Positively Midlife Podcast

4 BIG Midlife Transitions - Ep 41

March 15, 2023 Ellen and Tish Season 2 Episode 41
4 BIG Midlife Transitions - Ep 41
Positively Midlife Podcast
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Positively Midlife Podcast
4 BIG Midlife Transitions - Ep 41
Mar 15, 2023 Season 2 Episode 41
Ellen and Tish

Midlife can bring some of the most significant transitions we've encountered and BIG opportunities for growth.  Ellen and Tish welcome executive coach and thought advocate Brandon Maslan to the podcast this week to discuss the most significant midlife transitions and how to reframe them with a growth mindset.  The four transitions we discuss are Career, Relationship, Launching Children, and the loss of parents and elders. 

Things we talked about in this episode:  Modern Elder Academy (MEA), Chip Connelly, Glennon Doyle, Forbes, the 7-year itch in law, recovering lawyers, career transitions, layoffs, coaching, spectacular firings, regrouping, divorces, empty nest, parental loss, reframing and rewriting narratives. 


Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Nellies Wow stick.  Tish uses this in her organization and closet clean-out business to get rid of heavy stains 
Ellen: Oribe root touch-up spray. Ellen is still fighting the gray! 

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Show Notes Transcript

Midlife can bring some of the most significant transitions we've encountered and BIG opportunities for growth.  Ellen and Tish welcome executive coach and thought advocate Brandon Maslan to the podcast this week to discuss the most significant midlife transitions and how to reframe them with a growth mindset.  The four transitions we discuss are Career, Relationship, Launching Children, and the loss of parents and elders. 

Things we talked about in this episode:  Modern Elder Academy (MEA), Chip Connelly, Glennon Doyle, Forbes, the 7-year itch in law, recovering lawyers, career transitions, layoffs, coaching, spectacular firings, regrouping, divorces, empty nest, parental loss, reframing and rewriting narratives. 


Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Nellies Wow stick.  Tish uses this in her organization and closet clean-out business to get rid of heavy stains 
Ellen: Oribe root touch-up spray. Ellen is still fighting the gray! 

Give us a review...
Click here

Want to start podcasting?  Click here to let Buzzsprout know we sent you, this gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and help support our show




Support the Show.

Website: www.thepositivelymidlifepodcast.com
Email: postivelymidlifepod@gmail.com

Ellen Gustafson:

A big welcome to Brandon to the positively midlife podcast welcome.

Tish Woods:

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?

Brandon:

Sure, absolutely. So yeah, Brandon Maslin. I hail from Baltimore, where I was a lawyer, I now call myself a recovering lawyer. My wife once made that joke, and she never thought was funny until she was on a jury trial. And everyone laughed, and I said, I'm only funny to lawyers. But that's like the 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. And, you know, 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. And in my case, it was tragedy. So tragically, and in horrific circumstances, losing my mother, and then sort of short a lot of things happen all at once, and that kind of reevaluate your life and resets you. And I did what all lost souls do, or many do in America, at least, we just moved 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 my family. But coaching was, thank God, I didn't get it there because coaching is my calling. 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 and Netflix to to person shops, law firms, and then I coached 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.

Ellen Gustafson:

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. And in one of my former jobs, it was an amazing experience for me.

Brandon:

And I should I should I acknowledge that I met Ellen 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 transfer, just game changing women like Ellen 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.

Tish Woods:

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

Brandon:

100%. I mean, Ellen was a success story long before I met her. It's just sometimes we don't see our narratives as clearly as others do.

Ellen Gustafson:

Guys, really what you do,

Tish Woods:

really, is to say that, okay, I'm gonna say is that what you a part of coaching is letting people realize what their, what their gifts are? Really?

Brandon:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a part of what life is about. And I think this is one of the reasons that the field of coaching and so many other things are so important, because we can spend our size up people around people have known us forever, you know, friends, family, etc. I was just reading to say, like family that 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 you're not becoming, you know, 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, a client asked me to be a sparring partner, not a cheerleader, and that really changed my mind to just sort of I was I was gonna cheer you on, but that doesn't really do anything. A sparring partner is gonna get you in shape and get you where you need to be. And sometimes I miss and sometimes I probably jab 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 stuff. As Why are we sitting on the sidelines? Why are we waiting? Let's go.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's amazing. I feel that that was one of the best parts of working with you, you know, as a coach and 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?

Brandon:

Absolutely. I mean, fear is a powerful factor within ourselves and within our families. Glennon Doyle talks about her book contained. The one of the missions in life for purposes of life is to disappoint others so you don't disappoint yourself. And it was literally just picking up my my wife's nightstand. She was like, devouring the book. And there's this great line, which I love where the daughter says the mother who's writing the book, like, what about you, mom? You know, am I supposed to disappoint you? And she said, especially made most of all may not let down your parent, you know, what are you doing? It's breaking the cycle. It's my wife, she's, uh, read a lot of these books of breaking the cycles. And she's an amazing by the way, like game changer. I'm, if I'm impressing my wife is the most impressive person I know on Earth. She is a leader. DoorDash is an incredible mother, wife, survivor in her own right, just one of those and then yet beyond kind. So I share all that to say that she's still on this growth process of wanting to be the best she can and she's already the best so jealous, my wife. Here's the point. She's always reading books about re confirming re acknowledging ourselves and letting go with the past. And I think these patterns of you know systemic, transgenerational trauma get passed on and passed on and pass on. And I think one of the books you could just read was called, like, it starts with me or starts 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 or 40s, or 50s. I just saw someone do it. At modern elder Academy, we can talk about that a second 77 years old, and stuff, the pattern of, you know, literally learn how to be a father, because he had grandkids, you know, so, yeah.

Tish Woods:

And so it really leads into our conversation today regarding transitions, you know, becoming aware of what we need to look at and what we need to reexamine one of my favorite things is, you got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and change and transitions is very uncomfortable. That is

Ellen Gustafson:

that it is and I think we're going to talk today about four kinds of midlife, excuse me transitions. And I think Brandon, we're really looking forward to hearing what you have to say, around each and I think the first one we're going to tack off 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 those disappointments, or it could even be getting ready and retiring.

Tish Woods:

I mean, I recently read a 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, and 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?

Brandon:

Yeah, so if I could, I actually like the love to share something I learned. So Ellen knows about this. But there's a there's a amazing retreat facility process called Modern Outer Academy led by Chip Connelly, 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. You know, I use a little bit of different language or 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 second act, third act for, again, fifth or sixth, it doesn't matter, you know, the show can go on if you're Bruce Springsteen, you never 100 curtain calls for God's sakes. And so, they talk about transitions in this way. They talked about the personal transitions, the professional transitions, the parenting transitions, the psychological or spiritual transitions, the place transitions, sometimes the most dramatic sometimes pace, how do we get slower? Do we get faster? Physical passing, obviously, we wouldn't know what that is the loss of pecuniary they were really stretching with that P. 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 my takeaway of all that is that, first and foremost, we have to give her I was 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 people do they stay in that drama, and they stay there forever. And that's their life. And I just got so sad and so tragic. My mother did and in some ways to 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 in MBA are. So you asked a question. Let me answer it. What is hard about transitions professionally, in midlife, specifically is that don't have that?

Tish Woods:

Yeah. So

Brandon:

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 to men would climb this legal ladder, get to the top partner, the top of the firms, and that you look at the height of the wreckage of their life, these the divorces, the kids, you don't talk to them that everything and guess what, it's they're not any happier. And then Worst of all, especially east coast lawyers, sometimes God bless us, myself included. I tried to actually put 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 they spew their anger and they spew their frustrations and they spew it all. That is like Greek tragedy to me, that's tragic. That's midlife tragedy, because you've 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 turned to stone and it wouldn't work. So though 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 life. 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 get to my best caveat for getting fired. And second, too, is you quit and you find another job or another career and that that's hard, that's finding a new career is really hard. And then the third one, which is I 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 2025 30 year career mean, Ellen might even know people that fall into this category that just woke up one day was like, I am going to share my voice, I am going to say the things that I was too scared was never going to 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.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, when you own the narrative, I think it's really great. How about when you don't what a what a women in particular need to do when facing some of those challenges you just mentioned? I know that fear is 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.

Brandon:

Yeah, 100 Fucking percent. Sorry. All right. First off, I shouldn't a disclaimer, but I normally begin with like, I don't want to mansplain anything or he peed anything or God forbid. So anything I talked about is clearly not from a white sis male angle, right? It is simply talking to 2000 to 3000 of more of the most powerful women I've ever met on Earth. Most of them were in business, but some of them were teachers like my mother and nurses like my amazing mother in law, who will define fear as false evidence appearing real oncology nurse end of life care, and that women just go straight into the 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 know if that resonates for you that 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?

Tish Woods:

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

Brandon:

Yeah. Yeah, I know, I say that sometimes mean that my daughter might run into them in a 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 I already have my career followed upon my people, I love the diet, and care, you know, and then you get a kid and get what you know. And it's like, God, you know, there's actually just watching The Last of Us, and the guy talks about this as 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. And what we have to realize is losing a career. I think this is the most important thing. The fear is we're losing something, but my experience, we've lost it long ago. So one of the things I talked about, no, we're gonna be talking 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 or laid off, or been divorced, meaning something happened to you, right, you didn't choose but I still say to somebody, and I'm not saying that's not I know how I've seen firsthand, but as 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 lost left or 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 and highschool sweethearts case, or were mourning the job that was but Ellen 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, it'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 my military, like the all the great military leaders, I'm friends with and you know, it's the 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 free it's a freeing of these kind of friend of mine said this to me in front of the room leader MBA said You know, he's already says it gonna push me there's a great line. And Ted last always said, and he's like, I'm gonna push you on. It's gonna be difficult. And one of the things that I think a great a terrible job and terrible spouse can do for us is they can be a mentor. But you can't have mentor without tormentor. That's not mine, that Ted lassos. But I love that line. You can't have 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 experiences not falling into the old patterns forgot to get?

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, Brandon, I have to say this is a great segue for us to kind of move from career transition to divorce transition to 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 tissue, 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 Titian I love to say is midlife or third act or fourth act or fifth act. I don't know what act we're out on right now. But it's over 43%. And it's really I think, akin also to women who become widows at midlife is well and we women live longer, right? So these things are going to happen to

Tish Woods:

us. 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?

Brandon:

We get so focused on a loss we forget the game. So and we end we forget right and this actually was sent to me as a training idea for the legal team in Ojai. But someone said, we get so busy focused on the mountains we have to climb out forget all the mountains we've climbed. And I think that's one of the things I do and especially career by the way, but divorce as well. Is is that the So easy. And by the way, when actually when I'm trying to save a marriage if I am or partnership, I'm just like, you guys have claimed 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, you know, I had one friend during 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 really connected. But everyone else was like, Hey, I'm in like, your my tribe, right? Because it's that feeling of loneliness and alone. And so the gain comes from knowing you're not alone. Both know, stats, but also realizing I think, and I really believe this actually. 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 to top you return home, it's Luke Skywalker. The alone is a swamp. If you follow 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 are feeling alone. This is something I experienced. So often my career and my life feeling alone at work. Why are you all okay with this? Firm this company? This what have you? Why am Why is it 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 what you gain, as you're actually not alone now that you're, you know, if nothing else, you're connected to yourself, and, you know, and if you want, you know, we're gonna do what I do, which is listen on Dolly Parton is delighted to clear blue morning or St. Dolly's, I call her you know, it's like, even even though I'm Jewish, I don't you know, I think dolly is probably a patient saying, I'm not positive. Even if I am Catholic, but um, if she's not, she shouldn't be y'all. I don't know, you're talking about that stuff. But like, late if it clearly morning is gospel, you know, 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. The freedom and no 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 gonna talk grieving, but that's for grieving, we get so comfortable with the uncomfortability. But the idea of anything else becomes too terrifying.

Ellen Gustafson:

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.

Tish Woods:

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

Brandon:

And you said the most important word there Tish, which makes you see, this is the tragedy, right? We can talk about this all day. And so it'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? Something we talked about, you know, at the Academy, I just want to but like, God, that's important mentally, if you have a fixed mindset, I feel for you, because you're not going to do any of the things but Tish 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 going to feel you're not going to move you're gonna stay stuck because you know, you've already developed your narrative and you're not gonna be ready growth mindset allows you have anything happened. That's the thing that me and and I'm Great great, I'm only bad at this when it comes to negative criticism. But for the most part, what can I learn from this and I can do a criticism it just takes me like a lot longer and I liked the same shorter thing 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 mean, I built a I built I know what it is not be like I know most of them. I know what is the standard for room is the only guy and be like, hated by people. I know. What is it to be the only guy in a room of dudes Talking about feminism be hated, like, I've been the hated person. Oftentimes for the audacity to be myself. And it hurts it just odd 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 beat yourself. And you are getting fired or divorced or whatever because of that audacity, but how fucking beautiful pardon my French but like, how fucking annoying but please fuck French, another podcast? Like, you know why, how beautiful is that?

Tish Woods:

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 wanted to. And that was like, oh, wait a minute. I've taken the reins back here. Changing. 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. Yeah.

Brandon:

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 like, No, no, you don't get the whole 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 that will say for divorce for if it's worth it to anyone who has been divorced, having studied, I don't know how, I mean, having done cases and you know, my whole narrative of you know, fighting in Baltimore, I'm if I never got married, I don't have I 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 divorce boils down to one thing. It's not it's not. 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 change your mind. I knew they had a drinking problem. I thought it would get better. They thought he had an an anger issue. And I thought and what you really got to do in a marriage or job by the way this applies to 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 one of my 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 God do I love it? 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. I think I'm nuts. You're nuts. You're a mess. For two years. Not just fine. Your brand of nuts. Yeah, macadamia she and almond, or whatever we are not you aren't find your brand. And he was like thinks you might you might not like Go away, you know? Beautiful read it. 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? Just and that's beauty, but the feeling that someone's going to change or evolve or whatever. And then we'll be okay. Never happens.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, 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, and all of that. So what you said Brandon, really speaks to me. I think Tish we need to go find our nuts. You're nuts. I love it moving forward. But you know, I think these are some some wise, some wise words, around relationships. I know that we wanted to talk about transitioning kids out into the world and somebody comes to you nesting Tish, you just went through this.

Tish Woods:

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, like not to just wallow in the sadness of what do I do now? So 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

Ellen Gustafson:

I have to say that, you know, I'm right on the cusp of this. I have my last child at home, he's leaving in six months or less. And you know what Brandon and teach third 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, right, 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.

Brandon:

Yeah, I mean, two things come to mind. Two things. One is my mother. And two is, is I think, the new reality we're living in. And I'll start with that, because I you know, I've done this game long enough that like, what do women want is like, I'm not gonna step on that trap. You know, I think there's things I'll skip it. No, I will. I will. But I'll speak authentically about my experience. So one thing that me my friends joke around a lot of money, like, 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 powerful women like, that would be like, Hi, honey, good luck with the kid. You know, I found in my work, we went down to LA. And he was like, I'm gonna stay one day. And his wife was like, Get your ass home, 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 gonna happen. I know, I'm gonna probably have a hard time to my wife, 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, but I'm like, the, like, I'm the person who has all the, 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. And 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 limited show I think is going to manage is my point. And I am seeing that my guy friends and how hard we you know, I hate leave my kid for a week, I hate going to work trips, I don't have to, you know, I'll charge whatever I can, Hey, you want me to leave my family? You're literally paying me to leave my family now. Like, you know, because otherwise I'd rather just be with them, etc. So I'll share that with you. Because I do think that's shifting. And I wonder if we're not gonna see a transition and not in and also the shared experience of both 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. She had bipolar disorder and alcoholism and probably a lot of trauma mixed in and she held it at bay and all these people have these terrible childhoods they speak up. I got bullied a lot and teased a lot 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 and it and that is its own tragedy. And in hindsight there were probably there. My father God bless him was around he loved me but he wasn't I mean, I had 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 check ins. So you say that you because how tragic help fucking tragic but 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 rather you'd be around and happy and healthy. And I think the problem that we have from empty nesting are parents and I certainly suffered from this. I went to modern our academy away from my family leaving my child leaving my wife feeling shit and I was like I'm gonna be here though for this company that sent me and to be a better husband and father I talked about that for three days. I'm gonna get better husband and dad, husband and dad, husband and dad better coach, husband and dad. And day three came on like a start looking in the mirror. Be a better person to you. And I came back 100% Better father husband, and I think coach because they spent then their second half focusing on how can we better 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 At Best themselves, and we don't get that well around our families as much, or our kids, my,

Tish Woods:

I would definitely agree with that we talk a lot about like, you know that, I think, 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 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.

Brandon:

I love that. And I love what you just said, just remember, you don't stop being a role model, you don't stop being the model. So you leave in that you crumble, that's still the lesson that child will get. Right? Um, 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.

Tish Woods:

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

Brandon:

No, that's That's right. And I think I played that role as alcoholism usually does. And you're, you're you're part of it, it's the disease is kind of the relationship that's in everything. And tramatized me, my wife, we both went through allanon, 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 no difference that and having great friends, having great friends, my mom had 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.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think community, Brandon community, like you're saying is so important. And Tisha, 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 Tisha 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, this notion, sorry,

Brandon:

doing that thing. I never interrupt, interrupted at this level of 75% more than men. So stating what you said something really important because I think about how powerful and amazing you are Ellen in particular attacks are getting to know that about you, too. And like, Alright, I'm gonna go fucking full East Coasters for a second. I'm a curse. I'm gonna 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 birds still sleep somewhere last time I checked, it's fucking empty. Think about that. Think about that word is literally saying the day the children leave. Nest is the home. Let's assume the home is the nest, then it's empty. What? 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 fucked sorry?

Ellen Gustafson:

No, it's It's true. Maybe we need to change that narrative. Right? About

Tish Woods:

a better term. Yes, we need a better term to it.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think we could have a whole entire podcast on that if you asked me, right. So

Tish Woods:

our podcasts are about that. But it's interesting, because you had said something Brandon like, so the nest isn't really empty. So 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've 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 the moments because those you can't there's nothing left, you know, except for the memories. And

Ellen Gustafson:

so true. Tish 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 if I long for anything, if I have envied 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.

Tish Woods:

Yeah. And they've, they've studied and said that, you know, by age 54, two thirds of us will have lost at least one parent. So this, 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.

Ellen Gustafson:

I do, too. This one's a whopper. So Brandon, I'm going to be really interested to hear what you have to say about this. It's, 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. Kids 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?

Brandon:

You know, essentially, we're talking about, okay, so there's two different things here. I mean, it's, it's Tricia said, you know, what do you do before they die? You know, that will really determine how you recover after they die. You know, if you don't, 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 shakier, and reform 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 bad. My friend Brandon Maslan, you know, and I had him rewrite a sequel at my wedding and, but I've gotten from my father all the things that I that you could hope from, because he had to fill that role, so to speak about actions after she passed up. He filled them matriarchal role for alpha, narcissist, all the things he grew up with. He won, he needed to be like, a version of him that never would have existed if my mom was still here. Now. I take my mom. Okay. But I think here's where I'm at two things, one, bipolar, alcoholic, yada, yada, and every one of her friends would go This isn't fair. This isn't fair. I think, I don't know. For 18 years, she was my only friend. She was fought for me love me cared for me. I can tell you 100 reasons why my life is what it is. And it's a woman. Yeah, I guess we could argue all day, whether this is fair or not fair weather while everyone in their 20s is building their careers and going off and maybe getting married or finding themselves and um, you know, picking up the phone every night to make sure she's okay. And then sometimes picking up the floor or getting recommitted 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 a mom, I need advice, to pick up the phone and give me advice or be there and was a way to get her to snap out of because she could still be a mother even at our sickest so you get that if you're a great parent, you get the return. But I say that too. Because no fucking regrets. The worst thing you can do if your parent dies have regret. I cannot imagine it I don't. I want to have with my dad and I and I do have a my mom. But but 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 this. Like maybe you're right. And the phone dies. I don't pick up the phone. The message in the morning is you're not picking up the phone. I'm so alone. I'll be dead in the morning. And she was one day in 10 years don't pick up the phone and she's dead. And I found her frozen the death in the snow. True story. That's a real thing that happened in my life. How the hell do we recover from that? I don't know. I called my sister the first thing she said if she got on the mound 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. You know, like 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 helpless. That's why I do everything you can to be there. I don't care. People say I shouldn't have to do this session. If there's if your mom if your mom your dad were great do it and if they weren't Don't do it. Okay. That's the truth. You don't they don't now get the cash in a check. They never, they never put money into whatever bank account they didn't cash. So you don't owe them shit if they were shit hit up one of my friends cursing a lot. I know.

Tish Woods:

When It's passionate subjects, that's fine.

Brandon:

Yeah. I talk fast. I know that. So if you're listening to 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 will love us than don't we owe it to ourselves to love ourselves. And I really believe this sometimes, while our parents, if I, now my dad and me have different leadership. 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 want to have my kid who's my, my, my universe, my world, and who my mother would have loved one of 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 reincarnated, my motherly, more neurotic and more annoying, kidding, lovey you Marsha. You know, but they wouldn't have these people. And I wouldn't have this light for this profession. But this place. So I say, though, that you because if the cost is a loss, you owe it to them again. And I just was with amazing woman who has lived through so much trauma of a narcissistic, selfish mother who was abusive in every sense, it sounds like and we were talking. And 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 gotten right she's never gonna get that. But here's what she got with 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, 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 out and she goes, she's finally gone. She's lost it. And the nurses. I've spent a year if your mother. I think that's actually who she is. Wow. I think that's I think she always she loves you. That runs out of love. She just buried under a lifetime of pain. Yeah, that's the resolution. Right?

Tish Woods:

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

Brandon:

That's right. Right suffering. Buddhism really helped me. I have a good friend, I was best man at his wedding. And I said, I 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 went in after my mother died on wallowing and wallow. And he just goes, I don't know what to tell you Brandon. Everything changes. And I was like, you know, every other day was like, oh my god, yeah, your mother died tragically. And you know, and he's like, everything changes. And I'm like, and he's like, he starts apologizing in the mail. You said it tell me why he was well, when he spoke about Buddhism. And he said, and it literally says that like, so we go in, and I'm like, he shares a book of me. And it literally says, our unhappiness, you know, I'm paraphrasing here. But 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's going to change. So we so aren't happy 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 I'm happy to accept that change is a constant and a must. The other thing that the battle is I took away from it because I went deeper was suffering gives. Viktor Frankl talks about this Man's Search for Meaning. Give suffering give the pain meaning. So then I suffered and I suffered and I suffered and one day and with 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, you know, I'm waiting for my best friend who put me up on a sofa until his wife gracefully kicked me out. She didn't really but metaphorically, they both did. They're like Go Go live your life. Stop Loss puppy. But before that we're in Los Angeles and Ventura Boulevard, and the sun is shining. I think I'm really sad, really depressed and I was like, I'm gonna use this trash. I'm gonna use this pain. I can use it today. And he looks at me and he sees me like about the cry because no one No, nothing happened. Nothing happened in the second we were laughing outside this car to the five blocks, God forbid you walk anywhere in LA to the five blocks, you drive to the tea shop, which is another thing to play. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. And I was like, Well, let me feel like not grateful. 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're 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 worst last time I checked. And so grow and use it and find the beauty in the manure. Shit.

Tish Woods:

Ha ha,

Ellen Gustafson:

yeah, 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. And 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 really gave me power in that in that instance.

Tish Woods:

Oh, Ellen, I just love that. I have not heard that from you before. And you know, it's that taking the torch and, and moving it forward now. Yeah.

Ellen Gustafson:

I love your powerful as the matriarch. Right.

Brandon:

Yeah. And then 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.

Ellen Gustafson:

Better 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. And 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.

Tish Woods:

Yeah, Brandon, I can't thank you enough for being here. This has been really kind of eye opening, you know, it's it's kind of really doing a 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. We need to write we need to write this happy chapter.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's right. Thank you, Brandon for being here today. That's it positively mid lifers talk to you next week. All right.