In today's episode, Billy and Brian reflect on the amazing insights shared by our Season 3 guests with their best good pal, the always entertaining Matt Hazard! The guys:
--discuss why Matt Hazard found this season to be "pretty, pretty woo woo" at times
--try to make sense of why those messages landed differently when it came from a different person
--reflect on how those messages landing differently ties into bias
--process their own privilege as straight, white, American males
--get emotional talking about lost loved ones
We made it another season, and we've got more to come!
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Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life second half. 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. 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 am surprisingly impressive or notable today, otherwise known as astounding.
Billy: Wow. That’s a lot going on over there. Why you feeling so astounded?
Brian: You know, I radiate sunshine really is what it is.
Billy: You often do. Yes, you often do and it’s one of your finer qualities. We made it all the way through Season 3. How are you feeling about that, Brian?
Brian: Accomplished, actually. It’s quite impressive seeing the downloads just rack up and thank you, listeners, everybody who’s downloading and listening and getting something out of the podcast, we appreciate you so very much. And I know Billy, I’m speaking for Billy too but we thank you very much.
Billy: Yeah, absolutely. We just surpassed 7,500 downloads and it’s feeling really great that so many people are getting something out of each and every single episode. We hope that you’re listening to every episode and you don’t have to listen to every episode, maybe not every episode —
Brian: No, you do. You got to listen to every episode. Every single one.
Billy: Every minute of them all the way through to the last ukulele bend at the very, very end, I want you to soak it all up because this show, it is in the top 25 percent of all podcasts because we have so many downloads. We’re actually doing really, really well in comparison to the many, many podcasts that are out there. So we want to thank you for choosing us to be your podcast of choice on Wednesdays or whatever it is that you download and listen to our podcast. And when we have guests who are as fantastic as the ones that we had during Season 3, it makes sense for you to spend some time with our podcast. Today’s guest, you know, whatever. Oh, you know we love him. It’s the Season 3 recap and we always have our good friend, always entertaining, proud husband, father of two incredible children, 1997 Champlin Park High School Talent Show Runner-Up, 1998 Brooklyn Park Tater Daze Battle of the Bands Champion —
Billy: — Carnegie Hall and Sony Building and jazz club, Dakota Jazz Club and varsity theater singer at one time, two-time half-marathoner, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate computer technician, and, as always, solid gold dancer, the always entertaining —
Brian: Hell of a beard wearer too.
Billy: Hell of a beard wearer.
Brian: Hell of a beard wearer.
Billy: Matt Hazard, thank you so much for joining us once again. Did you feel like you needed to add all of those things in there based on the list of accomplishments of Seasons 3’s guests?
Matt: Where the fuck is my clapping?
Billy: Here you go.
Matt: You clap for me, you sons of bitches.
Billy: Wait, hold on, hold on. I think I can take this to the next level here. Hold on. Here you go, Matt Hazard.
Matt: Thank you.
Billy: In fact…
Brian: The largest audience applause we’ve had on the show, Matt Hazard, so now you are the front runner, in addition to being the runner-up in the talent show contest. You are now the recipient of the largest applause in the history of this show.
Billy: All right, that’s enough.
Matt: Okay, all right.
Billy: That’s fantastic. That was actually fun to use. Thank you to Riverside for throwing that in so that we can have a little fun with that. Maybe we need to use that for all of our future guests.
Brian: Yeah, we definitely do.
Matt: That’s pretty good. You should have that button cued up. First of all, when you’re going through the list of accomplishments of your guests, I was like, “Oh God, what am I gonna say?” But all of those are real. I have performed at the Carnegie Hall, I’ve performed at Dakota Jazz Club. Actually, I didn’t put 7th Street Entry on there but I performed there too.
Brian: I did not see webelo on there. Were you a boy scout or a webelo?
Matt: I was not. No, actually, I was in the —
Brian: Oh. Well, okay, that’s probably it’s not on the list.
Matt: — I think we’ve probably talked about like the uber religious backgrounds, so I was in like the — because boy scouts are often associated with LDS, is that right? I’m not 100 percent sure.
Brian: The Mormons? Is it?
Matt: Something. Doesn’t matter, but my church had like a super Christiany version of boy scouts called Royal Rangers.
Brian: Oh, yeah. Well, I didn’t see Royal Rangers on the list then.
Matt: I didn’t put that on there.
Billy: I’ve never heard of the Royal Rangers before.
Matt: But I’ve done it so it was — we had pinewood derby and using pocket knives and all that stuff, building campfires.
Billy: Interesting —
Matt: For Jesus.
Brian: That’s what I was going to say. Before you haul out the knife, you’re like, “Dear God, don’t let me get cut by this thing.” That’s the only difference between boy scouts and the Royal Rangers.
Billy: If you’re a Royal Ranger, I would like you to send me a message and tell me more about your experience. I was neither a Royal Ranger nor a Boy Scout so I have no understanding of what that was like.
Matt: You grew up in a farm, Billy. It’s the same thing.
Billy: Yeah, that’s very true, I did grow up on a farm, but like I said many times, if you ask my sisters, they will both tell you that I didn’t do jack shit on the farm. So, Matt Hazard, it has been a while since we have talked to you and what have you been up to since the last time we talked you at the end of Season 2?
Matt: Not a whole lot. Just we went to Florida, my family. It was my it was my kids’ first flight on a plane. Both my wife and I are vaccinated. We masked fastidiously on the trip and we all caught COVID, so, thanks, Florida.
Brian: Did any of the kids puke on the plane or anything?
Matt: No, no. The kids were largely asymptomatic. Melissa and I just got, we basically had like sniffles and stuff. We both lost our taste for a while, which was a stellar conversation by the way. When I told someone at work my wife lost her taste and they said, “She lost her taste 10 years ago when you guys got —
Billy: Yeah, I like that person.
Brian: First trip we took Charlie on, he barfed on the plane. And barfed enough, it was like it was like 10 minutes before we were landing when we’re in the descent, he just throws up all over the place and it was enough that while we were descending, it was running forwards and backwards. I mean, it was a lot of puke came out of that kid. And everybody near us was — I was mortified because there was just puke everywhere.
Matt: My kids, we have like tablets for them, Amazon Fire things, and we never let them use them. Never. But on the plane, whole time, just use it, and they were mesmerized and were fucking champions. They didn’t even try and take their masks off. Nothing.
Brian: It’s good to limit the device time and use it like that, in fact. When you need focus for a little bit out of them, we do the same thing. I mean, you have to.
Matt: Don’t really need focus, just quiet.
Brian: Quiet, yes.
Matt: Just shut up and don’t bother me.
Billy: You also made your way back to Minnesota for a couple of days, did you not?
Matt: I did. I did a long weekend up in Minnesota. I had the good fortune to see Brian, we did a fantasy football draft together and hucked some darts at a board and he watched me drink way too many beers, probably 10 or 11 beers.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, this all sounds right.
Billy: I feel bad that I didn’t get a chance to connect with you. I was moving out of my place and then I noticed that you were sitting inside a lot and it was a beautiful weekend in Minnesota and I wasn’t going to partake in your indoor nonsense.
Matt: We were in a garage. There was an open garage door.
Brian: We were half outdoors.
Matt: We were half outdoors.
Billy: Got it. Yeah. I’ll tell you that sitting around and doing a fantasy football draft sounds like my nightmare. That sounds — there’s no way that I’d be able to sit still for that long. I would just be like give me all of the Vikings and whoever’s left that —
Brian: If it’s any consolation, Billy, we smelled bad and we wore our tighty-whities too.
Brian: The whole time.
Billy: Now, I do regret missing out on this because I have an excellent pair of ripped tighty-whities that I feel would have just fit in very nicely, with stains and everything.
Brian: Of course, that’s the way — those are the ones you need.
Matt: And then the only other thing I did during the time period between the last time we talked is lost 50 pounds.
Brian: Nice job.
Billy: Hold on a second, because the last time that we interviewed was, I don’t know, two, three months ago?
Matt: Well, I guess, I had started the journey by then probably. May 5th is when I started, specific date, so May 5th to now which is just the end of September, 50 pounds.
Brian: I’d have to say, Matt Hazard, you’re a tall guy and your height was finally working for you, you know what I mean? Like you looked tall rather than wide, I guess.
Matt: Thank you.
Brian: That’s fair. I mean, honestly —
Matt: Actually, it’s an interesting thing because when you have a long — I’m six foot four roughly but I have a really long upper body, like my torso. My legs aren’t that long, long, whatever, it’s proportional but I have a long torso and it hides weight really well. But just this last week or two, people in the neighborhood have been seeing me and going, “Hey, have you lost weight?” Well, yeah, 50 pounds, and they’re like, “Fifty pounds?” Like you can’t see it come off really, either because it hides it well but it also hides it when you’re losing it. So, just now people are starting to notice, which is great. It’s been pretty rewarding. And I was talking to a former guest of the show, Maurice Buchanon, because I ordered one of their work gym T-shirts, which you should go, Wurk Gym, W-U-R-K on all of your Instas and your Facebooks and whatever, that’s a great follow. Really motivational. I bought a shirt from them ad I was telling Maurice about losing the weight and what I had done to lose the weight. I was like, so the things that I’ve done is basically just I picked up running again because my injury has healed up so I’m running twice a week. I’m doing either a stationary or live bike three days a week. I’m doing yoga twice a week, but nothing more than like a half hour or 40 minutes, although I did run a 10K last weekend so that took about an hour for me. But, mostly, about a half hour and usually over lunch and I’m like so I just do a little something every day and he was like, “Congratulations, man,” and then I was like, “And quit eating like an asshole,” and he was like, “Ah, there it is. Yeah, you gotta do that.”
Billy: And then you ordered a shirt. What size shirt did you order from them?
Matt: Yeah, yeah, so he was like, I ordered an extra large and I’ve gone from 2X to just an XL now, and he was like, “Are you sure you want an extra large? Because I’m six foot four,” this is him saying this, “and I’m 215 and the shirt that I’m wearing in the picture on the page is medium,” and I was like, “Yes, yeah, that 10 pounds between you and I is doing a lot of work, Maurice. Yours is all in the shoulders and the abs and mine is all just around the love handle so I don’t want to highlight it like you do.” So it’s a little different build is all I’m saying.
Billy: Yes, he looks very —
Brian: — somebody to Maurice in the gym. One of my friends was looking for what they described as a real boxing gym, and I went, “Oh, I know who you need to talk to,” so I referred her in and, far as I know, she went.
Billy: We’ll throw the link down to those shirts in our show notes too so if you want to order a shirt from Maurice and Daleco at Wurk Gym, we’ll throw that into our show notes. Hopefully, those will still be for sale by the time you hear this episode. So, seeing as how we have been fairly lowbrow this opening here, let’s transition into our highbrow guests, shall we? So, Matt, we really like having you on to summarize our season because the teacher in me feels like it’s important to summarize the information that is shared throughout the season, because, particularly in this season, there was a wealth of knowledge that was shared, amazing experiences that were shared, and we even had kind of like a bridge season, like a Season 2.5, where we had Tandra Rutledge on twice, we had Shannon Essler Petty on, we had Lisa Barnholdt on to talk about their stories as well so this is kind of like a season and a half recap. So, just to kind of get things going here in this first segment, is there anything that stood out from that bridge season that you want to talk about?
Matt: Sure. Well, so first of all, with Tandra, I love her self-description as a boss bae, like there were so many remarkable guests, as you said, through the whole season, it’s just such a nice bridge. A lot of the episodes, I was like here’s what I’m going to steal. This is what I’m going to steal for my own life, because prior to the season, you were talking about how this season is going to be about improving yourself and I’ve been on that journey a lot myself and a lot of your guests have brought things that I can steal. One of the things was when Tandra was talking about her son and not associating behaviors but associating needs, like so what does your brain need right now? I loved that moment. I was like, oh, man, that is such a great way to think about it, rather than like, “Hey, stop that. Stop that behavior.” It’s like what do you need and not what do you need, what does your brain need? Separate that. It’s not the same thing. You are not just your brain in your head, you’re a full physiological being. And I was like I’m stealing that and I’ve used it on my kids a bunch of times.
Billy: And how do they respond?
Matt: Well, at first, they didn’t really understand so that was good but now it’s becoming kind of part of our normalized language in the house. My daughter has issues with concentration where she’ll, she’s five so focus flies all over the place, but she can’t stay focused for a minute on most anything unless it’s a screen. So, using that language to not talk about the behavior but like, “Hey, we can’t watch TV right now. We can’t do this right now. We can’t do that. What does your brain need to keep you engaged?” and just small things like that. I love that. It was adding a skill to the toolbox that I have very few tools in with regard to communicating to people that are under 21 years old.
Brian: It really flips the script. It takes it from something that could be contentious, you know, scolding like, “Don’t do that, get out,” something that would appear to the child as you’re angry, to, “I want to help you.” I thought it was brilliant too.
Matt: She’s brilliant.
Brian: No doubt.
Matt: Yeah, that was a great pair of interviews. The thing about Tandra and about — as several of the other guests of this season, where I think in Dr. Yvette’s interview, you mentioned to her that I had text you guys at the time and I said that some of your guests this year were kind of a little bit of woo-woo on the show and it’s very true in certain ways, but the thing about Tandra and about several of the other guests this year, I felt there was a bit of a theme of challenging, so challenging normative thought, challenging, for me, being a man of privilege, I’m white, I’m middle aged, all check every box of privilege, I’ve got it, and so several of the guests this year talk about privilege, even Tom Cody, who was also a person who’s similarly privileged, but then especially Ericka Jones much later in the season, like that was a moment where — and Tandra too, not in the exact same way but I’ve thought about those interviews a lot because the messaging is so important for people like us, the three of us to internalize and really think about how we relate to it and are we part of the problem. I thought that Tandra was remarkable in that sense also. Billy, I think that you have a lot of these great relationships with a much more diverse set of people than — so engaged relationships, or maybe more engaging relationships, like you’re exercising those relationships rather than compiling them.
Brian: I know what you mean. That’s a good way to assess it, Matt. Honestly, it is, because I feel the same way, Billy, yeah, you’re constantly engaging these people in your life rather than being like, “Oh, I met them and now I know everything about them, I’m good.” I know where you’re going but I’m not explaining it very well —
Matt: It shouldn’t be for — I’ve read something online that was like if you want to be involved in the solution for inclusion and for understanding black and brown culture, here’s what you do. You follow 30 black people or brown people on Twitter, on Facebook, on your social media, and don’t ever say anything. Follow them closely and don’t ever say anything unless they’re addressing you specifically or they’re asking something of, “Hey to my white friends,” or whatever, and just follow them and read what they have to say and get a sense of their perspective, and be the part of the conversation that’s listening. And I feel like that’s been a bit of a theme in this season too and it’s a great thing and I think that, Billy, I feel like you are goals in life, as far as like maybe you’re seeing, maybe you’re a step further in that path than I am and you’re seeing those relationships and saying, “I wanna exercise those more and I want to have that expertise in my life,” and I think that’s a great thing.
Billy: I guess what I’m really trying to do here is create or I guess curate a collection of people that our listeners view as a resource and then, by proxy, they find other people within that, like that’s one of the questions that I ask our guests when they fill out our guest form is who do you think would be a good guest on the show and we try to reach out to those people when it’s fitting for our season, that kind of thing. And I’ve been fortunate to know most of the people that we’ve had on our show firsthand, like that I’m friends with them, but there are people on here where I’m like, “No, I just kind of followed you on social media and I liked what you have to say, would you be interested in being a guest on our show?” and almost all of them say, “Yes, I’d love to do that,” just kind of being connected with other people. And one of my hopes and dreams for this podcast is to do like a Mindful Midlife Crisis Conference where people can attend sessions with Ericka Jones or Teresa Sande or Kristen Brown or Tom Cody, like we would have it at like a convention center or a hotel conference area or something like that and people could go and get these resources and talk to them one on one and it just isn’t a one-off episode of this podcast. That’s my hope and dream with this podcast. I would love to be able to do something of that nature. And I know Brian is so business savvy and I’m like how can I do this for a living and then there’s a part of me that’s like I almost want to just do it philanthropically, like I just want to do it as an altruistic gift to the world, as corny as that sounds, so that we have resources out there, firsthand resources out there that we can connect with so that we can continue growing. Because if you’re 35 to 55 years old and you don’t think that you can continue growing, man, what are you doing? Like listen to Tom Cody. Tom Cody is 69 years old and is still seeking out opportunities and ways to grow. Tom Cody is everything I want to be when I’m 70 years old.
Brian: I know how you can make your dreams come true, Billy. I know how you can do this philanthropically and still have enough money to live on. You need a major motion picture, sir. Just star in a major motion picture, they pay you a bunch of money for it, then you go around and do this for fun.
Matt: I would say solid idea, by the way, Brian.
Brian: Thank you. It would work, right?
Matt: I mean, technically, yes. I would say doing this show, the motives behind it in terms of — I don’t think I ever question the motives, like I never got the sense that Billy is trying to become famous. Maybe he’s trying to become rich. My sense is that if you just continue to do the show the way that you’re doing it and what you’re doing, that the rest of those pieces are going to fall into place and you’re doing exactly the right thing. Just continuing every week, continuing putting the show together the way that you are, the rest of that stuff is going to work itself out because you are putting together valuable stuff. It’s valuable information. It is moving the conversation forward. It’s things that people like me, I’m the better for having listened to the show for 30, 35, 36 episodes, whatever it’s been. And I feel like it’s benefited me and if it’s going to benefit me, it’s going to benefit almost anybody that can listen to it.
Billy: Well, I appreciate that and that’s honestly why I enjoy having you on at the end of the season because I know that you are sincerely listening and that you are sincerely taking away the nuggets of knowledge. I know I have to go back and listen to all of the episodes because when I’m doing the interviews, when Brian and I are doing the interviews, I’m consumed by the interview and the flow of the show. And then when I’m editing the interview, I’m consumed by my perfectionism to make it sound like the perfect episode. And then when I listen to the episode Wednesday morning as soon as it comes out, I’m listening for how it sounds and I forget I need to listen to it for a fourth time and I need to listen to it with a notebook in hand and take the notes and take stock of what the people are saying because I’m a bit envious that you’re applying some of these things and I’m feeling maybe a bit inadequate or maybe even a bit hypocritical that we’re having these guests on and I’m not following through with some of the goals that I had set out for myself when we started talking about them at the beginning of Season 3. And it’s a little bit different now because I’m in Portugal right now, like I’m hiding under a couch, under a comforter recording in Portugal, hoping that this shitty Internet doesn’t give out —
Matt: You look great.
Billy: Thank you. So it’s been a little bit difficult to keep up with some of those things but it’s funny, this podcast has been summoning me back to the States and I’m kind of caught in between wanting to go back to the States and continuing to do this podcast really, really well while also spending the day under the bluest sky I have ever seen in my entire life. It is unbelievable how blue the skies are and we’ll get into that when we get into next week’s episode, but it’s unbelievable. But maybe all of that is metaphorical, that with this podcast, blue skies will be everywhere here soon.
Matt: What I would say is that — so I don’t sit and take notes on the shows either. It’s not like I’m listening to it and like, “Oh, I gotta write that down.” I do jot a few things down if it’s something I know I want to talk about with you when we do the recap so thanks for having me back for the recap again. But what I think about just what am I gleaning, and I think the fact that you’re sitting in Portugal right now under the bluest sky you’ve ever seen is evidence of, yes, you started this under the auspice of like, “I’m gonna take the next step in my life, I’m gonna do it,” so you’re just following through on these steps, but you are gleaning things from these episodes even if you’re not giving yourself the full credit for like, “I’m not carrying through with the things that these people are talking about.” You can’t carry through with everything that everybody talks about in your show because no one’s a perfect human being.
Billy: Wait, what? Huh? That’s what this whole season was about was how do I get to the point where I am perfect. I’m so close. I’m so close. I’m 97 percent, you guys don’t even understand how close —
Brian: It’s that last 3 percent that’s really tough though.
Billy: It’s that last 3 percent and, man, it’s difficult to get there.
Matt: Yeah, I mean, it’s — I think it’s just relating to people and having good conversations. Yes, you are thinking — you’re a responsible interviewer so you’re thinking about moving the interview forward so there are the moments where I know you have to be like, “Okay, I’m waiting for my turn to talk, get your great answer out here and I will now turn to the — like I have to make the shift to the next segment,” and like all of that’s running through your head and you can’t really process everything that they’re saying, but I promise you, a lot of times, I’m spinning on a bike when I’m listening to the show and I’m looking at a beach on a video screen, on a 10-inch video screen on my bike and looking at the numbers on the left hand side, like, “Oh, I’m beating MadDog26,” or whatever and I’m processing my kilowatt output and all that stuff and I’m like, “Oh, I haven’t listened for the last two and a half minutes to the show,” I’ve just been running numbers in my head because that’s how it gets your workouts. And the thing is, though, some of that stuff lands. There are moments of profundity and moments of I don’t even think about it and then later, I’m like talking to my kids and I’m like, oh, I have this new moment, this new skill that I can try out on you that I took from Billy and Brian’s show today. And that’s just — I see the value in it because I am constantly communicating with people who are not skilled communicators in the adult world and so improving that skill set for me has been really valuable. If nothing else, I’ve taken a good deal of motivation from your show personally and a good deal of communication skills, especially with regard to my kids. And then the other part is I think it’s benefited my relationship. That’s good. That’s all good.
Brian: So, Billy, I got a different perspective on this. I don’t —
Matt: You don’t think it’s benefit my relationship?
Brian: No, it has, and it’s going to actually fold into your point quite nicely, Matt. I’m going to shoot you straight on this, Billy. This shows not about you. It’s about the listeners. It’s about somebody getting anything they can that will improve their lives. To Matt’s point, maybe it helps their relationship. Everybody’s going to find something different in it. It’s up to you personally to find whatever you can get out of the episode, even though you are consumed by it because of all the production and the organization, which you do a remarkable job at for the show. I mean, you guys don’t see what Billy goes through to deliver these shows. I’m telling you, it is a fucking madhouse. There are spreadsheet databanks. He’s filling up a lot of Google servers is what I’m saying. So, Billy, I wouldn’t beat yourself up too bad about not working on everything yourself just because of what’s happening out there in the audience. That’s the important thing. If people get something out of it, I guess it should be also therapeutic for you but just a little different perspective on it.
Billy: Well, I appreciate that because, well, one, because one of my love languages is words of affirmation and it is therapeutic for me to have these conversations, like it’s been weeks since we’ve talked, Brian, so I like the process of this also. It is a lot of fun to go through it and I don’t want to make this episode anymore about me here because it’s about our guests and it’s about the messages that they share but a big part of me wanting to do this show is because I want to elevate the voices that are in my life because I feel like the experiences and the information that they have shared with me has benefited me and I suspect that it will benefit others as well. So, let’s do this. Let’s take a quick break and then, when we come back, we will continue talking to Matt Hazard about Season 3. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here recapping Season 3 with our good friend, the always entertaining Matt Hazard. And, Matt, you sent us a very funny text message early in the season where you said, “Pretty, pretty woo-woo this season, guys.”
Matt: Fucking woo-woo, guys.
Billy: So what did you mean by that?
Matt: Well, like Brian and like you, I’m a bit of a skeptic. When someone starts talking about crystals and energies and putting energy in, all that stuff, very dismissive of me to say it like that too, by the way, I kind of check out a little bit just because I’m very skeptical of that and I thought Brian had a really interesting take on crystals in that it wasn’t necessarily the crystal itself, it was the value or the energy that you put into it and it’s about the belief and the focus that that allows you to have and it’s not necessarily the crystal itself. My response to that immediately in the moment was like, “That’s genius. Why can’t I use the paper plate that my daughter just drew a rainbow on at school today instead of spending 45 bucks on a crystal?”
Brian: Exactly, you can.
Matt: But that’s the thing, like that type of stuff, I feel like has been monetized based on, like why do I need a different crystal for this energy and a different crystal for, it’s a bunch of horseshit to me.
Brian: It is. It’s total horseshit. But what’s not horseshit is your belief in it. It’s the biofeedback that makes it —
Matt: And, again, what was said in that episode is absolutely true. Who am I to say what other people are allowed to have value in? If it improves you, great, that’s all that really matters, but I would — it’s kind of like people who can’t be hypnotized, like, yeah, it’s good you’re having fun, but that’s just not me. I’m not in that. I don’t believe in it, I’m a skeptic, so I’m just going to be harder to be hypnotized.
Billy: And I actually want to schedule a session with Kristen, I haven’t scheduled one with her yet, because I would be curious to see what she all does with it. Because I want to be respectful to her and not say that it’s horseshit if I haven’t done it before or if I haven’t done anything with it because Kristen is a learned energy mastery worker and she’s someone who wants to get her PhD in energy, like she wants to understand, she wants to see how energy is measured. So, I’m curious to see if there is anything and I think there’s two sides of it. There’s, “I did it and it didn’t work for me,” or, “I did it and it did work for me,” kind of like the story with the shaman from Jill’s episode —
Brian: Maybe like should do a live episode in one of those, go through one of those and actually do the episode there.
Billy: I think that would be very interesting to do something like that. I’m not a psychic person. Maybe shamans take a different approach. I guess I kind of equate the two of them but when you hear Jill’s story and the healing of it, it makes you think is there something more to it? I’m not a religious person at all but there are people who swear and attest to the power of their faith healing them or that kind of thing and it’s unexplainable. So I don’t know if there’s something more to it, it’s just something that I’ve never subscribed to and I think where it rubs a lot of people the wrong way is when it becomes like a snake oil salesman and you’re exploiting people and are monetizing and that is your end game and your end game isn’t to help somebody. I would say that Kristen’s goal and Jill’s goal is to unblock that negative energy and help you be the best version of yourself, and I can say that with confidence because I’ve known them for years. I know that that is their motive. It’s not like somebody trying to rip you off with false —
Matt: And here’s what I’ll say about —
Billy: — prophecies.
Matt: Here’s what I say about the whole woo-woo aspect of stuff. I feel like everyone has certain things that they believe that other people just don’t. So like, personally, I don’t think ghosts are a thing. I think that that’s a crock of shit and —
Brian: Exactly. I got the perfect line to draw here in this conversation. The supernatural versus a person’s ability to train their mind to heal their body, okay? So what I’m saying is you cross the line into supernatural when you’re talking about ghosts and talisman, items with powers that whoever picks them up, this power will magically manifest itself, that’s supernatural. That’s bullshit. If you’re talking about someone’s belief or someone’s focus on healing their own body through using some sort of emblem or something that represents something to them, I think there’s a lot to that. I think that that’s everything.
Matt: So I don’t believe in ghosts but the day before my birthday last year, we lost my father-in-law and, every once in a while, I’ll get a message on the family chat on my wife’s side of the family that’ll be like, “A cardinal landed on the chair this morning, it was Dad’s favorite bird,” or whatever, or a lot of people say that you’re visited by dragonflies are kind of a bridge or an angel visiting you from — and here’s what I’ll say about that. I believe that we are all one. Everyone is connected to everyone else in a living organism that is the world and when you die, you go back to that. I don’t think that it’s impossible. When you see moments, like I hit a golf ball, Dad loved to golf, and I went to get it and it was like almost in a pond and when I walked up, 100 dragonflies popped out and were just flying all over the place. That’s a beautiful moment. That’s a moment where you’re like, “Oh, man,” that is the world telling you he’s still there. He’s here. So it’s like — sorry, excuse me. I didn’t expect to get emotional about that. That is, maybe somebody hears that and it’s like, “I don’t know how much I believe that,” but I do. So, how is that any different than somebody putting a lot of value in like I can create an energy in this crystal that I can focus and it will get me past this this moment or it will help me better myself in this way? It’s not a different stretch, it’s just a different belief. It’s a different focus.
Billy: What’s interesting is that Kristen talked a lot about this that when she’s trying to teach soft skills, that that’s viewed as woo-woo. And Tom Cody says quit calling them soft skills, they’re really hard skills to learn. And then when I asked Kristen to name an overrated soft skill, she’s like none of them. None of them are overrated. In fact, they’re all underrated. And I think that then goes back to what do we label as woo-woo and, man, when we take a look at why people are experiencing job burnout, to kind of transition into Dawn Graham, I think a big part of it is because they either don’t have, I’m going to start calling them EQ instead, emotional intelligence instead, that they haven’t developed those or their bosses didn’t have that emotional intelligence in order to help them move along so then now they’re looking to go into this career switch or they’re feeling this burnout. And, Matt, you said that you are a switcher like Dr. Dawn Graham talked about.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. So I completely switched careers when I was 30 years old. I was a warehouse manager for Coca-Cola, I’m sorry, let me rephrase. I was a warehouse manager for one of the most popular soda companies. Now I got to say this. I was a warehouse manager for Coca-Cola for like 10 years.
Brian: They owe some money for plugging them on the show. We’re going to him them up for it.
Matt: I actually dropped out of college the first time that I was going to college. It was at North Hennepin Community College, just kind of — like I’m going to knock on my generals and I’m going to go to a finish my four-year degree, whatever, and I was like struggling with focus, I was working like 50 hours a week at a video store, like a terrible job, and then my brother had gotten a job at Coca-Cola and they were looking for an administrative-type role and they were hiring and it was like 14 bucks an hour and I was 20, 21, and I was making way less than that at a video store.
Brian: Yeah, at the time, that’s probably like 30 bucks an hour now.
Matt: I would guess it’s maybe low 20s an hour.
Brian: There you go, okay. Just for comparison because that was a bit ago.
Matt: Yeah. Oh, thanks, 20 years ago. So, anyway, I left my job at the video store and I left college, like what do I need this for anymore? Like I have tons of overtime available, I can make 25, 30 grand easy and, at the time, I was like, “Shoot, that’s, more than I need to live and so I’ll just come back and do college later when this thing doesn’t pan out or if it doesn’t pan out,” and then a couple years later, I got promoted to supervisor and then I was the office manager, the warehouse manager and I was making pretty good money. And then I’m 30 and I was working third shift managing the warehouse, building pallets to go on trucks out to — I wasn’t building them, I was managing the crew building pallets to go out on trucks to go to your favorite grocery store and I hated every single day, every day of my life. I hated third shift. I hated — like the only time I was ever having fun was when I was playing music with my friends. And I got laid off out of nowhere, like I just didn’t see it coming and stopped me one morning and I was like, “Hey, you’re kind of near the top of the pay scale and we’re eliminating a position and it’s yours,” and I was like, “Oh, okay.” And my wife, I just started dating, this was in December of 2012 and I just started dating Melissa in October of 2012 so two months after I started dating this girl who I knew I was going to marry already at that point, I had to call and tell her that she’s now dating an unemployed loser.
Brian: I mean, employed loser was bad enough.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Brian: Now, you got to drop the other bomb.
Matt: Right, right. But I called her and she was like, “Oh my god, are you okay?” and I was like, “Oh my god, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” She’s like, “What?”
Brian: That’s how you know the universe was trying to teach you something at that point, Matt. It gave you a swift kick in the ass.
Matt: Yeah. And so there was that moment and then the harder decision was what to do next because the only skills that I had at that point was eight years of experience managing a warehouse and what I knew at that moment was I definitely know that I don’t want to have the only reflection of my work be other people’s work. That’s the only thing I knew in that very moment. I didn’t want to have that. So I knew I wasn’t going to be a people manager anymore, at least not in that sense, not where it’s the only thing I’m doing. So I decided to go back to school and, thankfully, my girlfriend at the time was very supportive of that decision and I went back to basically the fastest college program, associate certification. It’s an associate’s degree but, I mean, it’s just — I was going back to get the piece of paper as fast as I could and then I was going to learn on the new job. And went into computers. I chose computer, it was either going to be a chef or a computer engineer and I really wanted to be a chef but then the more I was thinking about it, like the end game of being a chef is not an attractive thing, if you really think about it. It’s like, oh, so best case scenario, I have my own restaurant and I work nights and weekends the rest of my life. So it wasn’t that enticing to me so I was like, you know what, I’m always going to have a passion for cooking but I’m also a computer nerd so let’s go that way because the best case scenario there is pretty good, like nine to five and knock it out and hopefully retire early. So that’s the career path I decided to go with and so really I was 32 when I was laid off, now that I’m thinking about it, and I was 33 and a half when I got my new career path and I’ve been doing that for eight years.
Billy: So it sounds like there’s even some parallels in that story to what John Wessinger talked about when it comes to shifting our relationship with risk because you took that risk and Dr. Dawn talks about if you are not comfortable with taking risks, then you are not ready to switch careers, like she stresses that in her book and she talked about that in her episode and that’s why I thought it was really fitting to have John come on and talk about creating a new relationship with risk. And it’s funny, you’re a risk averse person so for you to go back to school, did you see that as a risk? Did you see that as necessary? Did you see that as, “Well, I got nothing else going on”?
Matt: To some degree, there was some survival aspect of it. I felt like the skill set that I had was not anything I was interested in anymore. Now, that meant I could just suffer through it and wind up probably in an early grave from stress or just self-loathing and all the other things, negative headspace and stuff like that. I am risk averse. I listened to that episode with John and I was like, “Oh, God, I do not have a healthy relationship with risk,” and I don’t know, like after the episode, I was like, “I still don’t,” like I’m going to need to work on that. But I felt like I was largely pushed in that direction with the layoff where I was kind of forced on a decision and then I was really lucky. Again, like so much of my life, I feel like I just kind of fallen ass backwards into incredible luck. Actually, call that probably privilege, right? Like every aspect of that is like, “Okay, I got laid off from a job,” and I was like I cashed out my 401(k) early and paid a big tax penalty on it but then I was able to pay for school out of pocket so I didn’t have student loans. Now, in retrospect, it would have been way better to take the student loans and let that 401(k) grow, but whatever. Anyway, but I also had a girlfriend at the time who we’ve talked about on the show before makes a lot more than I do and she was like, “You know what, it’s gonna be fine. Go back to school. If it comes to it and we need to make those ends meet, I can pay your rent for a month or two or whatever and your mortgage,” and that was the other thing, I was a homeowner. I had no car payment at the time. It was like all of these circumstances, where most people don’t have those kinds of windfalls and don’t have that kind of access and then when I did get my quick degree and had no experience in the field, I also had a really close friend who was a VP at a computer company who was like, I actually just asked him, I was like, “Hey, I need an internship as a credit for school and I’ll do it for free. Can I have an internship at your work?” and he’s like, “Yes, but we can do a paid internship as part time,” whatever, so that’s how I started and that’s the company I ended up working for.
Brian: And still work for.
Matt: And still work for now, yeah. So just because I had access, I had friends, all of these things are aspects of privilege that we don’t really think about that much. All of those things are aspects of privilege, like I have a friend who got me a job, I have a wife that helped me make the ends meet when I lost my job, I was able to go back to school and cash out a 401(k) at the age of 32 that was big enough to pay without having any student loans. So many things that I just took for granted, but I didn’t — and don’t think like I didn’t earn any of that, but it is privilege. It is privilege. I put the money in the 401(k), sure. I exercised that relationship in my life to have that relationship with that friend and that is what led to the job so it’s not like I wasn’t active in those things, they weren’t just handed to me, but they’re not available to some people and that’s an aspect of privilege that I guess I’m having some self-realization about. But as it pertains to risk, none of it really felt risky at the time, although there are aspects of it, like I could have gone to school and then not been able to find a job. Or he could have just said no, he could have just said, “I can’t take on an internship right now, we have to fill out all kinds of paperwork. My boss, the owner of the company, doesn’t wanna do that.” He could have done all that, then I would have been fighting for a job and could have wound up completely differently. But I had those things. So there is risk associated with it but I never felt it in the moment because I always kind of saw the way that that was going to drive.
Billy: It wasn’t so much of a mountain that you had to climb as it was a hill that maybe had some loose gravel on it here and there but you were able to traverse it without much issue.
Matt: I would liken it more to a maze, like rather than a mountain that is a difficult climb, it’s a maze that’s a complicated path but not difficult to traverse.
Brian: Are there any skeletons with swords in this maze?
Matt: Probably. What kind of a maze would it be if it didn’t?
Brian: Continue. Just curious. I always ask that when mazes come up.
Billy: You know, this isn’t so much, “It wasn’t a risky thing that I did,” but in relation to John’s story, I went surfing when I was in Porto, Portugal, for the first time and I took a lesson. It was so much fun. I don’t understand why John just didn’t get a lesson the first time, and it makes me want to go back and ask him, “Dude, why did you feel the need to go out into the waves by yourself the first time? Why didn’t you just get a lesson and learn how to do it with a pro in the water?” It was great. The surf coach, his name is Claudio, he was fantastic. I’ll talk more about it in the Porto episode, but he was fantastic and my first two times, he pushed me into the wave and I got up and I was Laird Hamilton just cutting up them waves and —
Matt: Hanging 10.
Brian: And then I was like, okay, I’m going to try and catch some on my own. That didn’t go as well, but I did catch three on my own and it was a lot of fun. It is so funny how much ecstasy you get from a ten-second, less than that, five-second wave. It’s so much fun and when you look back and you’re like, “Oh, I just did that,” and you look at the beach and the coaches are up there and they’re giving you a thumbs up, that’s so exhilarating. So it was a lot of fun and I immediately texted John later in the day, I was like, “Dude, I just went surfing,” and he was like, “That’s awesome.” So it was a lot of fun to do that. And I didn’t almost drown, which was a big, big plus.
Matt: That’s good. My daughter actually asked me about surfing yesterday. Out of the blue. Completely out of the blue, like, “Daddy, can I take surf lessons?” I was like, “Well, honey, we’re in Arkansas so there’s not waves anywhere.”
Brian: We’re thousands of miles from an ocean.
Matt: Yeah. We are so far from anywhere that you could surf, but I was like, well, I’ve never gone surfing either so maybe you and I can go together someday and she was like yeah and all excited about surfing, I don’t know, she must have heard something at school. She started kindergarten too since the last time we talked so that’s been an adventure.
Billy: Listen to you. Yeah, that’s taking a step outside of being risk averse right there. That’s you saying, “Hey, I’m gonna get on this board and I’m gonna put my daughter on this board in a giant ocean with big scary waves and Jaws.”
Matt: I didn’t say when we were going to do it. I didn’t say when. Fifteen or something. I don’t know.
Billy: Put yourself out there. So, here, let’s do this. Let’s take a quick break again and then when we come back, we’re going to continue talking to the always entertaining Matt Hazard about the rest of Season 3. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are recapping Season 3 with our good friend, the always entertaining Matt Hazard. So, Matt, you jotted down some notes here from the Scott Welle episode and you just said you really liked his perspective about how important it is to pay attention to the way we talk to ourselves so why did that stick out to you?
Matt: Yeah, that was the thing that landed probably the hardest for me because, especially of late, of the last several months, because what I do when I work out is talk to myself. That’s all I do. I run analytics in my head. I run the numbers that you do, I don’t know if you — I guess I don’t know anyone else’s experience when they work out but when I’m running, I’m like, all right, if I run this next half a kilometer in three minutes, then my time will be this and then, whatever, I do those analytics but then a lot of the other things that I do is just kind of talk to myself about what’s going on in my day, what kind of a person I’ve been that day, could I have done something better with the way that I communicated with someone that day, or in those moments prior to leaving, especially if I’m in a negative headspace. And that was a really profound thought that the things that we say to ourselves matter and they have value. And the way that you talk to other people, you should never say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to other people. Being so hard on yourself or so, and, Billy, I’m sure you, as a perfectionist, you probably take apart everything that you do, that moment that we all have when you leave a conversation, you’re like, “Oh, I should have said that. That would have been great,” like that moment, you probably — I don’t know, I beat myself up about it, I would imagine a perfectionist does that much more so.
Billy: You have no idea.
Matt: So, sitting in those thoughts in those moments, remember to be kind to yourself. God, how profound is that? I thought that was such a great perspective in that episode.
Billy: Yeah, and that’s — I’ve fallen out of my mindfulness practice here a little bit and there’s a situation that’s unfolding back home that has preoccupied my thoughts considerably and even when I’m walking around here, I’m consumed by the situation that’s unfolding and I’m not kind to myself and it has certainly soured moments while being over here from time to time and I don’t know that I have been as grateful for the opportunity to be over here because I’m consumed by this situation and I need to let go of that situation, so the last couple of days, I’ve downloaded some mindfulness meditations and I’ve been using those in the morning and if I come back in the afternoon, then I’ll just kind of take a break and instead of taking a nap, like I normally do, I’ll lie down and I’ll put on a 10- or 20-minute meditation and allow that to slow down those thoughts because if those thoughts are brewing in my head when I’m trying to take a nap, there’s no way I’m going to be able to even fall asleep during that so why not listen to something that has affirmations in it so that I can clear my head and go back out in the afternoon and the evening and really take in the beauty of this place that I’m in now. I think those inner dialogues too are what leads to impostor syndrome and you kind of noted here that you’re with Brian where you don’t really have impostor syndrome. You’re just kind of a roll with the punches type of guy. Both of you are very confident in your presence and that’s something, I’m on the flip side of that, where sometimes I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m not putting in enough work to be considered, not even an expert but like even have an opinion on a topic that we’re covering on here. And I feel like — I’m kind of one of those people who wants to be a jack of all trades but the actual quote of all that is like a jack of all trades, master of none. So I want to be a master of everything. The problem is that I think because I want to dip my fingers into so many things, then I don’t put enough time into really harnessing my craft and in some ways. But this podcast, I’m feeling good about, like this has kind of been my bread and butter here so I am feeling good about that. I don’t feel like an impostor here. But like even I’m a certified personal trainer, man, it’s been about a month and a half or two months since I’ve even been in the gym so like if I were to work with a client and be like, “Hey, get down there and do some push-ups,” all the client would have to say to me is, “How many have you done today?” Well, not many. So, Teresa just really, really touched on that and I haven’t had an opportunity to read her book yet but that is absolutely a book that is going to be on my shelf here at some point. And also, the stories that she told about how corporate culture, the flaws within corporate culture lead to impostor syndrome, oh, my goodness, like we want to talk about privilege and, wow, those stories absolutely knocked me back. And that’s why it was so great to have Ericka Jones on right after Teresa because the two of them complemented those experiences so well.
Matt: So I had to do a lot of soul searching after those two episodes in particular. And there was a lot to unpack, because I thought of all the corporate settings that I had been in one time or another in my career and especially in computers, it’s almost all men and largely, at least at the independent level, it’s almost all white men. And even in my company now, there’s one woman at the company and we’re all white, everyone. So I don’t really see that a lot but hearing, especially Ericka Jones, when she was talking about — there was this great analogy in that episode and, Billy, I think I arrived at just a slightly different place than you had communicated in the moment. What she said was — how did the analogy go? It was inclusion is being invited to the party —
Billy: Teresa made that analogy. She said that if diversity is being invited to the party, then inclusion is being asked to dance, but then Teresa wants to take it one step further in the sense that she wants people to feel comfortable enough to show up on their own.
Matt: Right, and what I took actually from that, it wasn’t that — so what she actually said in the moment was that they don’t need an invitation and I think you took that to mean like they should just feel free to show up, what I think that really means is they also own the house so where the party is, it’s not just white men live here but everyone is welcome and there’s no invitation needed, you can just show up wherever you want. That’s kind of what it’s implying there. What I think equity is is either nobody owns that house and everyone’s always welcome or it’s four roommates of different cultural and sexual backgrounds and they own it, or everyone owns it, and there is no need for an invitation. It’s not a standing invitation. There’s no need for it because that’s what equity is. And that’s kind of what I took from that moment. And that fucking floored me, because I was like I’ve never thought about it in that sense. When I think about equity in the workplace and the way that I’ve always thought about equity in the workplace is putting black and brown people in leadership positions, but who’s putting them there? It’s not black and brown people putting them there, it’s white people putting them, it’s basically what I’m saying is, oh, well, we’re going to allow this to happen as white men, which is horseshit. That’s not equity, and so that was the moment that I was really floored by what she said and that’s a moment of introspection that I had never really considered. I didn’t even understand what equity was.
Brian: And you know what, I got the same thing out of that, just those perspectives are so foreign to me. You don’t know what you don’t know. And no one has ever explained that to me, especially Ericka’s episode. I mean, there was so much in that episode that I’ve had to go back and listen to and really internalize it. I mean, hearing those perspectives is so valuable to me —
Matt: The thing that I loved that she said too was I think she says, I’m probably terribly paraphrasing it here but she said something to the effect of once you know something, doing nothing is unacceptable.
Billy: Yeah, she said now that you are aware of your privilege, I’m going to take out the you should do something and you need to do something.
Billy: And I remember, like I remember I was in a closet for that interview too, I remember as soon as she said that, I had a physical reaction to it, like, “I gotta start doing more,” but then she also was able to say, “Listen, what you do, you’re probably doing more than you realize but now, can you do a little bit more?” and then she talked about like her big thing, she wasn’t protesting during that time, but she was leading Pause to Ground and having those conversations and she’s on the frontlines day in and day out. And I feel extremely fortunate that where I worked, my associate principal is a woman of color and we sat and we talked every single day and we often had conversations around inclusion and equity and diversity, and I learned so much from her and I wasn’t ever afraid to share a perspective with her because it felt like it was a safe space where she would then say, “Yeah, but have you ever thought about this?” and I’m like, “Nope, I never have thought about it that way,” and I feel so fortunate that I got to work side by side with her for six years. And at our school, we have achievement specialists who work with our students of color because — and the one thing that I disagree with Ericka that she said was she felt like mentors, like if you’re a 20-something, you didn’t need a mentor, and I think we all — I think as a 44-year-old, I still need mentors, I think that’s why we have life coaches and —
Matt: You’re 44?
Billy: Yeah, can you believe that? I know. I’ve got all sorts of funny stories about how old people think I am over here, but I think with our students of color, particularly, the idea of representation, that they see somebody in a school, that they see a teacher that looks like them, that really is important, like Maurice and Daleco talked about that and Ericka talked about. I mean, that story that Ericka tells about how the young lady 20 years later comes up to her and knows exactly who she is, where she’s standing in that sorority picture, and she joined that sorority because of Ericka, man, if you don’t think that representation matters, then you are not listening to that story, because that story in and of itself is the ultimate example of why representation matters.
Brian: Let’s talk about the word “representation,” okay? I think the word is very poor, to tell you the truth. It shouldn’t be representation, because people of color in a boardroom, anything like that, it’s not representation. You don’t just want them there to represent somebody, you know what I mean? You want them to be involved, engaged, as much a part of the team as anybody else, you know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah, I agree. I think in, without getting into the ecumenical aspect of it, saying representation is saying like, “I don’t see myself in the boardroom,” and so, in that aspect, people like, whatever you want to think about political leaders who are minority or Oprah or anything like that, like those were groundbreaking moments for the African American community in terms of representation, seeing that positive influence on television is something that I could be or that vice president is someone that I could be, if you’re a young girl. I think that’s a remarkable moment, whatever you think of the politics of it, having the first woman in the executive office is a really significant thing and —
Brian: But using the word representation makes it sound like they’re just there to represent, they’re not really here to do anything, you know what I mean? That in itself is bullshit and probably why a lot of people are afraid of when you talk about this stuff. Well, representation, and you know these people too who are like, “Oh, all your new age bullshit,” and, “Oh, you’re just a liberal.” No, I think the word is poor. It should be involvement or something. They deserve to be there as much as any other white guy, you know what I mean? So just by saying representation, I think it puts a specter there that shouldn’t be there, you know what I mean?
Billy: We didn’t get a chance to talk about affirmative action, which, historically, has actually benefited white women more than it has benefited people of color and I think when we talk about representation, I think people immediately go to affirmative action and Ericka and Teresa both said, “Listen, women don’t wanna get hired and people of color don’t wanna get hired due to affirmative action. We wanna get hired because we are the best people for the job,” and that’s really what it should come down to is —
Billy: — and the reality is, you might be the best person for the job because you provide a perspective or an experience that is missing from that executive board.
Matt: Yeah. And when I’m thinking in terms of, at least, we all agree that women are smarter than us, right?
Matt: Most definitely. So like the whole idea that — I think the executive office, like I think that men and especially white men should have to take off the presidency for like the next 20 years, like let’s just —
Brian: We have —
Matt: — not even allowed. Any party, everybody, you’re only allowed to nominate women for the next 20 years.
Brian: We have fucked this up pretty good so far, guys.
Matt: I mean, I feel like we’ve had a long enough shot to get to the utopia and we’re not getting any closer.
Brian: Why not give it a try?
Billy: Well, here, let’s shift gears a little bit here.
Matt: Actually, sorry, but it ties into a little bit. One of the main things I wanted to say about Brett and the episode around mysticism and being a technical evangelist, like he’s the slightly older version of me delivering this message and I’m sitting here thinking like is my bias in this moment accepting this message more readily even though it’s a similar message than what was delivered earlier in the season by a woman? Am I receiving it better for me because it’s a man and because he’s older and there’s a sage aspect to that for me? And it’s like would that exact same message, exact same verbiage, all of the words being the same, would it have landed the same for me with a woman of color or a man of color or a younger person that I feel like I have more experienced to them? It was a real wake up moment in that episode because I had to sit back and go, “Wait, why am I accepting this similar message from earlier in the season that I was like that’s bullshit?”
Billy: Isn’t it funny how the same message can feel threatening if it is not coming from someone that we don’t necessarily identify with?
Brian: Oh, yes, absolutely, which that ties right back to representation now, doesn’t it?
Billy: Yeah. So the other day, my host, very lovely woman, she does acro yoga and she has acro yogis staying at her place and they’re like driving up and down —
Brian: What is acro yoga?
Matt: I don’t know what this is.
Billy: Yeah, so you might see people who do yoga hanging from ropes or something like that, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen anything like that.
Brian: Oh, acro as in acrobatic yoga.
Brian: Not like aerial yoga where you’re doing it in a cornfield.
Billy: No, no, no, no. So she has a group that they’re traveling up and down the Portuguese coast with, very interesting woman, but she said, “Hey, if you want, you can come upstairs for breakfast, we’re going to eat out on the terrace,” and she had some of her fellow travelers with her and she had a man there who’s so fascinating. This dude has lived all over the world, has been in countries where insurrections have taken place while he is there. He said he has been lost in the Malaysian —
Brian: Didn’t we have that here, Billy?
Billy: Yes. He said that he was lost in the Malaysian jungle for eight days, he was just a fascinating person —
Brian: Oh, that’s happened to everybody.
Billy: Yeah, but he was talking about his distrust of youthful sages and that he had a distrust of any time they were there to offer advice. And my counterpoint to that was I would listen to someone who is younger than me share advice because, for me, it’s all in the questioning. Because they shouldn’t be offering you advice, they should be listening and getting you to reflect on what it is that you are saying and what it is that you are doing and then they can offer up resources, because a 25- to 30-year-old may have access to as many resources about all the things that we talked about this season as guys like us who are our age, so if you can point people in the right direction and get them to reflect, then I don’t think that we should be so dismissive of their expertise because they haven’t lived as long as we have. I think age and experience are two very, very different things. And, listen, I’ll talk to students who are 16, 17, 18 years old and their experiences, when they share him with me, caused me to reflect on my own privileges and my own experiences so that when I have conversations or if I’m engaged in thought about perspective, then that helps me see things from a different lens. And I always go back to Whitman’s quote, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” I feel like the larger we get in thought, the more complex things get but then the more open we are to understanding other people. And I feel like that’s a big component of what Brett is trying to communicate to us when he talks about the language of mindfulness.
Matt: That was deep, man.
Billy: I get in my moments sometimes.
Brian: So before we wrap the show, I’m on a tangent here for just a minute but it’s very brief, I just found out today that one of my old roommates died, just died in his sleep, 47 years old. Fortunately, they didn’t have any children but his wife is just a wonderful person and his name was Mark Tolsted and I just wanted to take a minute to say, Mark, I love you and I’m going to miss you.
Matt: Oh, man.
Brian: It’s, yeah, pretty tough but when you — just in his sleep, no reason at all. He was perfectly healthy when he went to bed and he was dead when he woke up. People, you never know how much time you have so don’t hesitate to make every day an opportunity for improvement and more happiness in your life because you never know. You never know.
Billy: And I think too, and I’m not always great at this and I’m sure my parents wish that they heard this more from me, but I think it’s important to let people know how much you love them and how much you appreciate them. So, I’ll just say, Mom and Dad, I love you both very, very much and, Brian on the Bass, I love you very much, and, Matt Hazard, I love you very much and I think that’s a good way to wrap up Season 3 is just by saying I love you all for the things that you share and the happiness and the value that you provide in my life.
Matt: I’m going to go the other direction. I don’t like either one of you
Brian: He goes the macho direction.
Matt: I don’t particularly care for my parents either. No, I love everybody too.
Brian: Yeah, man.
Matt: Thanks for this opportunity. I love talking to you guys. This is —
Brian: Likewise, friends.
Matt: This is a highlight for me. Love you both.
Billy: I’m sure people who listen to the season recaps are like, “This is just these three guys just sitting around chatting and do I need to listen to this whole bullshit?” And reality is you don’t, you don’t have to listen to the whole episode and not to burst your bubble or anything, Matt Hazard, but the season recaps are in fact the least downloaded episodes that we have.
Matt: How dare you.
Brian: You got to get some friends, Matt, and start doing some advertising down there, man. We’re getting hundreds of downloads from Arkansas.
Matt: Yeah, actually, I did sell a neighbor on listening, but I didn’t even share one of my episodes with him, I shared the first Dr. Yvette episode with him.
Billy: That’s a good place to start right there. Yeah, that’s usually — whenever people are like, “Well, what episode I should start with?” You just start with Dr. Yvette Erasmus because every conversation we have with her is amazing, including the one that we had with her this season. And you had mentioned this that it really felt like it was just three people sitting around having a conversation and that’s just how easy it is to talk to Dr. Yvette, because, man, what a woman of class, what a woman of —
Brian: Dynamic person.
Billy: — experience. Dynamic person all around. So it was a lot of fun to talk to her right before going on this adventure. And it really has been a wild adventure. I miss the two of you dearly but the Portuguese sun, man, it really, really feels good. These blue skies are absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to share my experiences with our listeners coming up soon. Next week, we have a bonus episode so be sure to check that out and then in two weeks, Brian and I will be back and we will talk about my time in Porto, Portugal. If you are a travel enthusiast, be sure to check that one out. But I’m going to tell you what, I am sweating profusely under this comforter so I think it’s time —
Brian: You’re glistening too.
Billy: Yeah, I actually am glistening under this thing right now so I think it’s time for me to go. So, Matt Hazard, I love you. Brian on the Bass, I love you.
Brian: Back at you, buddy.
Billy: So, for Matt, for Brian, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.
Matt: Okay. We’ll see how this goes. I haven’t practiced it at all, but… Looking down on the morning rain. Dammit. Looking down on the morning rain, used to feel so uninspired, when I knew I had to face another day, Lord, it made me feel so tired. Before the day I met you — dammit. Before the day I met you, life was so unkind. You’re the key to my peace of mind. You make me feel. You make me feel. You make me feel like a natural woman.
Billy: Love it.
Matt: Have a small piece of that.
Billy: There isn’t anything better than listening to the sound of your magical singing voice. It just brings happiness to my whole life. My whole heart is full.