Human beings are soulful, dynamic creatures. Our tastes, our personalities, our dreams, our needs – they’re ever-evolving. And far too often, we feel guilty about it.
We persuade ourselves against change and just keep suppressing down that inner voice. Especially if the evolution contradicts what we want to want (which eventually resurfaces anyway).
Perhaps the hardest to accept are the relationship casualties of transformation. Whether it’s a professional agreement, childhood friendship, consumeristic interaction with a brand, or a marriage, it doesn’t have to be dramatic for it to simply no longer fit.
You never promised that you wouldn’t change. It’s your right to renegotiate your connections; and yes, “I don’t want this anymore” IS enough.
This week, I’m uncontainably excited to have c.René Washington join us to kick off our intergenerational wisdom series.
A Master Certified Life Coach, speaker, and author, René helps women break through the mental blocks that keep them from achieving their goals and dreams. Something René knows all too well, after reinventing her entire life following a stroke at 45.
Today, René generously shares her journey and the lessons she learned along the way to now unapologetically living her best life in her 60s.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Self-honoring stances
- Cutting the good girl umbilical cord
- Going easy on your 20-year-old self
- Trusting your inner, leading light
- Life isn’t short; it’s arbitrary
Listen to the Full Episode
Imagine how much shame and pain we could spare each other by engaging in deep, intergenerational conversations just like this one. I want to live in a world where women share their hard-earned wisdom to benefit each other. Join me to create that reality right here.
Featured on the Show:
- Wisdom Fusion 6-Week Learning Series
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- c.René Washington Life Coach
- Career Triage HQ
- Take The Trip! 4 Journeys Every Midlife Woman Needs to Live in Purpose and Freedom.
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We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 6:30 am in New York, 12:30 pm in Johannesburg, and 5:30 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to a very unique episode of the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
I promised you something dramatically different in episode 226: The Space Women Crave that dared to share what I believe.
Among other things, I believe that each woman has wisdom inside of her. That this hard-earned wisdom and experience is underestimated at best undervalued at worst. I believe that this wisdom may be buried under layers of shame, humility or self-doubt, and thus has not yet seen the light of day or wheat. The capacity to fully touch other women’s lives.
I believe that each woman has hard-earned life experience and if shared the resulting wisdom from this collected insight could benefit another woman to overcome similar challenges.
I shared with you how deeply I want to live in a world where women are in relationships across generations and nurtured those connections to gain fresh perspective and learn from the others hard-earned experience. A safe place where we all have the courage to ask questions that are on our hearts and mind, but do not feel like we have permission to ask.
So, this episode continues to be driven by that question: What do we discover when we get women across generations together and we have open and deeply honest conversations?
Today is the first step in discovering that together in this very special series. I am joined by c.René Washington. René is a Master Certified Life Coach, speaker, author, and renaissance woman whose zone of genius is coaching women through successfully navigating major life transitions by breaking down mental blocks keeping them from achieving their goals and dreams.
Yet, today, she joins me as René. She’s accepted my invitation to speak, unfiltered openly and vulnerably, woman to woman, about her own journey. In less than 40 minutes, I walked away feeling like I had just downloaded decades of wisdom because it’s exactly what happened. And now you get to listen in.
Sundae: All right, René, the first question I have to ask you is your signature on your email, basically punched me in the face. One day when we were organizing another event, I read your signature and it says, “You cannot fix what you cannot face. Create the life you want to celebrate.” Do you mind telling me a little bit about the background to that signature?
René: Yes, because it punched me in the face. So I saw it not exactly word it that way. But I word it that way, because it is just a succinct reminder, that until we confront ourselves, because that’s the work that I do is going in that inner lens. And it’s a reminder to myself and to anyone who happens to come across my work that it’s really a wake-up call, is the cliche, but it’s true as a wake-up call. Because as you know we work with people who are being nudged to make change and you know when something is really sticking you and continues to bubble up and you just continue trying to suppress it, it’s not going to leave you alone until you deal with it.
And so that’s something that’s a message to me, everyday too, in addition to, yes, I’ve had clients say, “Whoo. This is why I’m calling. This is why I’m calling you. This is why I’m reaching out. This is why I’m responding because it’s time. It’s time and it won’t go away.”
Sundae: Unfortunately. I’ve tried. *laughter*
René: Oh my gosh. I’m the queen of avoidance.
Sundae: Denial is a wonderful thing. *laughter*. So now you were so kind to offer your time today because of this inner passion that I have to explore what happens when we actually open up conversations, true from the heart conversations, right? About our lives and what’s hard. And when I saw some of the things that you shared, I thought I have got to talk to you because here’s what I’m seeing from the outside, and you tell me if it’s different from what really happened. But what I read from what you shared was life was going along, splendidly, until 45. You had a mild to severe stroke?
Sundae: Probably an ah huh moment. You left your marriage, lost your mother, left corporate and then started your business.
René: Yes, yes.
Sundae: So can we back up there? Can you lead me to that moment where you were confronted with your health in a way that you probably had never expected and what did that unleash in you?
René: Yes. I lived a really great non-dramatic life. I am the oldest of two siblings. I was raised in a military family. My parents were middle class, both worked, had good long careers and life was good. I got married when I was 25 and right after that got the job that became my corporate career and my motto was, “We’re not here for a long time, just a good time.” And that’s just how I rolled, like life is wonderful. And I actually felt a little– I guess I felt some level of guilt about that because I had friends who were going through really major traumatic kind of things. And I was someone who always felt like that if something was bothering me but compared to what I know other people are going through, I don’t have anything to complain about. And that’s just how it was. And my marriage, I was married for 21 years and for probably, 17-18 of those years, it was really good. He was a good guy, we had a good marriage. I have a controlling, domineering personality that I continue to work on but he was fine with that. We had a dynamic where I led everything and that was cool with him.
Sundae: Yeah, I call that a strong leadership style.
René: Yeah, yeah. *laughter*. And then early to mid 40’s, I started feeling some dissatisfaction. There was a book about menopause that I read and the good thing that I got out of it was that, when we hit menopause, as women, yes, we tend to be the tenders, befrienders, nurturers, carers, we know that. And because of that, we are so busy, taking care of everything else, other people that we suppress a lot of things that are going on with us.
René: And when we hit that stage of hormonal acknowledgement, where we are, what has been suppressed, must be addressed. And that’s so resonated with me. She talked about how relationships have to be renegotiated, all relationships. If you have children, if you have a partner, friends, because you are metamorphosing into a different iteration of yourself and you are going to show up differently. And I started feeling like I just wanted to disappear. I didn’t like my job anymore. Or my marriage was frustrating. And I just kept thinking that I was just going to get past it. It was a phase. I was going to get past it, it would go away because why wouldn’t it? My sister ended up marrying my husband’s brother.
Sundae: Oh, man.
René: So yeah. And my sister had the two children. I don’t have children. So our family wa–
René: Yes. Deeply entwined, yes.
Sundae: Wow. Okay. So I need to pause there because one, when you get married, it’s til death do you part, I’m doing air quotes, right? By the way, when you get married 25, your prefrontal cortex isn’t even fully developed by that time, right?
René: Listen, I always told myself, “Don’t even think about getting married until you’re 30.” That’s what I said. And funny story, you know why I got married? Because the guy I married lost his job and had to go back and live with his parents and that just became frustrating on so many levels including our relationship, so I said, “Just move in with me.” But because I’m a Christian I was a good girl, right? So, we can’t live in sin, so we have to get married. So we got married a year after he moved in because we were living in sin.
Sundae: Right. So you’re listening to how you grew up, following the religious advice. Here’s the thing, so you wake up one day and you’re like, “Actually, I’ve been suppressing this. I’m not as happy as I wanted to,” that must be terrifying.
René: Oh, it was.
Sundae: Because I’m guessing it wasn’t an abusive relationship.
René: No! Exactly. That was the thing, I didn’t have the socially accepted excuse.
Sundae: Wow. So how did that feel? Did you feel alone? Who did you reach out to for support?
René: Oh yeah, I felt so alone. I was ashamed and I didn’t want to tell anybody. And so there was a year that I probably slept 10 hours during the whole year and I’m exaggerating somewhat but I really, I just was so miserable and and I just couldn’t, it just didn’t make sense to me. And I was mad at God. I was praying and praying and saying, “I don’t want this to be happening. Make me back to be the person I was before.” And so that’s how I ended up in the hospital. One day, I woke up and I felt a little weird, long story short, my husband had already gone, I was at home by myself. And I got in the car, drove to work and I called a girlfriend and tried to leave her a message to tell her something, and my words came out garbled.
Sundae: Ugh. Terrifying.
René: Yeah and you know, I wasn’t terrified in the moment. I was just like, “That’s weird.” I said, “I’m going to hang up and call you back.” And I called her back and still couldn’t get the words out. Still I’m clueless, I get to work. It’s early. There was only one other person in my department and our offices were right next to each other and I was trying to talk to him through the separation and I couldn’t get it out. And so I said, “Let me just come around there.” And I went around and walked in his office and tried to say something and then it hit me, “Something is really wrong,” and I just burst out in tears.
And I was not in the main building. I was down the hill from the main building. I get in my car and go drive up to the nurse’s office to the main building, and by the time I got to the nurse’s office and they checked me out, I was feeling fine. And she came in and said, “You were in the midst of having a major stroke. An ambulance has been called, you’re going to the hospital.” I feel perfectly fine. Then I did believe her. Even the ambulance driver was like, because this was on a Monday, he was like, “Party too hard this weekend and you just want some time off?” Which when I think about that there, it wasn’t really funny, but I didn’t look like anything was wrong with me. But when I got to the hospital, the neurologist said, “Yes, you’re in the midst of having a stroke,” and admitted me for five days.
When I was laying on that gurney, Sundae, I just said to myself, “You have to leave your marriage,” because there were no triggers, physical triggers for me to have been having a stroke. I wasn’t overweight, I didn’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, I had none of the triggers. So I only attributed to stress, what I wasn’t dealing with. What I was avoiding.
Sundae: Suppression. And I have chills up my arms right now. You were suppressing it because it’s such an uncomfortable truth. So what do you do with that? What do you do with that? In a culture that says you have to make it work and you made this promise and you’ve got your Christian religion, which says you shouldn’t leave the marriage. What did you do next?
René: Yeah. So probably a month before that, before the stroke, I had gone to the gynecologist for my checkup and I told her that I was struggling. And she checked me out and told me, “Oh, you’re in full-blown menopause.” And I was 45. And I was like, “What?” So when I had the TIA, I’m a fixer so I was like, “Okay,” I really felt like I needed to leave my marriage but I need to be sure that I’ve given it every opportunity to be repaired. And, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just in a menopausal haze. I still couldn’t just, you know. And I started sharing with a couple of close girlfriends. My mom was still living then and so I just kind of said to her one day, “It would just be too much trouble for me to get divorced,” and she said, “That’s right. It just would be too much trouble.”
Now my mom was somebody who was married for over 50 years. And my dad was not an easy person to live with, a great provider and all of that, great father, and I know that she was someone with a certain point in her marriage had considered leaving, but made the calculation. One, financially, it wasn’t feasible and two, she had two daughters, and she just made the calculation, “I should stay.” When I said that to my mother, I knew she was speaking from her experience of, I stayed, you can stay. Who are you to leave? Who said life was supposed to be happy? That thing.
Sundae: Yeah. Right.
René: That’s the generational difference. And I knew that she was talking from her experience and wasn’t stepping into my shoes. And my mother and I were so close. My mother was my person. Even in my marriage, my mother was still my person and so I did feel alone. But because I understood her, where she was coming from, I wasn’t mad about that. I just knew, “Okay? This was something that I’m going to have to walk by myself.” So then came God. There’s that thing, God doesn’t sanction divorce and all of that stuff. I would hear this from my church friends and all of that. And I just was like, “Okay. I am just going to just move through this one step at a time. I’m going to stay in prayer and connection. And if I make a step that isn’t the right path, I’m going to trust that I will be guided to go in another direction.” And that’s just pretty much how I moved through it.
I had the mini stroke in September of 2005 and I ended up divorced in July of 2006. I left in February of that year and then we were divorced by July, and it was really painful because again, he was a good person. I had changed. You know that thing of, “Oh, I’ve changed,” but it’s true. I didn’t understand. And when I say “change,” I probably came into myself, you know? I realized that the weight of the relationship that I had carried in that dynamic had been working for us, I just couldn’t carry anymore.
Sundae: That’s the thing about 40, right? I always say, “40 also begins with F.”
René: Yes. Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? Oh my God.
Sundae: So in that moment, because you have zero cultural permission, you have zero religious permission, you don’t even have permission from your own mother, right? And you must have felt so alone. Who do you wish you could have talked to at that time?
René: Yeah. I do wish that I could have talked to my mom. Thankfully, I have some tremendously wonderful girlfriends and two of them walked me through that journey. One of them, I would just go over to her house and she would have a box of Nabisco Saltines. They had to be Nabisco. Nabisco Saltines waiting, I mean I ate my weight in Saltines, goodness.
Sundae: You needed salt to ground.
René: And that crunch! Such a stress reliever.
Surprisingly, my dad and I, I loved my dad, he’s deceased now too, but he was tough, tough. So I have a lot of him in me and I would always say, “But thankfully, was tempered by my mother in goodness and in sweetness.” So, but he could be hard and surprisingly he was not surprised about me getting divorced. I was so shocked and he told my mother, “Haven’t you seen that? She hasn’t been happy for a long time.” I couldn’t believe that he had been that intuitive about it.
And so why didn’t talk to him a lot about it, knowing that at least one parent got it, that was supportive too. And the thing with my mom, what’d I say about my divorce, is that’s when I broke the umbilical cord. That’s when I knew, I’m a grown-ass woman now.
Sundae: Right. Yeah. Because we’re taught to be good girls. And follow the rules.
Sundae: Don’t focus on what you want, right?
René: And sacrifice. Think about the greater good for everybody else.
Sundae: Honestly. And anything else is selfish.
René: Yes, oh my gosh, yes.
Sundae: So how did you break those chains?
René: Yeah. By doing what was best for me. By really going in. And that’s why I’m such a believer on doing that inner work. We never can stop doing it. It’s hard, it’s painful and it is so necessary. Now we call it different things. I called it body compass, intuition, first right mind, inner compass, spiritual GPS, whatever you call it, that is now my guiding light. And regardless of where you are, in a faith practice, if you may not have one, I do. So mind, connects directly to my faith practice and my relationship with God. And so that is always going to be– I don’t care if I’ve agreed to take a trip or do something or whatever, but in the moment I get this, this inner leading light, “This is not right,” I will bow out.
I was talking to a girl from yesterday about signing up for something or getting involved. And I said, “The one thing that I always know if I say ‘yes,’ I’m not a flighty person.” So I think through things before I say “yes” and I do honor commitments. If it’s something though, that I’m involved in and I’ll just like, “Hmm, this really isn’t for me.” I will quit. I love Beyonce’s song, Freedom, because she says, “A winner doesn’t quit on herself.” And we may quit things, we may quit relationships, we may quit memberships, we may quit things outside of us, but never quit on yourself and that’s what that taught me.
Sundae: I just want to pause there for a second because that is not a message that we get very often, right? We are not taught how to not quit on ourselves. We’re actually rewarded.
René: Yes. And who came up with it? Some white man of a thousand years ago. So it’s connected to some kind of war related thing, you know? Exactly. And now we just have this thing, never quit. Never quit.
Sundae: Right? But on yourself, never put this on yourself. And why don’t we have relationships where we actually want to make sure our partner doesn’t quit on themselves? Why don’t we actually teach or in our relationship say, “We’re going to be in this for each other’s growth,” right?
Sundae: So that you can quit on you and I don’t quit on me. And if one of those things is ever in conflict we gotta shift something. We’re too graspy.
René: Yes. I’m remarried and the husband I have now, he is that. When I ended up quitting corporate and all of that and I ended up becoming a life coach, he didn’t understand that. He’s like, “You’re retired, why are you working?” So he didn’t get that. And at first, I had to go in and stay true to me and I had to talk about it with other people because he didn’t get it. But after seeing my commitment to it and all that I was doing and the impact that I was having now he’s Team René.
And he had a long glorious career that he loved and now he’s like, “I just want to wake up and do whatever I want to do. But if you want to do that, what can I do to help you.”
Sundae: That’s great.
René: Yeah. And so that is true, to be connected to people in your life that they don’t have to understand what you’re doing, they just they just need to understand your passion for it and they can support the passion without getting the thing.
Sundae: Right. Exactly. You don’t have to be as passionate about it as them?
Sundae: So tell me, now you’re just passed 60, right? This was almost 20 years ago, 15 years ago, what do you wish you had known when you were 20?
René: My favorite version of that question is: what do I want my 99 year old self to look back on?
The thing about the 20-year-old question is I can’t do anything about it. And I can say that everything I went through, I probably needed to go through. My mom used to say to me, “You just have to do everything the hard way, don’t you?” *laughter*
So I guess I could say to the 20-year-old, “Just make it easier.” But I don’t know if I would have. I think my personality, sometimes I’m a long curve in some things and there are some things that I wish probably would have done differently, save more money, trust myself more. But you know, I think the reason that I trust myself so much now is that I went through so many years of not that now it is cemented like, “You truly don’t need to go outside of yourself.” So when my marriage ended, I then found a renewed appreciation for my corporate job that I was also ready to leave, but I needed to support myself yourself.
Sundae: Of course. Yeah.
René: But the thing about that is when it’s time to leave something, you may struggle along on fumes but eventually the piper has to be paid. And so probably four or five years after my marriage ended and my marriage ended in 2006, my mom died unexpectedly in 2011, she died of a pulmonary embolism. I talked to her twice the day before, had conversations with her. And the next morning we got a call that she had fallen and gone to the hospital, and she lived about 70 miles away from where I am. So me and my sister drove down there with my husband and he drove us down there. We were just bopping along, having good conversation, not thinking that anything was going to be wrong. And we got there, I found out that she had died. So that was just the shock of all shocks.
My mother was a vibrant beautiful woman at 74. Just people wouldn’t never believe how old she was, she was just wonderful. And so going through that process of grieving her death, the lesson I got from that was because we say life is short, I used to say life is short, now I say life is arbitrary. Life is arbitrary, that people live, people die. It doesn’t always make sense. The people that you think would be taken are still here. So my favorite example of that is the Rolling Stones.
Sundae: For the love of God, they are still alive!
René: And rocking out and they look like death warmed over, every one of them.
Sundae: The unhealthiest people you could imagine.
René: Exactly. How are they still here? I don’t want them to die but I’m just saying. It just doesn’t make sense that they are still here.
Sundae: And my sister-in-law passed away at 38 years old, suddenly.
René: See! Yes.
Sundae: 38. Yep, you’re right, it’s arbitrary. So what are we going to do with that? You know that in your bones. So what do we do with that?
René: So that was for me like, “Okay, stop wasting time, do what you want to do. If you can do it, do it.” And so that was when I started paying attention to still being in this job that I thought I needed to hang onto. I was 53, two years away from official retirement and I was just like, “I can’t do it. I have to go.” And I had been talking to my financial planner the past couple of years and he kept saying, “It’s too soon, too early. You don’t need to go.” And when I got that revelation because I had been tracking myself every day like, “What do I like about this job? What do I hate?” I had two columns, and what I ended up with was the same thing as in my marriage. This had been a great career, wonderful career, but then it wasn’t. And it became heavy and just taxing. And so, the list of what I didn’t like was way longer than what I liked. And I went to that financial planner just all ready to fight like, “I don’t care what he says, I’m out!” *laughter* I went in there, I said, “I’m really ready to go, can I go?” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, you could go.”
René: So I turned in my resignation, and they’re like, “You can’t stay two more years?” “No, I can’t.” Because that lesson of time for me was that.
Sundae: Right? Because you would have tied yourself to that desk, metaphorically, for two more years, not really living the life that you wanted to live.
René: Exactly. And I already had the history of having had a stress stroke is what I call it. So you know, I was like, “Why would I do this to myself?”
Sundae: Right? So what’s on the other side of that? So you listen to your body, you said, “yes” to now. You weren’t foolish. It’s like you had some plan.
René: I’ll take calculated risk.
Sundae: Calculated risk. What was on the other side of that leap for you?
René: Nothing, Sundae. I didn’t know what I was going to do after that, so I didn’t plan it out that far. I just planned that I would be able to take care of myself. But I didn’t know what I was going to do. It was just it was just this thing of escape.
Sundae: Were you okay with that? That would scare the living daylights out of me. I like to know.
René: Oh yeah. And I’m a “like to know” person too but I just trusted that what was next would appear. So that first year I had gotten involved in the local museum and got in this art group. And that first year I traveled to art exhibits around the country. Just having a good old time.
Sundae: Sounds amazing.
René: Yeah. And then eventually people kept contacting me because I wasn’t a coach internally in the company. I was a manager of management development, I did the management, training, the soft skills training, all of that. So did a lot of coaching. And so when I left people kept contacting me and I had this nudge to enroll in a life coaching certification. And so when people started contacting me a year after I left, I was like, “Okay, let me just see what happens.” I didn’t even do the certification to start a business, I just did it to see what would happen. And in the midst of it I started a business or even a year after that, I wasn’t serious about it and I had this come-to-Jesus moment like, “Is this going to be a hobby or you going to get real?” That’s how I ended up at Susan Hyatt’s Clear Coaches weekend and that’s when I got serious about my own coaching business.
Sundae: So good. And so I’m so grateful you did that because now you’re impacting so many more people and touching so many more lives. So, I want to go back and sort of recap some of the things here. When this whole project, I’m calling it: The Wisdom Fusion Project, this intergenerational conversations and learning all came to me one night when I was sitting around the table with two girlfriends. One is a little younger than me, and another is older than me, and I was joking with them. And I said, “When I was 20. Now that I’m 40, I’m kind of like, I think all the forty year olds were lying to me.” Were they keeping a secret? Because I feel now that I’m 40 and I look up and I watch what’s happening in women’s lives left, right, and center as a coach, as a friend, as a sister, all of that, I’m like, “Why didn’t they tell us this?” You know?
René: That is so true because when I tell you menopause blindsided me, because all you hear is hot flashes.
Sundae: It’s 13 years long! I didn’t find that out until last year. I thought it was a year.
René: Yeah. And I didn’t have the hot flashes. I had emotional flashes.
Sundae: So here’s the thing. So I was joking with my friend. I’m like, “They were lying to us. Why were all the 40 year olds keeping these secrets?” And this was a joke. My thing is that I am known for getting so sick of bitching about something until I create myself. I was like, “We need to talk to each other more.” I know we used to millennia ago, centuries ago, in other areas of the world. Why aren’t we doing that now? Because if this woman that I was talking to, she’s now on the other side of menopause and now her husband and her at home and he’s not working. And now she has him at home all day. And she’s like, “I wish I had a woman I could talk to who has been through this,” right? So what are some of the things, with hindsight, what are some of the narratives that you’ve deconstructed that those lies that I was suspecting the 40 year olds where I think from us. What were some of the narratives or truths that you think you’ve discovered or dismantled during the last, I don’t know, 20, 30 years?
René: Yes, we touched on it earlier, this thing about being selfish. This thing about not prioritizing yourself and I have girlfriends who are younger than me, who will start having these feelings and nudges and frustrations. And they’ll go to the GYN, and they’ll say, “Oh no, you’re not in menopause yet, because you’re still having cycles,” and blah, blah, blah. And I am here to say, “When you start feeling a shift, emotionally, pay attention.” The biological aspect of menopause may not have caught up yet, but that perimenopause, it’s not only biological. That when you start asking that question of, “When is it my time?” If you have children, they’re getting older and you’re feeling a little distant, you love your children, but okay, take care of yourself a little bit more. And the thing about it is you don’t have to end up divorced or throw out everything but the renegotiation. It is a time to start taking self-honoring stances. To start to draw boundaries, that are supportive of who you are becoming.
Sundae: Mmm hmm. Right. We never promised that we wouldn’t change.
René: Right?! And if we don’t change, we’re dead. You know the Walking Dead?
René: And I see a lot of women who are the Walking Dead.
Sundae: Oh totally. I know the way that they look in their eyes. There’s like a vacancy in the eyes.
René: Yes, quick funny story. So when I was going to church and I haven’t gone to a physical church in a long time, but when I was going and they would do the thing where they would say, “We’re celebrating the anniversary of…” And they would have this couple stand up. And I told my girlfriends, I was like, “Look at the woman when everybody’s clapping, and you’ll see the man is smiling. Look at the woman. Look at her.” That’s gonna tell you the truth of this anniversary. *laughter*
Sundae: She brought a flask to the service. We have so much undoing. So if I’m sort of taking in what you’ve said, thank you for sharing all of this wisdom because it’s been hard-earned.
René: I love your mission. I love this so much. It is so necessary and needed.
Sundae: So I’m going to take this in and I want people to sort of sit with this, this idea of not giving up on yourself, not quitting on yourself, resisting feeling selfish when you’re changing and your needs are changing. I’m also hearing the wisdom of, when you’re feeling that instead of denying it or suppressing it, invite a renegotiation.
Sundae: And that might not be threatening. It might be the best thing you ever did.
René: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And I will also add: Celebrate yourself. Celebrate yourself. I will be 62 in August. When I turned 60, I planned my own celebration. I took 12 girlfriends, we went to France and Morocco. I surprised them with a second line, which is a New Orleans celebration, where you have musicians lead the line, they’re the first line and we’re the second line dancing behind them. I hired a band in Paris and we danced across the Seine River. And it was fantabulous. I celebrated myself and I celebrated life, I celebrated my friendships, I celebrated that nothing is promised to us. And so in the time that we have, we really do need to live life at our best and that’s work. That’s daily work to do that.
Sundae: Yeah. It’s deep internal work and we’re not going to get permission from anybody else.
Sundae: We’ve got to give that permission to ourselves.
Sundae: It rolls off easy from the tongue but I understand how hard that is and how courageous that is. So you’re an inspiration.
René: Thank you. And showing up for yourself. You show up for others. I tell women all the time, this thing about being selfish, every woman that I know that is tapping into what they’re passionate about, it always benefits others. Always brings others with them.
Sundae: Yeah, totally, totally. I always say, “Selfish is so far away. You are in selfless or did self-sacrifice.” Selfish is just so far away, if you ran a hundred miles toward it, you would land at self-care.
Sundae: You are not towards selfish. Wow, so I want you to know what an inspiration you are. Because when I read some of the things that you shared around this, this health crisis, the choice that you made around your divorce, the loss of your mother, how you have continued to process that, the courage to leave corporate. And now this is where the inspiration is, is like, look at how on fire you are now. Look at the joy in your life now. Look at whose lives are impacting. And that gives me so much inspiration, because those moments of hardship and challenge, doesn’t mean it’s going to stay on the other side, right? I’m guessing, it is even more beautiful than what was before.
René: Absolutely Absolutely. So true.
Sundae: Wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. Without putting you under pressure to come up with something really clever, I’m just curious if there’s any last words you’d like to leave to me or talk to our listeners?
René: I’ll just leave everyone with my mantra: Let your shit go. Let your shit go and live that life you’ve been craving, and do that now.
Sundae: That’s right. Thank you. Thank you so much.
René: Thank you, Sundae. This was wonderful.
This conversation with René leaves me feeling inspired, hopeful for every woman out there who’s going through some mind-bending challenge in her life at 60. Plus, is a testament to what is possible. It’s a beacon of hope of what happens when you stay committed to not quitting on yourself. Now René is amazing and you can see that in the interview so if you want to find out more about her you can find her at Career Triage HQ or check out her book, Take The Trip! 4 Journeys Every Midlife Woman Needs to Live in Purpose and Freedom and I promise I’ll share that with you in the show notes.
So again Rene, just another shout out to you, my heartfelt thank you to you, for sharing your time and wisdom with me and with our listeners.
If you want more of this, stay tuned because next week, we dive in deep with another amazing woman and get to learn from her hard-earned wisdom. This is all part of something much bigger, what I’m calling the Wisdom Fusion Project. In June, my business celebrates its 8th business birthday and so I can celebrate, I’m offering a gift to my community and it’s like a gift to myself.
This is an intimate and invitation-only, six-week intergenerational learning experience among women. You can learn more by going to the link Wisdom Fusion is in the show notes. There is no cost because again, this is my gift for my 8th business birthday but spots are limited so apply if you feel called. It is certain to be truly informative. You’ll discover new facets of yourself, learn from other women’s hard-earned wisdom, share your journey and support others who just might need it. Discover you’re not alone in your challenges, become part of an intergenerational community of women to call upon in the future for support and redefine womanhood on your own terms.
You are invited.
So if this resonates, check it out or share it with the women that you love. We’re talking women of all ages, from 20 to 70+ are invited to apply. They are encouraged to apply.
You’ve been listening to a very special episode of this series part of Expat Happy Hour with me, Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the wisdom of EE Cummings: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”