liz and I have started the next book. And it's moving a whole lot different pace. But when I was so free, I was able to create, I was able to transform, I was able to move into my next expression without it being a fight.


Ericka  26:58

That's fantastic. And to me, it sounds like midlife is a good place to do that. And a person can take an approach that's all in 100%. Or like you said, they can take it at a smaller, smaller pace, just doing one thing at a time. But to get to that sense of clarity, real purpose, connection and a sense of freedom so they can do the things they want to do and show up in life in a way that's available to them. Your story is powerful, Sid, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and share that story and also being so honest and frank. Because I think it shows people that we're just human beings, and we're just trying to make the most of our lives while we're here. But we can definitely choose what that looks like and what that feels like. So thank you for sharing. 


Sid  27:41

Yeah, for sure. 


Ericka  27:42

I want to Oh, thank you. And I want to ask you, how can the listeners find out more about you and your offerings, or even become a part of your community Sid.


Sid  27:54

Yeah, I mean, the best places to go to,, and or go to find Sid McNairy, or Liz McNairy, or Art of Peaceful Living on any social media platform, you can find my name said McNairy pretty easily.


Ericka  28:17

And what are they going to find when they get their Art of Living, because you offer a lot of programs like so if someone's looking for that stillness. Like you say, you come to stillness and come to stillness. Is that something that you can teach people how to do?


Sid  28:30

Oh, definitely we have. If someone goes to, they can go to programs, then click to go to awaken your spirit, which is a, a webinar, a free webinar, someone can look at and go through. It's about a 25, 30 minute webinar that teaches people how to begin to live into that space of happiness. It can also learn more about our mentor programs, we have a weekly community circle where people can come on and really raise their vibration. Lift up their frequency together and share in that way. And so there's a lot of different places that people can work through and kind of starts wherever they are. And once they go through the webinar, they can book a 30 minute call. And I love helping someone find their passion. So that's something that we work with right off the bat on that free call. As well as we do a kind of a a life experience that allows someone to see, Okay, it's time for me to get moving.


Ericka  29:35

I love that. And I love that about you Sid.  That's awesome. You're always showing up in ways to support and champion people and I absolutely love that. So I have to ask you final question. How is it that you defines zest in your life?


Sid  29:49

Well, I defined zest, because I always think of zest for life. And so I've defined zest as my energy level to the to the space where I am. Like I talked about earlier, using the landing in the vibration of misery. It didn't feel like a zest for life. It was a low vibration. Now that I am at peace and in love with my life, I have a lot of zest for life. I wake up and I'm like okay, let me go meditate. And when I get done meditating today, I was like, alright, the waves are going right now, I'm out of the house. I'm going to surf, you know, other times, it's later in the day. So that zest for life is just my energy level that lifts up when I am living into my highest for life.


Ericka  30:43

I love that. Thank you Sid. You are definitely an example for people to follow. And I love like I said, as we started, I love that you walk your walk. So thank you for being that example. Thank you for taking the time being here today. And I'm sure our listeners are going to be inspired by this conversation.


Sid  31:03

Awesome, thank you for having me.


Ericka  31:10

I appreciate your presence and holding space for my passion of helping women rediscover the essence of who they are meant to be so they may live their life by chosen authenticity. If you enjoyed this episode, please like, subscribe and share with someone that could use a little zest in their life today. Keep the good energy going by following me Ericka bell on Instagram and LinkedIn @TheZestfulMovement. You're invited to sign up for our weekly newsletter that will help you become a part of ours zesty crew as you stay connected to the conversations. This will also allow you to gain access to some monthly special offerings created with you in mind. Go to Until next time, please do keep it zesty!