The Middle Aged Goddess, Jane McCann: What She Knows Now and Wishes She Knew Then | IT 027

Jul 1, 2020

Are you depressed about reaching middle age? What are you doing in the way of self-care? Is reaching menopause the end or can it be the beginning of something new?

In this podcast episode, Kathryn Ely speaks to The Middle Aged Goddess, Jane McCann about self-care, techniques to manage stress, relationships, and boundaries, and what she wishes her younger self knew.

Meet Jane McCann

Jane McCann

Jane McCann aka The Middle Aged goddess has been over-disclosing on Instagram for the last few years. Unedited, real, and not afraid to overshare, you can often find Jane talking about her menopause “adventure”, singing loudly (and always a little off-key), dropping the occasional F-bomb but always (most days) having a laugh. She’s 54 and still not sure what she wants to be when she grows up but is having a wild ride discovering all that life offers.

Visit Jane’s profile on Facebook and Instagram.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Jane’s self-care
  • Being separated and dating in midlife
  • “Failed” relationships
  • Middle Aged Goddess
  • Menopause
  • What Jane wishes her younger self knew

Jane’s self-care

Jane has been doing everything, pulling out all the tricks, tips, and tools. When she went into lockdown, she was doing Zoom yoga, Zoom boxing, etc. and then there was a slump in the middle where she lay on the couch reading and eating chocolate. She’s now coming out of that again and starting to be a bit more active. Jane does all the “boring” stuff that no one really wants to do, one of which is Vedic Meditation twice a day. Jane finds being outside to be the most healing and she is happiest in the water which was difficult during the lockdown as people weren’t meant to go to the beach. She also does Wim Hof breathing and cold showers, all of these things that seem quite hard but once you get into the habit of it you just do it every day.

Being separated and dating in midlife

Jane and her husband were together for 22 years, the last 5 of which were extremely stressful. They still really like each other but Jane made the decision that she didn’t want to live with him anymore. It was the hardest time and you don’t really know what it’s like until you go through it. It’s liberating and heartbreaking all at once. It was hard for everyone and no one expected it because they got along so well. She doesn’t like to look at it as a failed relationship, they were together for a long time, it was amazing and actually pretty successful.

Jane had never had the urge to start dating again, she was very happy doing her own thing, she did get lonely occasionally. but was perfectly happy by herself. Then she met Brett through a friend and they are now dating. Jane has very firm boundaries around her time and space, they don’t live together because she’s just not ready yet. They love each other dearly but she still needs that space for herself.

“Failed” relationships

Just because something doesn’t remain the same, doesn’t mean it wasn’t great, that we didn’t learn from it, and that we don’t have great memories from it. We needed it at the time and there are so many wonderful things that came out of it. So many people do beat themselves up about it and see it as all or nothing, either a success or a failure. Jane doesn’t think of any relationships as failures, even friendships.

Middle Aged Goddess

Jane was teaching yoga at the time and a lot of her Instagram feed was full of young women in bikinis doing handstands on the beach, calling themselves Yogi Goddess/Bikini Goddess, etc. Jane couldn’t relate to any of it. So, as a bit of a joke, she decided that she would be the Middle Aged Goddess on Instagram. One day, she did a bit of a song and dance and posted that on there and got a few followers, then when her marriage ended she started speaking about that and other stuff that women her age could relate to.

Jane then started going through menopause so she was talking about that, how it had been for her, how she had no idea what was happening to her body and mind and thought she was going insane. More and more women started hopping on and then younger women started hopping on and asking questions. Before she knew it, Jane was speaking at events to groups of young women about menopause and stuff like that. It’s grown from there and Jane’s not sure where she’s going with it but it’s just rolling along and it’s been amazing.

Menopause

I had no idea how tricky it was going to be. For me. That was my experience, I know everybody’s different. And a lot of the symptoms I was having, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know anything about it. So, I just started to become informed and the more I learned, the more horrified I was at the lack of knowledge around it, around women’s health in general I would say, but especially around that. And I wonder sometimes, is it because all of a sudden we’re not of any use anymore? Your womb’s not useful anymore so yeah, let’s just forget about it.

She wishes she had known about perimenopause. Jane is also quite a bit older than her friends and when she had her first hot flash at 45 they all said she was too young to be going through menopause, but that was the start of it, that was perimenopause.

What Jane wishes her younger self knew

She wishes she knew then that she wasn’t fat. In her 20s, Jane put herself through mental torture about her body shape. Most women do that. She looks back at old photos and she was beautiful, but inside her head was negative self-talk. It makes her quite sad that she did that to herself. Jane always tells young women to look after themselves now. If you’re eating well, looking after your mental health, and moving your body, it will make aging easier for you.

Useful links:

Kathryn Ily

Meet Kathryn Ely

I’m Kathryn Ely and at age 50, I’m enjoying my very best life. I spent years as a lawyer and then stay-at-home mom helping others go out into the world and live their best lives. While this was very important to me, I did not realize that I was losing myself in the process. I followed all of the “shoulds” like “women should always care for others” and “taking time for yourself is just selfish”.

As two of my children were getting ready to go out into the world I realized I was lost, without my next purpose, and it was scary. So I went back to school and over the course of several years, I not only found myself, but I designed the formula for women in midlife to achieve their most fulfilling lives. It is my mission to equip as many women as possible with this design and the tools to make this chapter of their lives the best chapter.

Thanks for listening!

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Imperfect Thriving is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[KATHRYN]:
Welcome to Imperfect Thriving, episode 27. In this episode, I have a conversation with Jane McCann, the middle aged goddess, and we talk about ways to manage stress, relationships, and boundaries and what she wishes her younger self name. Welcome to the Imperfect Thriving podcast, for all of us women in midlife, to discover your self-limiting beliefs, determine exactly what you want your life to look like and the imperfect actions to get you there.

[JANE]:
I wish I knew then that I wasn’t fat. The mental torture I put myself through in my 20s about my body shape. And I think most women do that. I look back at photos and I was beautiful, but inside my head I was, no, your boobs are too big, your hips are too big.

[KATHRYN]:
Have you signed up for your Blueprint to Thrive yet? Your Blueprint to Thrive is a free email course that I designed to help you go from just living or getting by, to absolutely thriving. And you can get this for free at imperfectthriving.com, so go get yours today.

You know, we’ve been going through so much societal unrest lately, and I actually think this is a good thing because change doesn’t just happen without a little unrest first. Individually, and as a group, we do not change until we are so uncomfortable with the current way of living that we just can’t do it any longer. And I don’t pretend to have all the answers but what I believe is that to unify, rather than to divide or separate, we must have a better understanding of each other. Whether we’re talking about different races, or different socio-economic levels, or living in different parts of the country, or even the world, we need a clear understanding of how others that are different from ourselves are experiencing life. One way to have a better understanding is to approach each other with respectful curiosity.

Today, we have Jane McCann, who comes all the way from Australia, so she certainly has a different perspective on life. And she’s known on Instagram as the Middle Age Goddess. And we share a conversation not only for women in midlife, but for women who are much younger. And we talk about self-care, techniques to manage stress, relationships, boundaries, dating, and what Jane wishes her younger self knew. So, give it a listen. I hope you enjoy.

Jane McCann, aka The Middle Aged Goddess has been over disclosing on Instagram for the last few years. unedited, real, and not afraid to overshare, you can often find Jane talking about her menopause adventure, singing loudly and always a little off key, dropping the occasional F bomb but always, most days, having a laugh. She’s 54 and still not sure what she wants to be when she grows up but is having a wild ride, discovering all that life offers.

Today on the show, we have Jane McCann. Jane is such a cool lady; I actually found her on Instagram, and she has so much to share with us today that I can’t wait to get started. So, without any further ado, welcome to the show, Jane.

[JANE]:
Hi, Kathryn. It’s so great to be here. I love the way we all find each other on Instagram.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, it’s super cool. My favorite thing about podcasting is to be able to talk to people like you in different parts of the world.

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah. And Instagram’s great like that, you know, I mean, people bag it a little, but it’s been such an amazing way to connect with women all over the world. And, you know, people go on about the algorithm and everything, but thank God, really, because somehow we managed to find each other. It’s great.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, that’s really cool. Well, I know a little bit about you, but for those in our audience that don’t, could you just tell them a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?

[JANE]:
Yeah, [unclear] common, middle aged woman living in Australia. I live in Melbourne, Victoria. So, I’m in the southern part of Australia, so it’s quite cold here. At the moment, I know it’s summer for you over there. I’ve had quite the life. I’ve done everything. I’ve done every kind of job you can imagine. I’ve got two boys. So, my older son, Issey, who’s 21, and my younger son, Guy, who’s 16, and one of my older son’s friends who also lives with me; we call him the fake son. It’s a bit of a joke because my youngest calls him the best fake brother ever. People go, isn’t he offended by you calling him the fake son? But that’s just how his name came about. So, he lives with me as well. So, it’s quite the male dominated household here.

[KATHRYN]:
[Unclear]

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah. And I’m separated from my husband probably three years now, their father. I’m in a fairly, I call it fairly new; we’ve been together for two years. But we don’t live together, so it feels new a lot of the time, which is nice. So yeah, navigating all of that in my 50s. It’s been intense, to say the least.

[KATHRYN]:
What is your job right now?

[JANE]:
So, I work for a medical supply company. I talk on the phone to a lot of people about what sort of medical equipment they need, and I organize to get it to them. So, it’s been fairly intense with all the COVID stuff. I’ve been working, which is great; I’ve been having to go into the office cuz I haven’t been able to work from home, so yeah, it’s been pretty full on, but I’ve always worked in jobs. Customer Service, I guess you will call it – I’ve, you know, run gyms. And yeah, it’s always been that sort of caring for people kind of work. Even when I was making coffee. You’re caring for people, making coffee.

[KATHRYN]:
Yes, absolutely. So, what has your COVID experience been like?

[JANE]:
Look, it’s been pretty intense, like I think it has for everybody. I mean, we came into Corona off the back end of the bush fires, which were intense here. They started in November. And I think the last fire didn’t go out until the end of February. So yeah, we were still all reeling from that. And then Corona happened, and I think, for myself, before we went into lockdown, I was feeling anxious. I’m not an anxious person. And that was a surprise, having to deal with that. Just that unknowing: was I going to lose my job? What about my kids, our health and safety? It was quite full-on. And then once my state government went right, we’re going into lockdown, I instantly felt much better; once I knew what I was dealing with I was like, okay, I can do this.

[KATHRYN]:
[Unclear] with a lot of fear of the unknown, and a lot of those “What ifs”?

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah. I’m usually generally pretty good at controlling that kind of stuff. But that was a surprise, how intense I found it. And also, because my partner and I don’t live together, he’s got a property which is, you know, a few hundred kilometers away from me. So, it was like, are we gonna be able to see each other at all? Yeah, and then homeschooling my younger son, too. He was great, but that was tricky, having him home all the time, all of a sudden. So yeah, it’s been pretty full on. We’re sort of easing out of it now. It’s not business as usual, but yeah, it’s kind of interesting. Some people are sort of acting like we’re back to normal and nothing’s changed. And other people are still being very cautious. So, it’s the COVID hokey pokey, you’re kind of in, kind of out, you know?

[KATHRYN]:
My gosh, I love the Hokey Pokey. That’s really what it’s like here right now, I would have to say. People going out and celebrating Memorial Day, which is a big beginning of the summer holiday here. And then others saying, oh, you know, why are you doing that? So, there’s a lot of that going on, as well. I’m glad that you’ve reminded me because I mean, we all, everyone outside of Australia watched the bushfires and our hearts were just breaking for you. And I just didn’t put it all together that, wait a minute, y’all went straight from that into COVID.

[JANE]:
Yeah. And, you know, I don’t know how people that were… I mean, I wasn’t affected by the bush fires – we were covered in smoke and couldn’t go out for days, we had that sort of thing. But certainly, no loss. I didn’t lose my house or anything like that. So, I can only imagine what it must be like, for those people that have lost their homes or their businesses and then had to deal with Corona, because all of a sudden, the attention was not on them. And yeah, it must be really, really hard. So yeah, it’s been full-on. And then, you know, of course, we’ve been affected here by what’s happened in your country with the whole Black Lives Matter. We’ve had protests here and it’s drawn attention to our own treatment of our indigenous people here, which we have a history of it being appalling. So that has brought… that’s sort of been the next wave of stuff that’s happened in 2020. And I’m sure, like you, we’re all sort of standing around going, well, what’s next?

[KATHRYN]:
And not only what’s next, but what can I do and what can I say? And I feel like there’s the potential for so much judgment. We’re scared of asking the wrong question. We’re scared of having the wrong answer. Because we want to do what’s right in this situation, and I won’t pretend to have all the answers but just like in this conversation with you, I think if we can just talk and approach each other with a respectful curiosity, then we can at least learn from each other what we need to learn. That’s not going to get us where we need to go, but if we can let go of the fear of asking the difficult questions…

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think too, people are nervous, especially on social media, to say something because they’re scared they’re going to say the wrong thing and that they’ll be this pylon, and sort of revenge. It’s really tricky. I haven’t known how to navigate it either. I’ve said a little, I’ve sort of sat back, I’ve watched a lot. And I’m trying to learn and recognize my own racism which of course is there, you know, everyone’s like, I don’t see color. You see color in my country; we’re very white, so you definitely see it. But yeah, it is a real time of change and a real time of learning, and as my friend Sema, who’s Fijian Indian says, she said, change only happens with change. So, we all just have to… I think we all have to raise our voices and be out there and not be too terrified of what can come back at you. And we just all need to try and be decent humans.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, and I completely agree with you. Every single person is biased, because our biases come from how we’re raised and how we experience life, and every single person experiences life differently, whether you live in Australia or Alabama, whether you’re black, brown, white, we are all different. We all have biases. I think it’s just really important for everyone to take the time to dig down and see what those are, because when you know what they are, you can deal with them.

[JANE]:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think our generation particularly, or I know amongst all my friends, everyone’s like, well, I’m not racist. There’s been a lot of that. I’m not racist. But I’ve had to look at some of my actions. I think I posted about it on Insta. You know, I speak to a lot of people that are European or we have a lot of Vietnamese clients; there’s a large Vietnamese population here. And I realized the other day that, you know, I get annoyed when I can’t understand them. And they’re trying their best and I’m rolling my eyes because I’m super busy, and I’m sort of rolling my eyes and it was like a light bulb moment for me the other day, I just went, okay, am I being frustrated here? Or am I being racist? And I’m being a mix of both, but definitely, there was some racism discrimination in there.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah. I did an exercise when I went back to school called unpacking your invisible knapsack. And it was an incredible sort of exercise for me because it broadened my definition of what racism is. Growing up, I thought racism was not liking other people because they’re of a race different than… But my definition of that is so much broader now. To me now, racism is partially not recognizing my white privilege and that someone else grows up experiencing maybe some of the same circumstances I’m in, but not experiencing them in the same way at all. And so, yeah, just a little bit different. So, we’re all working on that.

[JANE]:
We are, absolutely.

[KATHRYN]:
Constantly working on ourselves. So, to get into a little bit of a lighter topic, I want to know a little bit about how you, yourself have been coping and taking care of yourself – it is a little bit lighter subject but not a lot – because as women, I think oftentimes as we take care of everyone else and put everyone else first, we find it difficult to get to ourselves and to value ourselves enough for the self-care that we need to fill us back up. What have you been doing for yourself throughout all of these difficult times to take care of yourself?

[JANE]:
I’ve been doing everything; pulled out all the tricks and tips and tools and I think, like a lot of people, once we went into lockdown, I went, right, I can do this. And I was doing Zoom yoga, and Zoom boxing, and this and that. And then there was sort of a bit of a slump in the middle there where I just lay on the couch and read a book or ate chocolate, and now I’m sort of coming out of that again and starting to be a bit more active. But look, I do all the boring stuff that no one really wants to do. I meditate twice a day for 20 minutes, practice Vedic Meditation. So, I’ve been doing that probably for about a year now, but I really doubled down on it when all of this started because it really is so valuable. It’s the best tool. And I like Vedic meditation because there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s not about not thinking. It’s just about breathing and coming back to your mantra. It’s meditation for dummies, that’s what they call it. It seriously is, and you know, 20 minutes twice a day out of my day, I can do that. Absolutely.

For me also, being outside is really the most healing thing I can do. Being in the water is where I’m happiest so that was a little tricky during lockdown because we weren’t meant to go to the beach. You could go for a swim, but you couldn’t sit on the beach. You could go walk your dog. So yeah, I live right near the water, so I was running down to the beach, jumping in, and then coming home. I also do Wim Hof breathing, so I do a breathing technique every morning. I do cold showers. I do all this stuff that seems quite hard but once you get into the habit and into the practice of it, it’s like brushing your teeth. You just do it every day.

[KATHRYN]:
I want to hear more about the cold showers. Like, what does that do for you? That sounds just awful.

[JANE]:
Yeah, look, I would have thought that too. I’m still swimming in the bay here, so it was four degrees here this morning. I’m not sure what that is in your temperatures, but it was bloody cold. So, I just go most days, if I don’t go in the bay, I finish off with a cold shower. So, Wim Hof is this Dutch man and he’s invented this type of breathing technique which you do, and then you add cold water therapy to it. So, you might have a hot shower and then at the end, turn the cold on and stand under the cold for a few minutes. I often go and get in the bay. So, I’ll do my breathing, my meditating, go down to the beach, sit in the water, just for a couple of minutes. The idea is to not get cold, so the breathing helps with that. But also, the cold is more… it’s more for being able to just make a hard decision and go right, I’m going to do this. But it’s also, physiologically, it’s really beneficial for your joints and your heart and your skin and everything, but the breathing is where all the magic happens. Everyone’s fascinated about the cold because it just seems so uncomfortable. But it’s interesting – the more you do the breathing, the less you even think about the cold. I just get in the water now. I don’t even catch my breath or try and not get in for as long as possible. I just get in and you go ah, yeah, that’s cold, but you just don’t feel it as much. It’s been really amazing. I’ve got old, aching joints. It’s really helped with that. And just with my mental clarity as well. If you can have a baby, you can get in the cold water. That’s what I reckon.

[KATHRYN]:
So, I’m hearing that the whole, like the cold water kind of toughens you up a little bit. I want to hear more about… will you pronounce the type of breathing again?

[JANE]:
So, it’s a Dutch man and his name is Wim, and his surname is Hof. There’s a great VICE documentary on YouTube that you can watch about him. And he’s got a free app that you can download and learn the breathing technique. I also did a course – a friend of mine is an instructor in it – so I also did a course which is really great. But you can just learn off the app, it’s amazing.

[KATHRYN]:
I’ll definitely get all that information from you and put it in the show notes so that everybody can find it. So, what would you say the biggest benefits are of that type of breathing?

[JANE]:
It clears your head. So, I do the breathing and then I go straight into meditation. And it’s like a vacuum cleaner inside your head. It just sucks out all the stuff that you don’t need. It makes you feel very calm. It has physical benefits as well, but for me, it’s been the mental benefits that I’ve noticed the most. As someone who’s had to deal with a lot of stress… I’ve cracked all my teeth from clenching my jaw, and I’ve noticed that I’m not doing that anymore because now, instead, when I’m stressed, I’m breathing better. So, I used to hold my breath as well. Most people do when you’re stressed. But yeah, now I find I’m breathing better; I’m able to deal with stressful situations much better. When all the Corona stuff happened, I’d been dabbling with the Wim stuff, but for May I went right, I’m going to do it absolutely every day. Because, like anything, it’s practice. You can dip your toe in – it’s like meditation – you can dip your toe in here and there but it’s not until you actually practice it that you start to feel the benefits. I was like, right, I can do 30 days. I’ll give it a crack. And, where are we? We’re in early June and I’m still doing it. It’s been really great. Takes 10 minutes. So, I get up, brush my teeth, have a drink of water, and then breathe.

[KATHRYN]:
Oh, I’m definitely gonna look into that this weekend. So, how long would you think it took you before you felt like you were actually receiving the benefits from it? How long did you have to practice?

[JANE]:
Two weeks.

[KATHRYN]:
Okay.

[JANE]:
Yeah, two weeks. And I’m only doing the breathing once a day. I meditate twice a day. But the breathing I noticed in two weeks. I wasn’t doing cold showers at first. And then the first time I got in the bay when it was cold, I was like, oh, this is fine. This is fine. I’m swimming around. I’m like, people are looking at me like I’m crazy. I’m like, this feels really good. But yeah, the thing is to not let your ego get in the way and stay in too long. Get out before you get cold.

[KATHRYN]:
Okay. That’s great. I can’t wait to try that.

[JANE]:
Yeah. Cool.

[KATHRYN]:
So, you mentioned earlier how you are navigating being separated and dating in midlife. Can you tell us a little bit – as much or as little as you want to – about how that has been for you?

[JANE]:
Yeah, look, my husband and I, we were together for probably 21 years, 22 years. And probably the last five years of our relationship were extremely stressful. His mother died suddenly, my sister died from breast cancer, our dog died, his dad died, he lost his job… we just rolled from one disaster to another. And I think during that time, there was so much stress we just rolled away from each other, really. And we still really liked each other. I really like him. But I just made the decision that I didn’t want to live with him anymore. So, you know, it was the hardest time and, you know, it’s a bit like, you don’t know until you go through it. It’s like you don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant until you’re pregnant. You don’t know what it’s like to leave a marriage until you leave a marriage, and I had to go to one of my girlfriends who had gone through a really horrendous divorce and say, I’m really sorry, I had no idea what you were going through. And you know, he and I had a fairly amicable split, and I just had no idea. It was liberating and heartbreaking, you know, all at once. There were… there still is things that I miss about him, and love about him, but then also having my own space and being able to make my own decisions and my own choices after so long was just amazing. But yeah, look, it was challenging; it was hard for my children, it was hard for everyone because no one expected it, because we got on so well. But I like to look at it as not a failure; it wasn’t a failed relationship. We were together for a long time. And we had some amazing times and I think it was pretty successful, really.

So yes, I had a year on my own. It was interesting… Pretty much the first thing anyone says to you when you leave a marriage is, so, are you going to go on Tinder? So many people asked me that. Ah, so you’re gonna go on Tinder? I’m like, hell no. And look, I did get on there and have a look out of curiosity, a few months later. And I swiped so many times, no, no, no, no, no, that I actually ran out of men. So, I was like, okay.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, I wonder if those people who asked you if you were going to go on Tinder, if they had ever been on Tinder themselves?

[JANE]:
Yeah, good question. Good question. Although, you know what, I know a lot of people who have met their current partners on there. And I think for my generation, it’s kind of this sort of… I don’t know, it’s still, we can’t quite fathom it. But I know for my oldest son’s generation, yes, they’re on there, they’re doing it. But for us, it still seems a bit like a dating service. So, look, I didn’t get very far with that. And I was very happy on my own. And I was sort of in this frame of mind where I don’t really care if I never have sex again. I’m just really happy by myself. And then I met Brett, and that was through a friend. It was quite a bizarre way that we met. I was at a basketball tournament with my son, who couldn’t actually play because he’d done his ankle, but we went anyway to support the team. And the boy that was filling in for him, his mom and I just started talking one afternoon and after 10 minutes, she said, are you single? And I went, yeah. And she goes, I’ve got the man for you. And I went, no. And then I went, who is he? And she said, he was married to my sister. And I went, no. No. And she went, no, no, everyone gets on really well and, you know, I just think you and him, you’d really click. And I was like, oh God. Anyway, a few weeks went past, and she gave him my number and he rang me, and we had quite a few conversations on the phone before we met. Then we met, we had some walks on the beach with our dogs. We did that for, you know, six weeks or so. And then, yeah, we’ve been together ever since.

[KATHRYN]:
So, there was no point in the healing from your separation that you thought okay, I’m ready to date – it just kind of happened amicably?

[JANE]:
No, I never felt… No, I never felt okay, I need to get out there. I need to start going to bars and… I never had that urge at all. I don’t really know why. I guess I was just very happy doing my own thing. I did get lonely. Weekends were hard. Sunday’s were the hardest because usually one’s doing family stuff then, so I did find that tricky to navigate. But no, I was perfectly happy by myself. And I think now, in my new relationship I… he always jokes because I have very firm boundaries around my time and my space because, you know, and we don’t live together, and I’m just not ready… I’m just not ready to do that yet. And I’ve said to him, maybe I won’t ever be ready. Like, who says that we have to just do what everyone else is doing. You know, we can maybe navigate this relationship differently, but yeah, I think while my youngest is still at school, I’m just happy just to leave things the way they are at the moment. I love him. We love each other dearly. But yeah, I still need that space for myself.

[KATHRYN]:
So two things that you said that I thought were absolutely beautiful and worth talking about more is that you don’t see your separation, or the fact that you’re not still together with the person that you were together with for so long, you don’t see that as a failure. And I think that is so important, and I have so many clients that I have to work with on that. That just because something doesn’t remain the same doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t learn from it. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have great memories from it. Therefore, it was great. We need it at the time, and there are so many wonderful things that came out of it. And I think so many people do beat themselves up about it and see it as this all or nothing thing. Either succeeded in it, or I failed in it. That’s not how I see it.

[JANE]:
No, and people refer to it as, I had a failed marriage. Yeah, and I just look back and I think we both… it’s almost unrealistic to expect that being together for that long that you’re going to be the same people 20 years later, like, of course not. We both changed. And I probably changed more than him. And I think that that’s been a real gift as well. I’m not sure how he feels but I know for me that I very much look at it as a success. You know, we’ve got these two beautiful kids. We had some amazing times together. And we also really supported each other during some really, really, major life changes. And we did that as best as we could. So yeah, I definitely don’t think any relationship’s a failure. Any kind of relationship, even your friendships; I mean women have these intense friendships and you know, sometimes they’re like a love relationship. And sometimes they finish for whatever reason. But, in that relationship, in that dynamic, there’s always a lot of love and growth and support. And, you know, that’s what we need to remember, I think, when you’re coming to the end of something like that.

[KATHRYN]:
I love it. I totally agree. And the other thing that I really kind of stuck on that you said a minute ago was that you’ve set really firm boundaries for what you want. And I have so many clients, especially female clients, who have trouble setting boundaries, and I think that it’s directly tied to self-worth, and how much you value yourself because I do believe that we teach others how to treat us through our boundaries. But how, after all of the difficulty and the change of your prior relationship, how were you able to set such firm boundaries for yourself? Was it easy? Was it difficult?

[JANE]:
No, it wasn’t easy at all. I think, as women, we’re caring, and nurturing and we want everyone to be okay; we want everyone to feel okay. And I think especially when you have a family you can often put your needs last. You know, I’ve even found myself dishing out the dinner and giving everyone else the best bits you know, and I give myself the burnt pumpkin and the burnt bit of meat or whatever. And I’ve caught myself doing that a few times. I’ve gone, why am I doing this? I have cooked this meal. I’ve gone to the shops. I’ve done the shopping. I’ve cooked this meal and now I’m giving myself the worst bit. I’ve stopped doing that.

[KATHRYN]:
What’s up with that?

[JANE]:
Yeah. So yeah, you know, it has been really challenging. And Brett, he’s very intense and passionate, and he sort of has ignited that in me as well. And it’s easy to get swept up into that energy, but I have to be very grounded. With most people in my life now I’m trying to be very grounded and have very firm boundaries. My mate, Naz, who I call the wife, we have this saying because I always go… someone asks me to do something and I go, Yeah, no, nah. So, she’ll ask me something, and she’ll go, Yeah, no, nah. And I’ll go, yeah, yeah, no, nah. I don’t know if you do this in America, we have a saying here where we go yeah, no. We just do it. Yeah, no. And I’ve had to really learn to be very firm in that, and with my kids and with my partner and day to day life. That’s something that has come to me as I’ve gotten older. That I have found my voice and being able to do that. But yeah, look, bless Brett – he’s chipping away at my boundaries. He’ll probably get through them one day. [Unclear] already.

[KATHRYN]:
Speaking of getting older and the things that we learn, there are a couple of other things I want to ask you about that. The first is, you know, a little bit about how you got to where you are on Instagram and how that all started at this point in your life because, if everyone else doesn’t know you, on Instagram, you’re the Middle Aged Goddess.

[JANE]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
So how did you get started on that? And what was kind of your reasoning or your point of that?

[JANE]:
So, the name the middle aged goddess was a bit of a ‘piss take’, we call it in Australia, just a bit of a joke, like sort of rolling your eyes at the term. I was teaching yoga at the time and a lot of my Instagram feed was full of young women in bikinis on the beach doing handstands and calling themselves Yogi goddess or bikini goddess or whatever, and good on them, but I couldn’t relate to any of that. So, I was like, okay, well, I’m going to be the middle aged goddess. So, it all just sort of started out as a bit of a joke and then one day, I did a bit of a dance and had a bit of a sing and posted that on there and a few more people hopped on. And then when my marriage ended, I started speaking about that. And I don’t know, I just started talking about stuff that other women could relate to. And Instagram, for our age bracket, is… it’s still evolving, I think, as Facebook is kind of devolving, I guess.

And then I started talking about menopause, because I was going through menopause at the time, and talking about how that had been for me, and how I had no idea, no idea about what was happening to me and my body and my mind. I thought I was going insane. And then more and more women started hopping on and then younger women started hopping on and asking me questions. And before I knew it, I was talking at events to groups of young women about menopause and doing stuff like that. And it’s just grown from there into something else. I’m not sure where I’m going with it now, but it’s just rolling along. It’s been quite amazing.

[KATHRYN]:
What do you wish someone had told you about menopause when you were young?

[JANE]:
I wish that I had known about perimenopause. When I was at school, I got taught by nuns. I just got told your period stops at 50. That was it, and you can’t have kids anymore. That’s what I learnt. My mother had passed away before, when I was in my 20s. My sister went through early menopause because of chemotherapy and then she had passed away. So, all the significant older women in my life were gone. And I’m quite a bit older than a lot of my friends. So, I just was… I remember when I had my first hot flash at 45 and I was in a car with some friends. And I went, oh my gosh, is it hot in here? They’re like, no, and I’m like… I was in the back and I’m like, put the windows down, I think I’m getting sick. And I just had this intense hot flush; I didn’t even know what it was. And I said at the time, oh God, maybe I’m going through menopause and they all went oh no, you’re too young. And that was actually the start of it. I just had no idea. I had no idea how tricky it was going to be for me. That was my experience – I know everybody’s different. And a lot of the symptoms I was having, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know anything about it. So, I just started to become informed. And the more I learned, the more horrified I was at the lack of knowledge around it, around women’s health in general, I would have to say. But especially around that, and I wonder sometimes, is it because all of a sudden, we’re not of any use anymore, your womb’s not useful anymore. So yeah, let’s just forget about it, you know? And yeah, it’s been interesting, learning all of that stuff and trying to pass that on as well.

[KATHRYN]:
I love that you’re trying to pass on what you’ve learned to younger people in the next generation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. And you know, so many women our age, I’m 51 – so many women our age have really negative self-talk about getting older; we’re washed up or we’re not of any use. You know, I’m too old to learn, whatever it is, there’s a lot of negative self-talk. But because I think a lot of it is how society, you know, values what youth looks like, but I would love to see us as a group of women go in the opposite direction and realize, we know so much more now than we knew then, right? We’ve been through it, we’ve experienced things. So how can we take those things that we’ve learned through our experience and help the younger woman with, so maybe they navigate it a little bit easier or just with more awareness?

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah. When I… at one talk I did, it was mainly all young women there. And I said to them, go home and ask your mother, or talk to your auntie, or talk to an older woman in your life and ask them what their experience was, because I can bet you, no one’s asked them. No one’s asked them how they felt or how they were coping with it. I said, you need this knowledge moving forward in your life, you need to know what to expect and how to navigate it. And we need to be talking more about it so women don’t feel like it’s this silent process that you have to go through, and that it’s the end of your youth. I feel better now, I’m more confident now than I have ever felt in my whole life. I always tear up when I say this, because I never expected ever to feel this good. So, physically, of course, there’s stuff that’s challenging, but mentally and emotionally, I never knew that I would feel this amazing.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, and anybody we can help and pass that on to at an earlier age.

[JANE]:
Yeah. Absolutely.

[KATHRYN]:
So along those lines, is there anything else that you want to look back and tell like your 20 year old self, or another 20 or 25 year old woman out there, like, I wish I knew then what I know now? What else would you tell them?

[JANE]:
I wish I knew then that I wasn’t fat. The mental torture I put myself through in my 20s about my body shape… and I think most women do that.

[KATHRYN]:
Yes.

[JANE]:
And I look back at photos, and I was beautiful but inside my head, I was, you know, oh your boobs are too big, your hips are too big. I just can’t believe that I actually did that to myself. It makes me quite sad that I did that.

[KATHRYN]:
Spent so much time in our heads doing that. It took away from the enjoyment of the things that we were doing at the time, right?

[JANE]:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, I used to wear big T-shirts because I was so self-conscious, and I had a great body. So, yeah, I would tell myself that. I would say… I’ve always kind of done this, but I say to young women, look after yourselves now. Start now. Because if you’re eating well, and looking after your mental health, and moving your body, it will only make aging easier for you. You know, I’ve always had a pretty good diet. I’ve partied hard – I’ve partied really hard, but I’ve always eaten well, I’ve always moved, I’ve always exercised, I’ve done yoga for 30 years. All the boring stuff that you’re meant to do, I did. And I think that that has stood me in good stead later on in life.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, I just… those are great tips. And I could talk to you for hours. But I know that you’re 15 hours ahead and you have work ahead [unclear], right? So, I always end the podcast by asking my guest what is one imperfect action we could all go out and take today that would get us a little bit closer to our best lives.

[JANE]:
I think at the moment, what I’ve noticed is that people are trying to connect more, strangers are trying to connect with each other. We’re all waiting outside the cafe for our coffee. And I’ve just been trying to look people in the eye from a distance and smile. You don’t have to say anything to it, but just that connection with people has been really precious during this time. And I hope to keep doing that. I walk past people in the street now, I say, good morning. Just a simple action of trying to connect with someone has really brightened up my day over the last few months. You know, there’s been some days where I haven’t seen anyone, the only person I’ve seen is when I’m walking my dog and we’ve crossed paths and acknowledged each other. So, I really hope that as we start to come out of iso that we don’t lose that connection with each other, because it has felt like we’re all in this together. And really, we should be feeling like that. No matter the situation or circumstance.

[KATHRYN]:
Oh, I absolutely love that. That’s a great idea. So where can our listeners find you, on Instagram and anywhere else?

[JANE]:
So, at the moment, I’m just on Insta @TheMiddleAgedGoddess, come and find me there. I’ve been talking about getting a website together for three years, and I still haven’t done that. But yeah, come and find me there. I’m there most days. I’m on Facebook as well but generally, yeah, Insta’s my home so find me there.

[KATHRYN]:
Well, I have loved having you on the Imperfect Thriving podcast and everybody, y’all heard Jane, I think this is perfect and apropos for everything that we’re experiencing right now, is that the one imperfect action that you can go out and take today is to look people in the eye and smile; that will go a long way towards connection and unifying versus separating and becoming farther apart. So, until we meet back here next week, go out and take daily imperfect action.

Imperfect Thriving is a part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

If you love this podcast, will you rate and review it on iTunes, or your favorite podcast player? Also, I have a free, nine-part Blueprint to Thrive email course. It’s a step-by-step guide to find out what you want your life to look like, exactly what’s holding you back, and how to get to that life you want. Head on over to www.imperfectthriving.com/course to get the course today.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, I encourage you to reach out to one.

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About Kathryn

I’ve created Imperfect Thriving to help you get back to who you really are, and live your best life possible, imperfectly.

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