In this week's episode, Billy shares an anecdote about his experiences in the Pacific Northwest that helped him shift gears and realign his thoughts to a much clearer perspective that has helped him gain some clarity around what he wants out of life and relationships moving forward.
--his road trip down Highway 101, with stops in: Aberdeen, Seaside Beach, Cannon Beach, and Portland
--the importance of doing your own thing
--setting your goals and direction accurately
--romantic relationships, giving space, and understanding each other
--distractions that hindered him to focus on his aim and be clear to himself
--how “comparison is the thief of joy.”
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Billy: I tend to be needy and insecure at times and I have a constant need for reassurance and I have a fear that romantic partners are going to leave me so that’s what was happening, and when I get into that mindset, I started catastrophizing everything and I was like, okay, like maybe she started seeing someone else and she doesn’t know how to tell me or maybe she got into an accident and is incapacitated right now so I did my best not to inundate her with text messages because that’s certainly something I have done in the past when these things have happened.
Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life second hand. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches as we share our life experiences, both the good and the bad, in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis Summer Sessions. I’m your host, Billy, and as always, I’m joined by my good friend, Brian on the bass. Brian, how you doing over there, man?
Brian: I’m exuberant today, Billy.
Billy: Oh, exuberant. Is summer bringing out the exuberance in you?
Brian: I feel lively, full of energy. It’s got a lot to do with what’s been going on with the band lately but, still, I feel good.
Billy: Excellent. Excellent. Summertime is a good time in Minnesota. In fact, summer is the best time to be in Minnesota. I think it’s the reason why a lot of Minnesotans stay in Minnesota because Minnesota summers are really great.
Brian: They’re great. I mean, the bugs aside, and you can usually deal with those through various methods, but, you know, spraying the yard, spraying your body, for those of you that don’t have mosquitoes the size of buzzards, that’s how we gotta take care of them. Like, seriously, there’s helicopters that fly around and like spray for mosquitoes here in the summer. It’s pretty cool.
Billy: Yeah. Right now, it is monsoon season in Korea so it is down pouring with rain and with rain comes mosquitoes so I feel your pain over there right now because there are plenty of mosquitoes over here in Seoul but this is the last episode that we will be recording while I am in a different country because I am coming back to the States next week. It’s pretty wild to think that this journey is coming to a close.
Brian: I’m gonna say something semi-related here. Are there any mosquito-borne diseases over there? Or are they of a latitude where it’s more similar to here where they’re — like I’m talking dengue or yellow fever, stuff like that?
Billy: Those are all good questions that I have no clue.
Brian: You know what, you should probably not look it up ’til you leave because I don’t want to add to your existential dread over there, like you could get dengue.
Billy: I have one week left. I’m just trying to make it through that week over here.
Brian: Without getting a mosquito-borne illness.
Billy: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Well, we have gone international here with our podcast, not only with just traveling but we have listeners from all over the world. It’s been very, very exciting to watch this podcast grow over the last five episodes, have been downloaded in 19 different countries, so we just wanted to take some time here to give a shout-out to the people in these countries who have been listening to our podcast. If that’s you, send us a message, let us know. Shout-out to the people in India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, France, Ecuador, and I have a feeling that that is Anna and Kolin, thank you very much. They just purchased land in Ecuador, like they said they were going to, episodes 48 and 49. If you like breath work, take a listen to that. We have listeners in Malaysia, Ireland, Brazil, Spain, Egypt, Netherlands, Costa Rica, Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, of course, my fan base here, United Kingdom, and the United States. Brian, we have a pretty diverse group of cities who have been listening as well. I’m going to share the top five cities where our show is being downloaded, excluding our home Minneapolis, St. Paul, I’ll exclude those two because that’s our home base. So, here we go. Number five, Rochester, Minnesota. I used to live in Rochester. Shout-out to everybody who lives in Rochester and is still supporting me and Brian. Get this, we are huge in Sydney, Australia all of a sudden.
Brian: Really? Like how huge?
Brian: Is it, I mean, it’s definitely an uptick in traffic.
Billy: The last five episodes have just exploded in Sydney, Australia. So, if you are the listener or listeners in Sydney, Australia, will you please message us on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis, send us an email at email@example.com, let us know who you are because we want to say thank you. That is awesome that so many people, or at least one listener, is downloading so many episodes from Sydney, Australia. Very cool. We also have Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We have a feeling that our friend Lee from episode 11 is leading that charge. Shout-out to Brooklyn, New York, and —
Brian: Go, Brooklyn!
Billy: — and Seattle —
Billy: — and Seattle, Washington. Thank you so much to all our listeners out there. If you want your city shouted out, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis. You can also go to www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com and click on the Contact page and hit us up there. We’re also on Twitter, @mindfulmidlife, and we’re on Facebook at The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast. You can find all of this in our show notes and on our website. If you do go to our website, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter under Contact. We send out different mindfulness meditations each Sunday along with information about upcoming events hosted by our amazing past guests and our future guests who are always seeking out opportunities to help people like you and us reflect, learn, and grow. There’s some other goodies we put in there as well, opportunities to express gratitude. We’ll also share updates on where Brian on the bass will be showcasing his talents. Brian, where will you be playing this month of July with the Gen X Jukebox band?
Brian: Well, we’re retooling the show right now so we’ve got a couple practices in July. We’re adding a lot of stuff and maybe trimming stuff that wasn’t as successful as we thought it would be, but the show’s gonna be new and July 23rd at Excelsior Brewing Company in Excelsior is our first — our next show. That’ll be fun. It’s a small venue but it’ll be packed and crazy. The week after that, 7 days later, that Saturday, we’re at Champps in Eden Prairie actually is where we’re headed. So, that’s the 30th of July, so 23rd Excelsior, 30th July Champps, and then then we head down to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the following weekend, going to play a big joint down there called the Chrome Horse, that’s the 6th of August. That’s really what looks to be a great venue down there. I mean, it’s outdoors. Just a gigantic patio. It’ll be awesome.
Billy: Excellent, excellent. I will be at the shows at Excelsior Brewing and at Champps, I really liked those venues right there. If you’re like, “They’re playing at a Champps?” No, no, no, it’s a huge outdoor stage at Champps in Eden Prairie and it’s really nice and, for people like us who are a little bit older and don’t like to stay out late —
Brian: Six to ten.
Billy: — the sets from six to ten —
Brian: Freaking beautiful.
Billy: That’s why I love going to shows at Champps because it’s from six —
Brian: Excelsior, 7:30 to 10:30.
Billy: It’s perfect.
Brian: Yeah, it’s good. Those early shows are where it’s at, man. I love ’em so much. And, yes, Champps is kinda like a small amphitheater. I would call it a small amphitheater because it’s all made out of rocks, this whole patio, and there’s tables and chairs and a bar and there’s so many places to sit and the food’s good and it’s outside and beautiful and then the stage sits up and it’s all rocks and cool. I’m gonna say, I’m gonna go out on a limb here, Champps Eden Prairie is the Red Rocks of Minnesota. That’s what I’m gonna say. It’s a lot smaller, but it’s the Red Rock — very similar.
Billy: Wow, that is a bold, bold statement.
Brian: Thank you. I think I’ll stand by that.
Billy: Well, if you want to see Brian on the bass and Gen X Jukebox play at the Red Rocks of Minnesota, Champps in Eden Prairie, and you’re in midlife and you like 90s music like Alan Jackson, C+C Music Factory, Backstreet Boys, Gin Blossoms, Nirvana, then you’re definitely going to wanna check out Gen X Jukebox. Go and give them a follow wherever you have your social media. It’s a high energy show that will remind you why the 90s produced the greatest music of all time, full stop. So give them a follow wherever you give them a chance. Go get funky with Brian on the bass, you might see me there as well if I am in —
Brian: And, guys, I just bought a video wall where we are recording this episode. I actually literally just bought a video wall. So, eventually, in the future, Gen X Jukebox will have a show with a video wall.
Billy: Oh. The production value was already good and you just keep finding little bits and pieces to make it better and —
Brian: We do it for the fans, Billy. We do it for you guys, buddy. We want you to be happy and keep coming back and love it so we’re gonna put a lot of effort into this thing.
Billy: Very excited. Very excited. Brian, we have a podcast production team now, very excited that I don’t have to edit any more of these episodes. We want to give a shout-out to Dave and his team at Podcast Engineers. They’re treating us real well. They’re doing a great job. This is our first episode that we are using with them. Looking forward to hearing how it sounds. They’re gonna be giving us show notes, we’re gonna have audiograms. Our production value for the show is going to increase thanks to Podcast Engineers. If you are a podcaster and you’re looking for a production team, I strongly recommend working with Dave and his team. If you’ve enjoyed the production value of this show so far and you have a few favorite episodes, do us a favor. This is really, really key for us. This is really important to us. Go to the show notes and click on Leave Us a Review and leave us a five-star review. Even if you’re not a regular listener and you’ve only listened to an episode here and there, tell us what you liked about your favorite episode. It can be as simple as, “I really enjoyed the episode with Dr. Yvette Erasmus about compassionate communication,” because everybody likes that episode. So, when you leave us a five-star review, not only does it help others find the show but it also fills our hearts with happiness and joy because words of affirmation mean the world to us. Now, if you really like this episode and you want to hear more from us, be sure to follow or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, be sure to click on the little plus sign in the upper right hand corner so you never miss an episode. If you’re a Spotify user, click Follow under our cover art and you’ll never miss an episode because we’re gonna be talking about my travels all around the world the next few weeks and it’s summertime, maybe you wanna plan something and you’re not gonna wanna miss an episode. So, let’s go all the way back to the beginning of 2022, January. Brian, do you remember where I was in January? I barely remember where I was in January —
Brian: You’ve been so many places, I have no idea.
Billy: Yeah, yeah, it’s been a wild year. It’s been a wild year. A lot of growth has taken place. So I thought what I would do is, in this first segment, I would talk about where I’ve been and what I’ve done, and then in the second segment of these episodes, I will talk about what I’ve learned about myself and how I’ve grown, because I can tell you that at the beginning of 2022, I was floundering and I think this is a good place to start because my head was all over the place, there was a lot of uncertainty. Back in episode 53, I talked about the gray areas in my life. So, I think this is a good place to start. So, hopefully, people will be able to see this transition into a clarity, which is what season 5 was all about. And what’s funny is I think during season 5, the recording of it, that’s when I had the least amount of clarity up until about a month ago and I’ll talk about what that moment of clarity was for me later on in these summer sessions but let’s go all the way back to the Pacific Northwest. That’s where I was back in January. I headed out there and I stayed with my sister for the month of January, thinking that I was going to go to Thailand, but, because their COVID regulations kept changing day after day, things were really, really confusing for me. So, eventually, I just ended up canceling that trip to Thailand because there was so much uncertainty around COVID regulations, which initially was a huge bummer, but I ended up going to Puerto Vallarta for the month of February which was a lovely consolation prize, but I will talk about Puerto Vallarta next week. So, I just wanted to share some highlights of mine from the Pacific Northwest in case anyone is interested in taking a little road trip from Seattle to Portland some time. Brian, have you spent any time in the Pacific Northwest?
Brian: Most definitely. I’ve been to Puget Sound. I did a home theater install out in Puget Sound and the guy’s house was freakin incredible. Like it overlooked the Sound and there was 12 picture windows. Each window was about, I’d say 10-foot square maybe. You know, they were rectangular, a little more rectangular, but the bottom of the window was probably 10 feet by, you know, 6 feet or whatever it was and there was 12 of them. As you walked into his front door, the whole back of his house faced the Sound and was almost all glass. And we put a whole theater system in there that was like 21 zones, I think we had in there, plus to a main theater, a basketball court. I mean, it was just ridiculous.
Billy: Wow. Wow. Some of those houses out there are amazing. I mean, the Pacific Northwest is really, really beautiful. Also, shout-out to our listeners in Portland. We have a very dedicated listener in Portland. If that’s you, please send us a message. I wanna know who you are, I’d like to touch base with you, especially if I’m in Portland some time, I’d love to connect. So, here was kind of my road trip through the Pacific Northwest. I drove through the town of Aberdeen and if you’re a 90s baby, you know who came from Aberdeen. Do you know whose boyhood home that is, Brian?
Brian: Aberdeen? I don’t.
Billy: You’re the worst —
Brian: I really don’t. Whose boyhood —
Billy: It’s who is probably the most influential members of the grunge movement who came from Aberdeen, Washington.
Brian: Oh my gosh. So it was Cobain then. Okay.
Billy: Yes. Yes. Yes. So I stopped at Kurt Cobain’s boyhood home because, you know, when you’re in the Pacific Northwest, that’s what you should do and I was rolling through Aberdeen. Aberdeen, there isn’t much to do and see in Aberdeen and as a small town kid myself, I got an even better understanding of some of those feelings Kurt Cobain would express in his music but I did walk around the neighborhood where he grew up, visited the muddy banks of Wishkah and then hung out underneath the bridge, there’s like this little bridge memorial and if you remember the song, “Something in the Way,” it’s based on that bridge. So it was just kind of surreal to be there as an adult thinking about Kurt Cobain spending time there in his childhood under the muddy banks of Wishkah. So, just kind of a cool little experience there.
Brian: So you kinda got to walk in his shoes basically is what you did and put yourself in his perspective through his music and the places where he was so that’s immersive. I think it sounds like a cool experience, dude.
Billy: Yeah, it was. It was, and like that did go through my mind, like, oh, wow, I’m standing in the same spot that Kurt Cobain has been. It’s just really surreal.
Brian: I bet it was. I mean, in that the fact that you can relate some of the stuff and that you know a lot of the band history in the songs and how they relate to the places is pretty damn cool, I gotta say. That makes for a good experience. You would be a good tour guide for that. See, you could be like, “Hey.”
Billy: I have been saying for months that my ideal job would be tour guide. I would love to be a tour guide. Actually, I would love to get back to Korea and be a tour guide in Seoul. The only thing is you have to be licensed and I think the test is in Korean so —
Brian: So you gotta learn Korean?
Billy: I need to brush up. So I need to brush up a bit. I don’t know if they have English tour guides and English tour guide tests that they can take. I need to research this because, no lie, I would love, love, love to be a tour guide in Seoul. I have met people here and been like, “Do you wanna walk around? I’ll show you around,” and I feel like a local here but I’ll get into that a little bit later. But after I left Aberdeen, I made my way down the Washington and Oregon coast where the scenery there is just absolutely stunning. So, if you’re looking for a great place along the Oregon coast to stay, shoot me a message because I have a hidden gem that I want to keep hidden. I don’t want to blow it up here on this podcast because millions of people listen to it and I don’t want this place to get overrun with tourism, but if you like parking your car literally on the beach while watching the sunset and if you like eating the best spicy Asian food you’ve ever had in your life and if you like going to a movie theater that has been turned into a brewery without standing food, if that’s your kind of thing, shoot me a message at email@example.com, I will give you all the details. No, it’s not Astoria. No, it’s not Cannon Beach, although a day at Cannon Beach is well worth your time because I spent an entire afternoon and evening there, watched the sunset behind Haystack Rock, admired the reds, yellows, oranges, blues, and blacks coloring the sky as I walked back to my rental car. It was just amazing. Also, Haystack Rock, for you 80s fans out there, that’s where Goonies was filmed, Astoria. So you can get a little 80s nostalgia right there as you watch One-Eyed Willy sail behind Haystack Rock.
Brian: What was the weather like out there, Billy?
Billy: Actually, it was really, really nice in January, which surprised me. I would have thought that it would have been more rainy but it was actually much warmer and far less rainier along the coast on the west side of the mountains than it was back in Redmond. Redmond was pretty rainy and pretty foggy, but the Oregon coast was actually pretty nice. So, I imagine a summer day along the Oregon coast is as close to heaven on earth as you could possibly get. So, if you get a chance, people, take a road trip along the Oregon coast. It is simply beautiful. So then, I drove to Portland, and I know I just gave a shout-out to our listeners in Portland and here’s what I’ll say about Portland. I like your green spaces so I made a point to spend as much time in nature as I possibly could while I was there. That’s what I would say about —
Brian: That’s it? Why? What else was going on, Billy? Why — Was it dirty? Tell. I know you’re not — just shoot it straight.
Billy: I don’t want to — I don’t want to —downtown Portland was not my favorite location.
Brian: There’s a lot of tumult around there right now.
Billy: Yeah. Here’s what I’ll say. There are a lot of beautiful green spaces in Portland. If you can find those, you can do a quick Google search for hikes near Portland and I found a hike from I believe it’s Lower Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion, that was really cool. It turned out to be a nice hike that ended with this overcast view of Portland. Portland didn’t have as nice a weather because it’s east of the mountains so I think the clouds get trapped in there. I didn’t take a tour of the mansion but one thing that I cannot get enough of is the trees in the Pacific Northwest —
Brian: Oh, yeah, of course.
Billy: It absolutely — it reminds me of northern Minnesota to some extent —
Brian: Only bigger.
Billy: — the bright greenness. Yeah. And the bright greenness of the moss that grows —
Brian: So cool.
Billy: — on the side of the trees. It just makes those trails and hikes pop with colors. So it was so cool, especially, you know, as much as I dislike fog, the way that the foggy backdrop combines with those green moss, that just looked really, really cool. So, I will shout-out that. Those green spaces, like the Washington Park loop, that is really, really cool too. There’s also a portion of the Wildwood Trail that I enjoyed, but it’s a long, long trail so just be mindful of that. I do wish I would have found a waterfall hike while I was out there because, just like TLC, I like chasing waterfalls —
Brian: They said don’t do that.
Billy: I know, I know —
Brian: Don’t go chasing water — that’s what they said. Don’t.
Billy: You know, that’s a 90s jam. Are you adding that to the Gen X Jukebox —
Brian: It didn’t chart high enough.
Billy: Oh, but you know everybody’s gonna love that —
Brian: Do you think we should? We should poll the listeners somehow, Billy.
Billy: Yes, yes. If you think that Brian should include “Waterfalls” in the Gen X Jukebox set list, send us a message, firstname.lastname@example.org or mindful_midlife_crisis on Instagram, let us know. We’ll try and find a poll too. I think I can do a poll on Instagram Stories. We’ll add that in there after this episode to see what you think.
Brian: Billy, I gotta step back real quick. We got to step back to “Waterfalls.” That did hit number one. I apologize to TLC. That spent seven weeks at number one. So, it was probably not because it didn’t chart but because the tempo was mid-tempo. And I only picked up tempo stuff.
Billy: Oh, okay.
Brian: It was too slow to make my tempo cut-off is why I didn’t see it.
Billy: Well, that’s good to know about TLC. Thank you for clarifying that —
Brian: I just didn’t wanna short them, you know? I said they didn’t make number one and people could have taken what I said and started talking. And pretty soon everybody thinks TLC didn’t chart at number one. I can’t have that happen. I had to set the record straight.
Billy: Well, I will tell you that downtown Portland does not chart number one on my list. I know, I know —
Brian: Sorry, Portland. We love you, Portland.
Billy: We have a dedicated listener. We love our listeners in Portland. I’m just not a huge fan of downtown Portland. Again, the green spaces, absolutely beautiful. I actually tried to arrange a free walking tour because I love doing those. That’s one of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city but even the tour guide didn’t show up for the downtown walking tour —
Brian: Oh, no.
Billy: — so I just spent about an hour walking around downtown Portland and I had had enough. Now, with that being said, I do need to give a shout-out to the restaurant Thai Bloom! because I wanted authentic Thai food since I wasn’t going to Thailand anymore —
Brian: Oh, yeah, you were still bombing.
Billy: — and I went there all three nights I was in Portland and one night I ordered the kao soi and it is spectacular. If you’ve never had kao soi, get yourself some kao soi. It’s kinda — it’s a noodle dish and it kind of has this coconutty flavor and I’m not a big coconutty person.
Brian: Billy, I also had something new this week as far as food goes and it was called a huarache.
Billy: Oh, what’s that?
Brian: It’s Mexican and it’s kind of like a thick corn tortilla and then it’s almost served like a Mexican pizza. There’s steak on it, there’s lettuce, there’s tomatoes. It’s fantastic. It was unbelievable. So good. New Mexican restaurant over here called the El Travieso.
Billy: Oh. And what city —
Brian: El Travieso taqueria, I believe it’s called. I’m terrible at pronouncing. See, I can’t even pronounce pronouncing.
Billy: Well, I hope the staff there is as lovely as the staff at Thai Bloom! Thailand has a reputation for having the nicest people in the world and the staff at Thai Bloom! absolutely exemplified that so go there, get yourself a good meal, get treated right by wonderful people. So let me ask you this. Listeners, if you’ve been to Portland, if you have been to Pacific Northwest, what did I miss? Again, send us a message at email@example.com or on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis. Let us know where should our listeners go the next time they are in the Pacific Northwest.
Brian: Yeah, we aren’t always right. Our experience is not definitive. So we’d love to hear how we’re wrong. I mean, just because Billy had, you know, a less than possibly favorable impression of Portland, maybe you weren’t in the right spots, you know what I mean?
Billy: Very true. Very true. And I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong. Every now and then, we can be wrong so let’s do this. While you send us your tips on Portland and the Pacific Northwest, we’re gonna take a quick break and when we come back, I’m gonna share with you where my state of mind was and how that was essentially the beginning of this journey towards clarity. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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And now, let’s take a minute to be present with our breath. If you’re listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale for four, three, two, one, hold for seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, slowly exhale for eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
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Go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now, back to the show.
Billy: Welcome back to the mindful midlife crisis. I am talking about my experiences in the Pacific Northwest and wanted to shift from the sightseeing to the state of mind that I was in because it’s weird to look back on that time in the Pacific Northwest because like it was only 6 months ago but it feels like an eternity because of how I was navigating my emotions at that time and my relationships at that time and like even when I listen back to episode 53 where I dive into my gray areas, which we recorded that back in March, I was all over the board at that time and, to be honest, I’m just now gaining some clarity around what I’d like to manifest more into my life because I think it’s important to walk through some of what I was experiencing and why it was so frantic at that time. So this should be fun. Everybody buckle up, right?
Brian: All right, here we go.
Billy: Yeah, yeah. Here’s what I’ll say and this came from Brian Gallagher, our guest for episode 63, I believe. He talked about clarity and Christine Chang talked about clarity and I cannot stress this enough, if you are struggling like I was back then, it’s so important to gain clarity in your life. And I cannot stress enough how a relationship that begins to fade will make it next to impossible for you to focus on gaining clarity. And when I look back on the months of January and February, that’s what sticks out to me the most. So, I wanna walk you through that a bit because I think laying out this timeline may explain some of the distress I was feeling at that time and if you’re going through this similar situation, send us a message because I can kind of give you some perspective because I was just there recently. So, here’s kind of the origins of it all. Last July, I met this amazing woman before I left for Portugal in September and that’s not what I thought was going to happen, I didn’t think that I was gonna meet somebody before I left, but I was very clear and honest with her about the fact that I was leaving the country and we just agreed that we would enjoy our time together for the rest of the summer and then see how things panned out. She was great. She said, you know, “When you leave, go do your thing. Don’t let me hold you back from any experience you may have or want to have.” She said, “You had this trip planned before you met me so don’t let me get in the way of this experience,” and she’s the kind of woman who meant it. This was not a game by her at all. So that’s what I did. I did my own thing while I was in Portugal and Spain. But we kept in pretty regular contact that entire time and when I flew to New York City from Dakar, we spent a few days together and I’ll be honest, like one of those days just so happened to be what I refer to as a top 10 day because it was a perfect day all the way through. So, when we got back to Minnesota, we started spending more and more time together and I started to rethink my relationship with her because I was starting to feel very connected to her and I was thinking, oh, like I can see myself building a life with this woman. And I started feeling this slow transition from just liking her and enjoying our time together to like maybe feeling like I was falling in love with her and that was a very unexpected feeling and, you know, I never said that to her, but it was definitely something I was thinking about but I just wasn’t clear on what my life would look like given I still had plans to travel and she’s a single mom and there’s that whole dynamic as well so I didn’t want to rush anything but those feelings were definitely there. And then COVID put up a big roadblock because we were supposed to go on that road trip down the Oregon Coast together because before I left, she booked a flight to Seattle, we had made a reservation to rent a car, we booked this cute little Airbnb that overlooked the ocean and we were looking forward to driving down the coast together and spending a nice romantic weekend together but then she got COVID so I spent what was supposed to be a romantic getaway with her all by myself, which I’ve talked about how solo travel can feel isolating and lonely at times. So, as you can imagine, this only exasperated my anxiety around that because I was really looking forward to that time together. I mean, I had a great time and the Oregon Coast is amazing and I made the most of the situation and I did a lot of hiking and I did a lot of walking along the beach, but the fact that she couldn’t be there, it certainly dampened the mood a little bit.
Brian: I could definitely see that. It’s just a big letdown.
Brian: You were looking forward to the trip and the place. The place with a relationship is much more impactful, I get it.
Billy: Yeah. So, you know, it was just kind of a bummer, and I’m gonna circle back round to how this relationship eventually fizzled out but there was also another area in my life that was stressing me out during this time and that was the production and marketing of this podcast. I spent a lot of time back in January inefficiently working on this podcast. I was locked up in the spare bedroom upstairs without much direction and I just had way too many social media tools that I was trying to figure out because — like I was trying to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak, with all these podcasters out there who are marketing themselves on TikTok and using Headliner and if you’re a social media manager, hats off to you, because I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to use things like Canva and Buffer and figuring out Reels on Instagram and if you aren’t passionate about creating content like that, it can be extremely frustrating when you’re first starting —
Brian: It’s a drag, yeah. It is. As a content producer myself, yeah, I can tell you, it’s a love-hate relationship for me. I hate social media but I love the production of content.
Billy: Right, right. And I’m kind of the same way so it’s just like, oh, man, and it wasn’t working out for me the way that I wanted and, of course, you know, being a perfectionist, I wanted everything to look and sound just right. I wanted to do all the things that these other podcasts are doing like audiograms and cool videos that capture people’s attentions in hopes that we’ll go viral somehow but I just found that the only thing going viral was by imposter syndrome as I was comparing myself to these other people. Reminds me of when we talked to Greg Scheinman in episode 41 where he says comparison is the thief of joy and that’s what was happening for me. I was losing a lot of joy in this production process because I was comparing myself to these other podcasts. And I think this all comes back to not having clarity around goals and —
Brian: I’d say that’s accurate, yeah.
Billy: — Yeah, for the podcast and Brian and I have loosely talked about what we’d like to see long term but I don’t know that we’ve gone all in on this yet. I think now that we have this production company, that’s gonna help out, but like I’ve been traveling and Brian is the hardest working man in the audio and music industry so it’s honestly taken me until now to just let go and let God and not worry about download numbers and all that. When I’m — in Korea, I really didn’t focus much. Think been a bit of a release and it’s helped me gain a bit of clarity. We haven’t posted episodes as often on social media but we’re still hitting our past numbers, which I think is a good sign. Could we hit higher numbers if we were doing more? Yeah, but at what cost to my sanity, you know? It’s kinda one of those things so it’s the cost-effect-reward, you know, all of that. So, no, we’re not growing like we’d like to but, at the same time, if we’re going to grow, we should probably have something tangible like a coaching program to offer people and that’s in the works right now, more to come about that much, much, much later, but I just wasn’t in a place emotionally or mentally or professionally to be coaching anyone around navigating gray areas or anxiety or relationships or anything like that and I think that also created imposter syndrome in me as well, and like Christine Chang said in our interview with her, you know, she had to do some work on herself and I had to do work on myself and I’m continuing to do work on myself but I do feel like I’ve gained a great sense of clarity around my life’s path and I’m looking forward to sharing that with our listeners later this summer as you can kind of see the growth a little bit. And hopefully you do hear that growth as we progress and then I’ll be able to share what this something special and meaningful is that we’re working on so that you can jump on board and reflect, learn, and grow with me. So, okay, anyway, wanted to get that out of the way too. So now back to this relationship right here. So, like I said, felt like I was transitioning from like to love, which is a really tricky area to navigate. So when I got back to Seattle from Oregon, we continued to text each other and stay connected and then, all of a sudden, she ghosted me for about a week and that was very unusual. I was like, “What’s going on here?” And at some point, we’ll get into attachment styles because, like the love languages, the more I learned about attachment styles, the more I learned about myself, and the one thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I have an anxious preoccupied attachment style, which should come as no surprise —
Brian: No, no, that’s right on.
Billy: But, basically, what that means is when you dip below the line, like our friend Tom Cody explains in episode 10, I tend to be needy and insecure at times and I have a constant need for reassurance and I have a fear that romantic partners are going to leave me so that’s what was happening. And when I get into that mindset, I started catastrophizing everything and I was like, okay, like maybe she started seeing someone else and she doesn’t know how to tell me or maybe she got into an accident and is incapacitated right now so I did my best not to inundate her with text messages, because that’s certainly something I have done in the past when these things have happened. And, by the way, if you’re like that, I can tell you that inundating somebody with text messages when they’re not responding to you has never once helped a situation.
Brian: Never ever.
Billy: So it’s never once done anything good and for whatever reason, I still default to that and that’s something that I’m really working on managing within this anxious preoccupied attachment style that I have. And, in fact, I got hit with a real dose of reality from someone who has an avoidant attachment style while I was in Korea which actually led to this moment of clarity that I had while I was over here and that has completely transcended my life path that I am currently on and I’ll discuss that in a much later episode. But, anyway, I gave her a few more days and then finally I was like, “Okay, so what’s going on here? I’m generally worried for your safety and welfare because this isn’t like you to just ghost me for over a week,” and, finally, I heard back from her and basically she said, “Listen, some things have happened in my personal life back home as well as in my professional life. I just need some space.” And if I’m being honest, for me, that’s all I really need is for someone to say, “Hey, I need some space,” because the whole ghosting thing or giving mixed messages is probably the most frustrating thing in the world for me with regards to dating and relationships. I just want really clear communication. That’s what’s best for me. I need to be told directly and once I’m told directly, then I can move on with things. I’m a naturally curious person and I genuinely cared for this woman so I wanted to know what was going on with her in her professional life and her personal life but she didn’t want to share that so I was like, okay, I —
Brian: So then you hired the private detective to figure it out and then — no, continue on, I’m sorry.
Billy: I didn’t go to lengths that time. I thought that that would be a good —
Brian: Good move. No, that was a good move.
Billy: — I’ve grown and matured, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brian: Don’t listen to anything I say. Whatever I say, do the opposite of it. Do the opposite. If I say hire a detective, don’t hire a detective.
Billy: That’s bad. That’s bad. So we didn’t end up talking until I got to Mexico, which was about a week later and then I was like, okay, I need to at least know what’s going on here so that I’m not spinning my wheels and negative thoughts while I’m in Mexico. So we had a good conversation about what was going on with her and, of course, it was none of the things that I imagined was happening —
Brian: Of course.
Billy: You know, it was none of those things that I was catastrophizing. So, we agreed to just give each other a little more space, which, honestly, was super frustrating for me because, again, I was going from this like to love emotion with this woman and I didn’t like feeling like I was in limbo with her. But, you know, I enjoyed my time in Mexico as much as I could without letting my thoughts get in the way. I mean, that situation was always in the back of my mind and like, if I’m being honest, if I had bad days, it would come rushing to the forefront of my mind and frustrate the everlasting shit out of me because I just wanted to either be with her or have her tell me it was over. But I think, at that point, we were both a little unclear about what we wanted. So, when I finally got back to Minnesota at the beginning of March, there were just too many factors that were in the way so we amicably decided to just go our separate ways and, you know, it was a bummer but that actually kind of helped me move forward a bit. Like I said, it was frustrating and there was a sting there but, you know, while we were having that conversation, one thing that came up for me was how much I enjoyed spending my time with her and how complete she made me feel and how I was just happy with whatever time she could spend with me based on her availability. What was interesting was as I was explaining that to her, it dawned on me how selfish that was and I even said that to her and her response was, “You know, listen, if I’m going to spend time with you, I want to be all in and I just can’t do that right now given what’s going on with me professionally and personally,” and I think that highlights both the positives and negatives of selfish behavior that Val Jones talked about in episode 58 because my selfishness was attached to relying on someone else to make me feel whole which, in turn, stressed her out, whereas her selfishness was focused on doing what she had to do to move forward in her professional and personal life and she wasn’t going to be able to do that with my needy ass getting in the way and so we decided to end things. The reason why I’m telling you all this story is because the theme of this season has been how do we gain clarity in our lives and ever since that one-on-one conversation I had with Brian Gallagher from episode 63 where he told me, you know, “Dude, you need to get clarity on what direction you want in your life.” I’ve struggled with that. I’ve struggled with gaining clarity and direction as to where I want my life to go and I think a big piece of that is because I’ve been trying to fill this void of loneliness that I’ve been experiencing not only while traveling solo for the past 10 months but also because my dog passed away in 2020 and I miss her every single day and I haven’t been in what I would call a deeply meaningful relationship since 2019 when I was with someone for five and a half years and we amicably split as well. We’re still best friends but we just are no longer romantically involved. So I’m missing — physical touch and quality time are two of my highest love languages and so there’s that and so it’s a bit frustrating and I feel like I’ve been using social media to fill those voids too much in trying to stay connected with friends who are oftentimes thousands of miles away and doing their own thing. But then when I go to those mediums, I get sucked into doom scrolling and that distracts me from being focused on getting clear with myself or I get lost swiping on dating apps and trying to make connections that way. And I can tell you, if you are someone struggling to get clear on which direction you want your life to go, social media and dating apps will derail —
Brian: Everything. Just get rid of them. Get rid of ’em.
Billy: Yes, yeah, because they’re gonna derail any attempt you are trying to make to gain clarity in your life. When we had Kari Schwear on to talk about gray area drinking and how that impacts our ability to see our future clearly, I thought cutting out alcohol from February until the beginning of June was going to help clear my mind, which it did, but I also need to do more cutting out of social media and dating apps and just really focus on —
Brian: Living, yeah.
Billy: — myself because — yeah, exactly, and experiencing the real life. And I’ve tried to cut that stuff out a little bit more. And it’s interesting, in that time alone, I have gained a lot of clarity around where I want my life to go. So, I look forward to sharing more about my travels to Mexico and Korea with you as well so you can kind of hear these new perspectives I have gained during my time abroad. Maybe these stories will resonate with you, maybe these life lessons that I’m learning and this clarity that I am finding will resonate with you, especially if — I’ve had people reach out and say, “I’m kind of going through my own midlife crisis so found your podcast through Google because I just Googled midlife crisis and yours came up and I’ve been listening to it and a lot of it resonates with me,” so that’s always good to hear, thank you for sharing that. If these stories are resonating with you or if you’re navigating these situations, reach out and I can give you my perspective on things and maybe try and help you navigate some of these complexities and these gray areas that you have —
Brian: Sometimes, it’s just therapeutic to talk —
Billy: I would love to share some insights —
Brian: — you know, just to talk to people. And, Billy —
Brian: — you are a good listener. I can say honestly, guys, if Billy is offering that he will listen, he will definitely listen because he is as genuine a human being as I’ve ever met so — and I wanna tail off on what you were saying before as far as the social media goes, Billy. While you were talking, it occurred to me that none of the greatest moments of my life have taken place when my phone was in my hand. So, anytime I really look forward to those moments, like being onstage, I’m not using a phone. I’m playing music. I’m doing what I wanna do. I’m out camping with my family. My phone is locked away. I don’t even look at it. You know what I mean? We’re spending time learning from each other and having meaningful conversations, you know what I mean? That’s real life.
Billy: And I think for me, a lot of it is just combating loneliness but then it only makes me feel lonelier and it only grays up the areas in my life that much more —
Brian: It’s a distraction, exactly. It’s a distraction, and not what you should be focusing on.
Billy: I feel like we have an episode that we need to cover, we need to find a social media expert to talk about the impact social media has —
Brian: I love this idea.
Billy: People have covered this in the past but I feel like we need to cover it because I just wanna be able to ask them my own questions about it because I know how much social media impacts me because, admittedly, I have an addiction to my phone because I spend so much time —
Brian: I do too.
Billy: — alone and it’s just like, okay, I need to be more present. And I know this is called The Mindful Midlife Crisis and like, “That doesn’t sound like you’re living very mindfully,” and it’s like have you not been listening for five seasons? I am struggling with living mindfully, like this is —
Brian: That’s why it’s called The Mindful Midlife Crisis and not, “Hey, everything’s okay in midlife.”
Billy: There’s a paradox here. There is a paradox in here. We’re trying to live with more awareness, trying to live more mindfully as we navigate —
Brian: People, you are watching Billy navigate this. That’s what this show is, you see?
Billy: This is an evolution of a middle-aged man right here. And that’s the basis of the show is that you get to see our evolution and see how we reflect and learn and grow in hopes that you, in turn, reflect, learn, and grow with these episodes as well. And, Brian, as always, you are a great listener and thank you for your insights. I always appreciate your beacon of reason. So, again, if you wanna reach out to us, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send us a message or give us a follow on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis. We respond to those messages. We love hearing from you. If you’re a listener from overseas, send us a message, let us know, hey, why are you listening? What episodes have you enjoyed? We really appreciate that as well. If you have the time, leave a quick five-star review. That means the world to us as well. Thank you for listening to this episode. Next week, we’ll be talking about my adventures in Puerto Vallarta so if you want to get some tips about how to navigate PV, tune in, have a listen. So, with that, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.
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