In this week’s episode, Billy and Brian are interviewing a returning guest and now a lovely mama, Michelle Pan. She shares with us her experiences of being a first-time mom, as well as the challenges and rewards that she’s accomplished along the way.
Michelle and Billy also walked us through some of the memories they shared when Billy came by, and they had an amazing time catching up in Denver, Colorado.
Michelle shares with us:
--what it's like to be a new mother
--her experiences with post-partum depression
--steps she's taken in order to move into a much healthier mental space
--how she reclaims her energy to do things just for herself
-- what it's like navigating being new parents as well as being in a new relationship
--what to do in Denver
Some previous episodes to revisit:
Episode 14 --Billy and Brian Discuss the Pregnant Momma Brain w/ Michelle Pan
Episode 27 --Unblocking Your Best Self through Energy Work with Energy Mastery
Also check out: www.kristenbrownpresents.com
Episode 58 -- How to Make Being Selfish Work for You with Val Jones
Episode 61 --Question the Drink with Gray Area Expert Kari Schwear
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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 gleaming today Billy.
Billy: Gleaming. That totally reminds me of the movie Gleaming the Cube with Christian Slater. Have you been out skateboarding here recently?
Brian: Yeah, that’s my new career. I’m a professional skateboarder at 48. That would be newsworthy though.
Billy: That would be newsworthy. Oh, man, I hope you have good insurance because something tells me you’re going to break a few bones if you’re —
Brian: You’d be on the frequent flyer program at the clinic for that one. “Hey, got my skateboard out again. Here’s your card punch.”
Billy: Oh my gosh. Did you ever skateboard when you were a kid?
Brian: Oh, most definitely. We did motorcycles. We did skateboarding. Yeah, we had to keep ourselves busy because we were out in the country, man. So we’d build skate ramps and, yeah, lots of biking and, hell, even running.
Billy: That doesn’t surprise me one bit that you were involved with skateboarding and dirt bikes. We rode a lot of four-wheeler on the countryside where I grew up. That was always a good time. You were just out towards your old hometown here recently, you took the schoolie out for a trip.
Brian: Yeah, we took the bus out to Lake Michigan and camped for a week out there on the shores of Lake Michigan. We were about 100 feet from the water and it was really cool. I didn’t have internet so that was awesome.
Billy: I bet, just to be unplugged for a while there, because you were gone for a little over a week, I think.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, and this now being the second week I’m back, I still haven’t fully recovered, but I’m still doing work that I missed that week. But what are you going to do? You got to go.
Billy: Well, it’s a little sad because we were supposed to have our reunification party here today because I’m finally back in Minnesota. You and I haven’t seen each other yet since I’ve been back from my world travels here. So I was a little bummed out because you guys have had a rough spell of luck here at the Chelminiak home, correct?
Brian: Yeah, we got surgery today and got some COVID in the house this weekend, Saturday, my mother-in-law tested positive so we’re just waiting that out. Always something, man.
Billy: Isn’t that the case? Well, it’s good to have you back and just good to see you, even though we got to do it virtually once again. It’s good to have our listeners out there listening to the show. Last week’s episode, we had listeners from Mexico City, Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Shoot me a message if you’re in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, because I don’t know where that is. Laurelton, New Jersey. Something tells me that today’s guest might know where Laurelton, New Jersey, is. We also have our fans in Seongdong, Korea, and Portland, Oregon. By the way, thank you to our devoted listeners in Portland who continue to listen to our show after I trashed it in the first Summer Session. Actually, my friend Sasha messaged me. She loves the Oregon coast and she said, “You absolutely did not do the right things in Portland. You miss some of my favorite places I’ve ever been to in my life,” and then she followed that up with, “Nobody goes to Portland for their downtown, idiot.”
Billy: I hope the people of Portland feel a bit vindicated right there from my good friend’s words. So, she sent me all sorts of pictures of the numerous beautiful waterfall hikes that Portland has to offer so if you’re planning a trip to Portland, let me know and I’ll be sure to direct you to those beautiful parts of the city that I found. It’ll keep you away from downtown. We’ll link my adventures in the Pacific Northwest in the show notes. Thank you to Sasha for setting the record straight and thank you to everybody who continues to support our show. If you want a shout-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 at @mindfulmidlife and we’re on Facebook at The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast. You can find all of this in the 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 a different mindfulness meditation each Sunday along with information about upcoming events hosted by our amazing guests who are always seeking out opportunities to help people reflect, learn, and grow. There’s some other goodies in there as well. Be sure to check that out. We’ll also share updates in our newsletter on where Brian on the Bass will be showcasing his talents. Brian, where will you be playing this August?
Brian: August, mostly the fair.
Billy: Oh, yes, the Great Minnesota get-together, Minnesota’s smorgasbord of fried foods and dairy cows and whatever else, and live music, and you guys are playing at Dino’s Gyros, correct?
Brian: Yeah, on the 26th, so we open up the fair on that Friday night. We’re also playing — we’re traveling down to Austin, I think, on the 20th, and we got Cedar Rapids early in the month and then we’re playing the State Fair again on the last day of the State Fair so we actually open the State Fair at Dino’s and we are the last band at the State Fair at Dino’s.
Billy: Oh, fun, so you get to bookend it. Excellent —
Brian: We’re bookending it, yeah.
Billy: I know I will be at one of those shows, maybe both of those shows. The only reason I go to the state fair is when my friends are playing live music because I don’t particularly enjoy the state fair.
Brian: Really? Why is that? There’s people? Too many people?
Billy: Yeah, there’s just too many people and it’s hot and…I don’t know. The state fair is not my jam. I also grew up on a farm so the state fair was every day at the Lar household so…I don’t know. The state fair is not really my thing but I always go see the bands that you’re playing and then I end up having a good time because I learn how to navigate the food when I’m at the state fair. So, I’ve learned to appreciate it a little bit more as I get older.
Brian: Glad we can help with that.
Billy: Yeah, thank you for keeping me interested in the state fair. I appreciate it. So, for those of you who are in midlife like we are and you love 90s music like Alan Jackson, C+C Music Factory, Backstreet Boys, Gin Blossoms, and Nirvana, then you’re going to want to check out Brian’s band, Gen X Jukebox. It’s a high energy show that will remind you why the 90s produced the greatest music of all time, full stop —
Brian: That is accurate, yeah
Billy: Oh, yes, absolutely. Give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram as well and go get funky with Brian on the Bass and you never know, if I’m in the country, I will most likely be cutting up a rug there as well. Shout-out to our podcast production team over at Podcast Engineers. Thank you to Dave and his team working hard to make us sound professional, which is a lot of work on their end so they’re editing our episodes, writing up show notes, writing up transcripts, making audiograms for us to post on our social media. We’re finally taking this podcast business seriously so thank you, Podcast Engineers, for your support. If you would like to support our show, be sure to follow or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re listening on Apple Podcast, 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. Also, you can 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 episodes. It can be as simple as, “I really enjoyed episode 35 with Tom Cody about Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living.” It can be that simple. 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. But the best way to support our show is to just simply share it with others. Be sure to tag us if you share it on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis. If you use Twitter, tag us at @mindfulmidlife. And if you’re a Facebook user, tag us at The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast. Be sure to follow us on all social media because we’re super cool, you know what I mean? So, Brian, we were supposed to reunite and record at your office like we normally do when I’m in town but since we can’t do that, I’ve actually been blessed with the good fortune to set up shop over here at our dear friend Kristen Brown’s energy studio, namaSync, in Crystal, Minnesota. And fans of the show may remember Kristin from Episode 27 where she talked about unblocking your best self through energy work and, of course, we’ll link that episode in the show notes. Kristen has also completely revamped her website and course offerings so be sure to check that out at www.kristenbrownpresents.com which we will link in the show notes as well. Be sure to check out her website. I was talking to her today here at the studio where she is and she just got some amazing feedback from a speaker agency bureau who told her that her website is one of the best speaker websites he has ever seen. So, go there, check it out in case energy healing is your thing.
Brian: Plus, Kristen Brown is just cool. I mean, she’s cool. Let’s face it, she’s cool. She’s really awesome.
Billy: Yes, yes. We love Kristen Brown, is a huge fan of ours and we are a huge fan of her so we greatly appreciate it. It’s actually rather fitting that I’m here at her energy studio because, ever since I got back from Korea, I’ve made it a point to spend my time with people whose energy fills my heart and soul with happiness and who add value to my self-worth. So I’m a little bummed that we didn’t get to see each other today because you know how much I enjoy being in any room with you, whether we’re recording an episode or you’re on stage getting funky and I’m doing my thing on the dance floor which is entertaining for everybody.
Brian: Really ups of the production value of the show, I got to tell you. It really does.
Billy: But the good news is that we have a very special return guest whose energy always shines brightly and she is, without a doubt, our number one fan and hype woman. You may remember her from Episode 14 where she talked about the Pregnant Momma Brain and you can find that episode linked in the show notes, along with all the other things we’re linking in the show notes. Today, she’s here because when I was in Denver, I got to spend some quality time with her and several other friends of mine who I haven’t seen in ages and my time in Denver was yet another example of how your network equals your net worth because the time I spent in Denver reminded me that it truly doesn’t matter how much time passes when you have quality friends, and our guest today is of the highest quality, no pun intended, because she is in Denver. So, welcome to the show, Michelle Pan.
Billy: How are you, boo?
Michelle: I’m good. Thank you, thank you for having me. I’m so grateful to be here.
Billy: Absolutely. The last time we talked to you, you were in I think your second trimester of pregnancy. And, since then, you have given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Liv Grace. We’ll give you a hand for that. Congratulations.
Michelle: Thank you, thank you. Yes. Yeah, she’s my everything. I’m so grateful for her too.
Billy: And in that episode, you shared an emotional story about not being sure if you’d ever be a mom and now here you are so let’s just start this off with an extremely broad question here. Tell us about your experiences as a new mother?
Michelle: Broad and bloated, my friend. Well, you’re catching me at a good time because now, thankfully and gratefully, I am, since becoming a new mom, ready to go, go, go with this question. So, yeah, it’s been really great. So, yeah, being a new mom has been really rewarding and also really challenging. To see her smile, I could not have made up in my dreams how much her personality reflects that innate joy from the inside out. It’s also, again, like I said, been the hardest. First couple of months, you’re not sleeping. Brian knows this.
Brian: Oh, yeah.
Michelle: Yeah. You’re up every two hours feeding them. You’re just trying to make them survive. So you’re not sleeping very much. But it is really cool how the women’s body isn’t just how strong we are that we have that energy to keep going even if we don’t have the energy. But, yeah, so it’s been really great. She’s now 10 months and her personality, like I said, she’s shining. She’s just like so social. She loves being out like her momma. She loves smiling at people and just, yeah, loves being out.
Brian: I wasn’t ready for the intensity of feeling, like the depth of feeling you feel when you’re looking at your newborn, like, oh my gosh, that was a new level for me so I can definitely relate.
Michelle: There are no words. It is definitely a feeling.
Brian: Right? And a lot stronger than I’ve ever personally experienced. It’s incredible, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and scary and fun. Everything in there. I hope that you — wait ’til you get to toddler stage, that’s when it gets fun. Because you can interact with them and — baby stage is cool, that’s a lot of fun, but the hard work really starts when they get legs.
Michelle: I know. She’s actually starting to — she’s already starting to almost close to walking so I was just trying to chase after her —
Brian: Oh, so she’s a quick start.
Michelle: Oh, yeah. She’s already using the little walker. She’s already taken like two, three steps but then she’ll plop down and crawl but she’s almost there. She’ll be there soon. I can’t imagine, just because even just with her crawling, she literally goes from point A to point B, I look away or down for one second and she’s already like, I don’t even know, across the room, getting herself into some kind of trouble.
Brian: Oh, yeah. That’s when it gets advantageous to have a space on lockdown because then you can not worry a little bit.
Michelle: That’s what we did. We actually just put up — we have like the gates up and then we’ve corner proofed every single corner there possibly is known to man, covered all the electric plugs, everything, and she somehow still always gets into something.
Brian: Of course.
Billy: Brian, what were the big changes from child one to having child two and then child three was a little bit more spaced out. So, maybe talk about what was the challenges or what were some of the things that you noticed, what was easier between child one and child two?
Brian: I don’t know if that’s a fair question because Mason’s been an adult since he was two.
Billy: In what way? What do you mean by that?
Brian: I mean, the kid, you could always hold a conversation with him as if he were an adult, even when he was four. Still, to this day, at camp, they’re like, “Why aren’t you a counselor by now?” He’s like, “Well, I’m only 11.” But he’s very advanced so I don’t know if that — but, anyway, number one was super easy. Number two, we did have some sleeping problems. And then, number three, you go to zone defense because we’re outnumbered now. Right
Billy: Right, and he himself, my understanding, is wild, that he is like the typical youngest child.
Brian: It would take two — just two parents alone would be a lot with him but now we at least can recruit the older brothers to help us so it’s fair.
Billy: Mish, you had some help initially when you first had Liv, correct? Your partner’s family was out there for a while. How did that go?
Michelle: Oh, it was awesome. So, my mom came the day that I got back home from the hospital, then Jeremy’s family came two weeks after so we purposely had our family overlap so everyone can meet each other because up until that point, they hadn’t met yet, which I’m sure you will ask me about that later.
Billy: That sounds like a few good stories.
Michelle: It’s all good, I promise. But, yeah, no, having help was so amazing. At first, I was a little apprehensive because I’m like, “Oh, man, I’m gonna be tired,” you just don’t know what you’re dealing with because ignorance is bliss and, at the same time, you can’t help sometimes but think about what you’re getting yourself into with having all these people around when you’re going through the postpartum part, which was the part that I was a little nervous about. However, no, it was awesome. I mean, being up every two hours, again, like I’d mentioned, and then having my mom here, like the food, I didn’t have to think so much about a lot of the things that I probably would be thinking about more. They really helped me so that all I needed to do was focus on the baby and that was a really great.
Billy: So when they left, what was that transition like for you where it was like, “Okay, now it’s me and Jeremy with this child”?
Michelle: Oh, man, they say that women tend to forget about these times so that we’ll have more children but when I think back to that time, Jeremy’s parents and my parents had left, it had been about a month and a half and I definitely felt like I had a good hold on things at that point as far as taking care of Liv.
Billy: You mentioned postpartum and you and I have chatted, even when I was out in Denver, you talked about postpartum. We want to ask you to be a little vulnerable here, do you want to talk about some of that?
Michelle: Yeah. So part of the postpartum process that I didn’t expect to hit me so hard was the postpartum depression that I had heard so much about. I’ve definitely gone through my fair share of depression and mental health struggles. This time, it was different because I was a full-time operating mom and I needed to make sure that I was showing up for the baby. And so, for a while there, I had a lot of guilt going on so even though I was doing all of the things and I was making sure I was taking care of her, I also had other things that I didn’t know how to balance, which was my relationship with my partner, my dog, the chores, like everything that had to happen, and then on top of that, the number one thing I would say is my identity. So, now, I went this excitement and this happiness to feeling like “Who am I outside of being Liv’s mom right now?” and there was just this constant back and forth conversation in my head about “Who am I? Am I doing enough? Is it always gonna be like this?” and just struggling really hard to really dive deep to knowing who I am again.
Billy: I mean, when you moved out to Denver and then this happened really quickly, even in the midst of it, you were preparing for your body work, exams and stuff like that, so you were kind of looking forward to that and when you and I talked, you had mentioned that you weren’t sure when you were going to be in a space to move forward with that and we talked about sort of that “What is my identity outside of being Liv’s mom?” so what was some of the work that you had to do in order to move into this space where, you and I have talked and you said that you’re just in a much healthier mental space?
Michelle: I think that I have this quote on my forearm that says the only way out is through and, honestly, it was like I just had to go through it, had to give myself some time and even in the time that I was giving myself time, I really wasn’t. I was in analysis paralysis. I was having a hard time just thinking about the possibilities of what could happen and be. So, a lot of it is just time and being able to go through it. And, for me, it started happening when I started taking pressure off of myself of who I need to be outside of where I am right now. So, I’m saying in the moment, it is so uncomfortable but it’s also how I learned to become more resilient when we allow ourselves to feel what it is we’re going through. And, at the same time, if we could all feel our way through right away, it would be great and that’s not the way it works all the time. So, now that I have lived through 10 months of postpartum, I’m finally in a place where I’m starting to see who I am again outside of being a mom and even though for a while it consumed my identity, because whenever I would start to think about it, I would go into analysis paralysis, it just slowly started for me to regain my identity when I started finding myself out and about again, so whether it was at the nail salon or if it was at the dog park or making plans with friends, little by little, like every conversation, like when you came to visit Denver, every little conversation has helped me re-identify with that. I started making connections with people and just talking to them about what it was that they were feeling mentally and physically and then people would start asking me, “Are you working again? Are you offering services?” and so I slowly started booking people and now it’s like when Liv goes down for the night, I can take clients so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Billy: Oh, excellent, excellent. I know that when we talked that you were really navigating that space so it warms my heart to know that you’re in a spot where you’re like, “Okay, I can let go of some of this mommy guilt of not being with her all the time and I can get back to doing some of the things that I used to do,” or doing some of the things that you were working towards, because you have every certification when it comes to body work than any human being could have, like you’re a certified personal trainer, you’re a licensed massage therapist, you’re like Reiki, I believe. You’ve done so much prep work to get to where you wanted to be and then you had to shelf it and now, here you are in a space where you’re like, “Okay, now that I’ve gone through this, I’m able to get back to being more of who I am.”
Michelle: You know, it’s like energy. You’re talking about your friend, who, by the way, namaSync is the coolest name ever, I love that, definitely can’t wait to check that episode out. Episode number 27?
Michelle: Yes, I wrote it down but —
Brian: I had no idea, Michelle, so thank you. You’re way smarter than me. No clue.
Billy: Brian doesn’t even listen to the show after it’s done.
Brian: I’ve never listened to one show that we’ve done. Not one time. I’m sorry, where do you guys find the time to do this stuff?
Billy: You are the busiest man in rock and roll so it’s totally understandable.
Brian: Like I’m usually in meetings when I’m driving, you know what I mean? I’m the guy that’s got his phone there’s and he’s like, “No, everything’s fine. What do you mean the background’s coming?”
Michelle: Meanwhile, the person that pulls up next to is like, “Who is this crazy guy talking to himself?”
Brian: Right, yeah, that’s me. That’s me.
Michelle: But, yeah, no, I was saying like the energy, just being able to work on people again and just being able to hold space, it really brought back a lot for me and that was really it. It was intuitive and it was authentic and it was just organic.
Billy: But you bring up a good point in general. In your life, there’s a few big things I would say that happen and after those big things happen, how you find yourself in this new place, it can be challenging. So, I mean, I think that’s a lot of why people struggle sometimes is because maybe you found yourself but then your life changes around you and you have to find your new place in your life, you know what I mean? So it’s never, “Okay, I got here, I’m done,” you know what I mean? It’s like you’re constantly evolving through these things.
Michelle: Yeah. I forget what that quote is, it’s like change is the only thing that’s constant. I think that’s —
Billy: Yeah, exactly. Well, another thing that you and I talked about is like you get a lot of energy from giving your energy to others and one thing that we talked about is like, okay, but what are you doing for just you? And I feel like it goes back to when we talked to Val Jones, I think that’s like Episode 58 where she talked about it’s okay to be selfish and you being one of the most selfless people that I know, who gives your energy, how are you reclaiming your energy so that you are able to be selfish, in a sense, where you can keep some of your energy, where you’re doing things just for you, you’re not providing care for Liv, you’re not doing body work for someone else, you’re not being a loving and affectionate partner, what are some things that you’re doing just for you? Because I think that’s something that people who are constant givers, they don’t allow themselves to receive.
Michelle: To be honest, I’m still working on that, probably part of the identity crisis I went through because I was so used to giving all my energy to everyone and everything and now, at this point, I couldn’t. I would be like two weeks behind getting back to somebody who asked me a question or just checked in on me. I was getting a ton of gifts in the mail from people, I was just receiving so much love and so uncomfortable because, at the time, yeah, I’m such a giver and to receive, though, is also a big part of being able to counter — not counter but being able to, I think, give without draining yourself. I would have to say that that process has actually helped me. What I’ve been doing for myself? I mean, it’s really little things, going to go get my nails done, that’s like something that I’ve been doing. I’ve been able to take a yoga class once a week in a studio and I just try to figure out how to do both and. So if I’m walking my dog and have Liv with me, I’ll listen to a podcast. I’ll listen to The Mindful Midlife Crisis Podcast and I will feel nourished from hearing someone’s story and that in itself is the way that I think I’ve always been able to naturally receive is really honestly being able to see my story in someone else’s story and I get to just listen. I’m part of the conversation but I get to be like a fly on the wall and that’s really, really nice.
Billy: Well, we greatly appreciate that —
Michelle: Everyone listen to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: We greatly appreciate how much you hype us up. Mish will send me text messages, I should send them to you too, Brian, so that you can feel this love too but they really are wonderful, affirming text messages and it’s just who Mish is. And for people who don’t know, this pregnancy happened very early in your relationship with your partner, Jeremy, and can you talk about what it’s been like navigating both the early stages of being in a relationship as well as being new parents?
Michelle: So Jeremy and I met a month after I moved to Denver and it was like the holidays were all rolling in, it was Thanksgiving, it was Christmas, it was New Year’s, and so we naturally — it was COVID too so we were spending a lot of those intimate holidays together and seven weeks later into dating, we got pregnant.
Billy: You washed a lot of your laundry together, because that’s how that happens.
Michelle: Oh, yeah. Also, though, like my mom likes to take credit, but my roommate, I had a roommate that I was living with at the time, and she went away for Thanksgiving to Boston and my mom was like, “Hey, I know your roommate went to Boston. Can you just quarantine a couple of days before you see her because you just never know?” and, at the time, I was like Jeremy is the closest thing I can to quarantine, I’ve been hanging out with him, so, yeah, I hung out with him for a couple of days when she got back and then she ended up getting COVID so I ended up —
Billy: You ended up getting pregnant.
Michelle: Yeah —
Brian: Wow. That seems like a good trade though. I don’t know.
Billy: Oh, wow.
Michelle: So my mom likes to take credit for that. My mom likes to take credit, now that everything’s all good. At first, she was like. “What the…?”
Billy: So then, like what was it like when you two found out? How have you been navigating relationships since? What’s it been like being new parents as you’re in this new relationship?
Michelle: So when I found out, funny story, I was on my way back actually to my home at the time and I hadn’t seen my roommate in like, at that point, two and a half weeks, and I stopped by to get a bottle of wine for us to share and then I also got a pregnancy test because I was like, I don’t know, my period was a little off, so I — but I didn’t actually think I was pregnant, to be honest with you, so I came home clearly thinking everything was going to be fine and then, yeah, I took the test and then came out positive and then I’m like, “Oh, damn.” Honestly, I was in shock. My friend who I was living with, she has a son, so she was like, “Okay, here’s the things you need to do.” She like, “First of all, we need to go get you these — we gotta go to Walgreens, we gotta go XYZ.” At first, I was like I’ll just wait to tell Jeremy. I mean, I didn’t even know — I couldn’t even form words at that point, but I just couldn’t wait. Yeah. At the same time, I was like excited. I know that sounds crazy.
Brian: I don’t think that sounds crazy at all. I mean, it’s something you’ve wanted to do throughout your life and you’re like, “I’ll get to it someday,” because it was the same thing with Ben, we didn’t plan on having Ben, but when it happened, I felt the same way you did. I was actually — this is a true story. I was seated on the toilet when I received the text, “We’re pregnant. We’re fucking pregnant,” is what it said and so I was lucky I was seated where I was, because I was a little surprised myself.
Michelle: And then you drop the kids off.
Brian: Yeah. But, yeah, I can relate much — and that’s the third one, much less your first one out of the blue, I imagine that was that much more of a shock. But, again, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. Am I on target there? Was it always something you’ve wanted to do?
Michelle: Yeah, no, it’s always been something I’ve wanted. And also, at the time, I was a little shocked because I’ve had so many friends who’ve gone through so many like treatments to get pregnant in the course of trying and I’m 39, I was 39 at the time, so, for me, like, yeah, I was just wow. But I called Jeremy that day, by the way. I couldn’t wait. He went skiing, he was laying on the couch and I FaceTimed him and I was like, “Hey, I don’t —” I’ve never told anyone that I was pregnant before so I was just like —
Brian: And you don’t know this guy that well.
Michelle: No, I don’t. I had no idea how he’s going to react. And I just like blurt out, “Oh, I don’t expect you to take care of this, like I’ll do it all myself if I have to,” and I was like, “If you don’t wanna be part of it,” and he’s like, “What the fuck are you talking about?” and I’m like, “I’m pregnant,” and he goes, “Okay, you wanna come over for dinner tomorrow?”
Billy: It’s so funny because I just met Jeremy a couple times when I was Denver and that is the most Jeremy answer based on just my small interactions with him, just like, “Okay, yeah, wanna come over dinner? We’ll talk about this.”
Michelle: Yeah, he’s like, “All right.” And that’s been the — I mean, that’s pretty much been the pattern — I don’t want to say pattern but like the energy of our relationship. I’m like la, la, la and he’s just like, “All right, cool. Yeah. Okay.”
Brian: That sounds like you complement each other very well.
Michelle: We do, we do. We complement each other really well. I know that I believe in my heart is a bright side. This was always meant to happen and yeah, I mean, two years, almost two years later and 10 months with our baby and it’s been out of this world, in my dreams, like man of my dreams. So I’m really, really blessed. Yeah.
Billy: You’re in Denver now and your family and his family are on the East Coast, I think they’re in Jersey, so it sounds like the two of you are eyeing up moving in that direction, correct?
Michelle: Yeah. So we’re looking, we’re going back this weekend, we’re going back to his family’s place first, which is in upstate New York by Saratoga Springs so we’re going to go check out some properties out there and then, after that, I’ll be heading to New Jersey to be with my family for a couple of weeks. But, for the most part, we’re looking in the East Coast, in the New York area, at the greater New York area. Excited. I mean, I’ve never thought I’d be going back east. I thought I’ll always be an LA girl forever.
Billy: It’s funny how things happen like that. It’s just full circle.
Michelle: I was California dreaming for a hot minute.
Brian: Nobody’s from LA or Las Vegas, everybody just shows up there. That’s the way it seems to me, like if you go to Las Vegas or LA and you’re like, “Where are you from?” “Oh, I’m from Texas.”
Michelle: Absolutely, and when you meet a native, you know too.
Brian: Oh, yeah. Oh, yes.
Michelle: So it’s very obvious the differences.
Brian: No doubt. No doubt.
Billy: Let’s do this. Let’s take a quick break and then when we come back, we are going to continue talking to Michelle about what else she has coming up and some of the fun things that you can do and some of the fun things I did when I was in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with our dear friend, Michelle Pan. She is telling us about what it’s like to be a new mother and we are also here talking about my trip to Denver because I got to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people and Michelle is absolutely one of my favorite people. I guess the theme of this episode, just like some of our other episodes, is the power of meaningful relationships. And, Mish, you are a diehard supporter of our show and, each week, you fill our love buckets up with words of affirmation about how much you enjoy each episode and you share your favorite episodes on your Instagram and we greatly appreciate that because every time you do, we suddenly get new followers and new downloads. And, recently, you connected with one of our past guests, Episode 61, Kari Schwear, about Question the Drink and, of course, we’ll link that episode in the show notes because you should listen to it, and the two of you just clicked and now you have some exciting news to share.
Michelle: Yes. I actually work with her now.
Brian: Wow, good for you.
Brian: Good choice. She seemed awesome too.
Michelle: Oh, she’s amazing. She is amazing. She’s a firecracker.
Brian: She really is.
Michelle: Yeah, she really is. So full energy, like the way the Porsche, she is a Porsche.
Brian: I liked that episode. You can tell, I liked that episode. That was fun.
Michelle: Yeah. You know she’s a Porsche.
Billy: So what are you doing with her? What are you — What role are you fulfilling for Kari?
Michelle: So I am a business support role for her so I get to help her on the backend with a lot of just the connections and also be a right hand person for her as far as helping her do some research and, yeah, just navigate some platforms, partnerships, so it’s been really, really wild and eye opening to work with her, even just in these last few weeks.
Billy: And you’re just dipping your toe now back into the workforce so how is that feeling as you dip your toe back into the workforce?
Michelle: It feels really good. I mean, I feel like I’m using parts of my brain that I just haven’t. I’m exercising parts of my brain that I haven’t had to in a while and it feels empowering and I feel like it’s helping me also feel like that, again, nourishing that identity that I felt like I was questioning a lot of and being with someone like her, yeah, she knows her identity, that’s for sure.
Billy: So, how does Kari then nourish that for you? What is it about her that makes the two of you such a good fit?
Michelle: So, Kari really knows who she wants to help. She knows the audience that she wants to help. She’s really passionate about helping people in the gray area, which is a big part of what I saw in myself when I heard the episode being in the gray area of motherhood, being in the gray area of entrepreneurship, being in the gray area of all kinds of things. So the language she uses and she’s constantly speaking is so empowering. It’s like a mantra, it’s like an affirmation every time I get to talk to her. I feel like my energy level has gone up tenfold every single time I get off a call with her. So it’s just really cool to be supporting someone who comes from that space as a coach because I’m a coach too and so I feel like I’m being coached in some ways by a mentor while also getting to work with her, for her, through her, and with her.
Brian: Wow. I need some coaching here. Would you help me? And that would be I’m going to Denver in a month and you’re in Denver so what should I do in Denver? And, Billy, you’ve been to Denver. What should I do, guys?
Michelle: Billy would know more than me because y’all just heard that I got pregnant seven weeks after I moved here.
Billy: So if you want, Brian, you can get pregnant in Denver. There’s that.
Brian: Oh, let’s see, I think I’ll avoid that.
Brian: Thank you.
Billy: Yeah —
Brian: Thank you for the recommendation.
Billy: You can get high in Denver, in multiple ways. You can get high in the mountains, you can get high —
Brian: That’s okay, I would do that. I would go into the mountains, no problem. I would hike.
Billy: Yeah, that’s what I did mostly when I was in Denver area. I went to Castlewood and went hiking around there. That was actually pretty cool because there is this gorge that goes through Castlewood Canyon and you could drive through that or you could ride your bike through that but, you know me, I immediately went off trail and found myself in a private property where you weren’t supposed to walk around, but I’m like, “It’s the mountains. No one’s looking for me out here,” which then —
Brian: When does that summons come due, anyway, Billy?
Billy: But then it gets scary when you’re walking into the mountains and you haven’t seen any human being for literally hours. I didn’t see another human being for four hours. So I actually posted something on my Instagram Story, it’s like, “Okay, if you do not hear from me by 6 PM, then this is where I was last seen so maybe send somebody out here to look for me,” so then —
Michelle: Okay, well, look, you’re already winning. You’re winning there because you have reception to do that.
Billy: Well, that is true. That is true. I wasn’t far enough away from civilization where I couldn’t do something like that but, yeah, I hadn’t seen anybody for hours so I was like, okay, but Castlewood Canyon is pretty cool. And then the Flatirons are also another place where I went hiking. I think that’s closer to Boulder. So I went up to the Flatirons and that was really cool too. I enjoyed that. And it’s such a unique rock structure. I don’t know if you’ve been to Jay Cooke State Park, Brian, but when you take a look —
Brian: I haven’t.
Billy: Okay, so when you take a look at the rock formations, they look like flat irons. They’re just slanted rocks and they look —
Brian: Let me explain something to you, Billy. Every time I was in Denver, I was drinking. So where do you think I was in Denver? What do you think I’ve seen in Denver?
Michelle: All the breweries.
Brian: Do you know how many times I’ve seen the Coors Brewery, you guys? It’s like 40. And I’ve seen nothing else in Denver.
Michelle: Well, have you gone to Red Rocks?
Michelle: Oh, you got to go to Red Rocks, you being a musician, especially.
Brian: Most of the time when I was out there, we were playing though. We go up into Breck and we play in Denver and then we go down to Colorado Springs and Boulder’s up or is Boulder south? I don’t remember. I know Springs is south.
Billy: Yeah, Boulder is north and, actually, Castlewood Canyon is like almost in between Denver and Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods, like you’re going to have to rent a car if you’re in Denver, that’s the one thing I didn’t like about Denver is that you really do need a car.
Billy: But Garden of the Gods is about an hour or more south of Denver. It’s near Colorado Springs. I didn’t make it there this time but I have friends who have been there and it’s a very, very popular hike. So I don’t know how much time you’re going to have to gallivant around. I will say that two really cool areas are LoDo, which is just Lower Downtown, I liked that area, and then they call it RiNo, which is River North Art District, that’s a cool area too. I like those spots. Denver, Downtown Denver is pretty walkable so you’ll have a good time just walking around down there, Brian. Did you figure out where you’re staying?
Brian: The Colorado Convention Center is where the show is and it’s actually in October.
Billy: Are you renting a car while you’re there?
Brian: I usually don’t. I usually try to stay close enough that I don’t so I can save the expense for the company but sometimes I do.
Billy: If you do rent a car, I agree with Mish that you should go out to Red Rocks because, without a doubt, that is one of the best places. I saw 311 out there back in 2007. It was absolutely amazing. Red Rocks is far and away. It’s right up there with the Gorge Amphitheatre which is interesting enough because I mentioned my buddy Rakala, I hadn’t seen Rakala, who lives in Denver, I haven’t seen Rakala since he and I went to the Pearl Jam show at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington in 2006 and we just saw each other and started right up just having fun and having conversations and catching up and I was able to do that with my friend, Dan, who I literally haven’t seen for 20 years. I haven’t seen him since I lived in Rochester and he lived in Rochester. And I saw my friend Ross who I haven’t seen since 2016. And I saw my wonderful friend, Latoya, who makes me laugh harder than anyone else I know. So it was just fun to see everybody again that I haven’t seen in a long time. Like, Mish, I haven’t seen you in person, I haven’t been able to give you a hug since 2019 December —
Michelle: Yeah, when you came out to LA.
Billy: Yeah, when I was out in LA that one time and it was really nice to finally meet Jeremy after hearing so much about him and it was awesome, of course, to see Liv and just see how beautiful she is and just how much she takes after you with her personality and I met a couple of your friends and it was really, really inviting to be invited to your home.
Michelle: Yeah, that was really special and I was really, really, really grateful for the time we got to spend together, because like you got to come over and have dinner and then the next day, we got to go to Red Rocks and do that little hike, which I think, Brian, you’ve always come to Denver and you’ve just been in bars and stuff like that —
Brian: Pretty much.
Michelle: — you’ll like the Red Rocks because there’s a good little hike there called the Trading Post Trail.
Brian: Oh, nice.
Michelle: And then right after the — yeah, it’s like one and a half miles, like a loop, and then after you’re done with that, you can walk up to the amphitheater, which is what Billy and I did. Billy got his signature air shot on stage.
Billy: My little jump picture that I do. I got to take it from on stage. So you can be on stage at the Red Rocks just after you’re on stage at what you called the Red Rocks of Minnesota, Champps in Eden Prairie. So you can compare the two —
Brian: That’s true, wow. I really could. Actually, I looked at the dates for when I’m going, Louis The Child and RÜFÜS DU SOL are the two acts —
Michelle: Oh, RÜFÜS DU SOL. Oh my gosh, I love Rüfüs. If you want to go see — I’ll want to be there.
Brian: I don’t know who either of those are so if I’m missing something with Rüfüs, maybe I’ll listen and see what’s up.
Brian: What kind of music is it?
Michelle: It’s like electric tech, but it’s not untz, untz, untz, it’s like more progressive, like house groove.
Brian: Like groovy, okay. Yeah, I could get into that. I’ll take a listen. I’ll see what’s up. I’ll see what’s up. And the Colorado Convention Center is downtown, by the way. I just looked also. So I’ll be right downtown. That’s not too far from Red Rocks? That’s just over on the west side, I’ll bet it’s, what? 5, 10 miles?
Michelle: 15, 20 minutes.
Billy: There you go. There you go. Mish can pick you up and you guys can head on down. You don’t even need to rent a car then. You can meet baby Liv —
Michelle: I’ll be your tour guide.
Brian: There you go. When I get my itinerary, I’ll let you know.
Michelle: Yeah, we can explore together because I could finally also get to know Denver as well.
Brian: Yeah, right.
Michelle: I swear, no, that’s the way that I get to know Denver. Every single time someone comes to visit, that’s how I find out more about Denver —
Brian: You take them somewhere and —
Michelle: I take them somewhere. They do the research, they tell me about it, and I’m like, “Let’s go.” Meow Wolf is actually a good one. Meow Wolf? I know Billy didn’t go but I’m sure you would enjoy it. It’s this huge, four-floor art installation. It’s insane.
Brian: Oh, cool.
Michelle: You feel like you’re like in Tron and then you feel like you’re in like Hobbit world. I mean, there’s so many — it’s crazy.
Brian: That sounds awesome.
Billy: You got to find the Big Blue Bear at the 16th Street Mall too. Go ahead and look for that. I did go to a Colorado Rockies game and I did take a tour of the Denver Broncos stadium so that was cool too. I don’t know what you’ll have time for. But, yeah, try and find the Big Blue Bear on the 16th Street Mall.
Brian: I’ll see. I don’t know if I’ll have much time because, typically, the way it goes, you go to the show during the day and then, at night, I’m trying to catch up on my emails and then we have a dinner or I got to go visit somebody or do a meeting and then we end up going to a party. That’s usually what happens. But I don’t know, sometimes I get lucky.
Billy: And I think the big thing that I did when I was out there was I just went hiking, like that was my big priority. And I actually made a new friend, her name is Enton, she was visiting Denver from Indonesia, and I like meeting these people from all around the world because, she said, “You know, if you’re gonna be spending all this time in Asia, you might as well just head on down to Indonesia and we can go to Bali together and I’ll show you all the non-touristy areas so you don’t have to fight all the Instagram Yogis that go there,” and I’m like that’s what I’m talking about —
Michelle: That’s the way to do it.
Brian: There you go, you got the inside track.
Billy: Exactly, exactly. And I’m like, yeah, that sounds awesome. So I’m working out those details for the winter going to Bali and going to Cambodia and going to Vietnam, going to Thailand, like that’s the direction that I’m heading and I’ll talk about that later on in the Summer Sessions why that’s the direction I’m heading, but all I know is I don’t want to spend another winter in Minnesota because I have the entire year —
Brian: Oh, Billy, take me with you. Take me. I hate this hellhole!
Billy: I had the entire winter to be anywhere but Minnesota and I spent six weeks of winter in Minnesota and then I spent March in Minnesota, like I completely fucked that up what I was planning and my trip this time and I am not going to do that this next time around, that is for sure.
Brian: It’s like when you step outside in the winter, winter just punches you in the face every time. You’re like, “Grr, winter.” It’s just like that.
Brian: Tired of stupid winter. But it’s gorgeous right now. I mean, beautiful right now. I got no complaints right now.
Billy: Well, Mish, it’s been wonderful catching up with you. You’re such a beautiful soul, you’re such a bright ray of light. We absolutely love talking to you. I love that you and I still connect. I feel like I talk to you almost more than anybody on the daily basis because when you send text messages, you send like 75 of them in a row so then I have to piece through —
Michelle: I text how I talk, okay?
Billy: And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Michelle: Isn’t it overwhelming to get one text and it’s like a freaking like so long versus like ding, ding, ding.
Billy: That that was fitting right there that you were getting a message from somebody as you were telling us about that because now I know that you’re going to reply with, “Hi,” send, “How are you doing?” send, “What’s going on?” send, “I’ll be right with you,” send.
Michelle: Okay, that’s a little exaggerated.
Billy: I don’t know that that’s exaggerated. I think we have mutual friends that would confirm that that’s pretty much how it goes. But you know what —
Michelle: Comes with the package.
Billy: — I wouldn’t change it for the world because I love everything about you. Thank you so much for being on the show today. Thank you so much for sharing our episodes. Thank you for all the energy you send us. We really, really appreciate it. I can’t wait to see your face again soon.
Michelle: Yeah. Everything y’all do, every person you interview, all the energy you bring into this space is healing and helping people feel seen and be seen and heard and I could go on forever and you know I’m your biggest hot girl forever.
Billy: We appreciate it. Thank you so much. So, for Michelle, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.
Brian: I’m sorry, you guys, if I looked startled at the beginning of your speech, there’s a giant spider outside of my window. It’s about that big and something flew into its web and it was in the process —
Michelle: Oh, my God.
Brian: — of turning it — yeah —
Michelle: You just got like the National Geographic right in front of you.
Brian: So I’m like two feet away from this thing watching this giant spider devour this thing and I’m like — it’s right on, I mean, it’s crazy.
Michelle: I was like what is he looking at?
Brian: Right there, outside.
Michelle: Oh, my God.
Billy: So, whoever’s editing this, will you take that whole clip and add it to the end of the music right before the — yeah, edit this whole thing into the end of the show after the ending music and right before the credits. We need to include that because that’s funny.
Brian: That was incredible though. I mean, when do you get to sit there like front row and basically watch him in front of you dismantle this thing? It was like…
Michelle: Oh, my God. That’s why you’re like sitting there like…
Brian: I know. I’m like, oh, my God, something landed in — oh, he’s eating it. Oh, no. Yeah, ’cause I see the spider book over. Yeah, anyway, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt, guys. Sorry, Mish.
Michelle: No, all good.
Brian: Let’s continue. I just wanted to explain to you guys why I’m over here like…
Michelle: Seriously, I was trying to talk —
Billy: It wasn’t judgment —
Brian: It was not judgment. It wasn’t, I swear. I love everything I’ve heard. I’m like that’s horrifying. We’re supposed to be supportive here.