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How to Get Through Your Mid-Life Crisis with Lauren Zander

Erin: [00:00:00] Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, where we uncover the unconscious rules we've been following. We break those rules and we find a new path to being freer, happier, sexier, and more self expressed. I'm your host, Erin Keating.

Today, OG Coach Lauren Zander is back on the podcast, and we talk about our respective midlife crises. Ah, it's a fun one. We talk about how our marriages, which were very different, but both very long, both with kids, fell apart. And what we learned in the aftermath of all that loss and change and how we've redefined our lives and our standards in relationships and friendships in who we show up as in our own lives since then.

It's a good talk, more of a dialogue than an [00:01:00] interview. And we really get into the aftermath of what felt like total destruction and what that looks like when you have to still keep it together as a mom and a professional and how you can rebuild so many parts of your life from scratch.

Just a heads up that Lauren's sound quality is not the best.

She's dialing in from Croatia of all places, but I think you'll find it worth the listen anyway. Here it is.

Lauren Zander is back for this episode about midlife crises. Lauren is the CEO and founder of The Handle Group. She developed and has taught her corporate and life coaching technique, The Handle Method at MIT and Stanford's Business School.

And it's been used by celebrities, CEOs, and entrepreneurs for almost 20 years. She is of the life coaching world. She works with celebrities and marquee clients, and she's back on the podcast for the second time today, because in our last conversation, we [00:02:00] realized that we have both recently been through a midlife crisis.

And we wanted to talk about that in case that's what you're going through. Two, or in case you're hoping to have one, because from my perspective, what it looks like on the other side is real good, but the going through is rough. Hi Lauren.

Lauren: Hi. Midlife crisis. How do you make that sound sexy?  

Erin: Yeah. You know what? That's a really good point. Men make it look sexy. Right. We hear a lot about men and midlife crisis. There are all these cultural tropes about it, right? So they get a sports car, they get hair plugs, they get super fit. Like Jeff Bezos. They have affairs. They get a trophy wife. They kick the first wife to the curb. They start their life over. They're looking for their own vitality to reclaim their youth, their sexuality. That idiom does not exist for women. It is [00:03:00] not the same. It is not the same.

Lauren: No, well, maybe we did it different.

Erin: Maybe we did it different.

Lauren: Maybe I can't claim I did that. I don't have a new car.

Erin: Neither do I. I have meaningfully less money than I did when I was married, but I have meaningfully more freedom. And more self determination and more agency and more vitality and more life force. So I want to hear what happened with you. I think the listeners know a lot about my story because I've been really transparent about the journey that I've been on. What was your midlife crisis like? 

Lauren: I teach a method where I design my life according to my dreams in 12 different areas. And I dream every year, and I mean it, and I design promises in each of those areas. And so I was in the middle of keeping one of those [00:04:00] promises called sex with my husband, right? Twice a week.

And it seems I'm in charge of it and always had been. All right. Maybe I was a little disgruntled about that, but he was always very compliant and he's a good man. And so he literally was starting like a little bit of a fight before we were getting it on and I

Erin: On a regular basis?

Lauren: No, no, not at all. But in this moment he was like re kicking up a fight we had had that we got resolved about because there's a method to getting resolved about everything and really fixing conversation. So we don't have the same fight over and over and I'm really good at it. Okay. So then he's starting to have the fight we had last week. Like he's bringing it up and I know. This is what you do if you're trying to get out of getting late, right? I'm like, are you starting a fight? Like, what are you doing this? Like, what, what's happening here, babe? Right?

And then in that moment, I had the balls, gall to ask the question, like, are you [00:05:00] in love with me? Do you want to be in love with me? Are we, are we good? And in that moment, he stuttered like he had a, you know, and I was like, and that was it. Like, I don't. That was it. That was like, holy shit. 

Erin: That was it. Like you knew the marriage was over?

Lauren: That was it. Cause I had a rule and I meant this rule and I still mean this rule, which is if you don't want to be in love and you don't want to be in this marriage and this isn't fun for you and figuring it out, isn't hot and great, we're out of here.

Right. We'll have the greatest divorce you ever saw. Right. The minute I don't feel like you want to be with me or you're in love with me or we're in love, I'm out of here. Right. I made that promise as a vow. So I had never seen that look in his eye. 

Erin: Oh God. 

Lauren: So that was this moment and I really just started crying and I didn't get it wrong.

It wasn't like I got that moment wrong. Right. I was and he was like, caught.

Erin: Caught kind of telling the truth. 

Lauren: Like, you know, kind of starting [00:06:00] to fight, kind of not really that into me in that moment. And then I was like, oh my god, where are we? What's really going on in your head? And so that was the beginning of holy shit. I didn't see that coming.

Erin: How long had you been married? What was your setup? You have kids. You have all that.

Lauren: We have three kids. We have three kids.


Erin: How old were they when this happened?

Lauren: This wasn't that long ago. This was 2021. I discovered that he wasn't that intimate. And I don't make anybody be into anything if they don't want to.

So in that moment I got hysterical and crying, right? And I don't cry and we're really good. We did not have a Rocky hardcore fighting marriage at all. We got along really well. We're still, we still get along really well. Right. We had a great divorce. I did all those things. I said, right.

Erin: How long were you married?

Lauren: We were [00:07:00] married 22 years. And three kids.

Erin: Three kids. And how old were they when they?

Lauren: 20,18, and 14. So I stayed in the house. He moved into the office. I am the breadwinner. So basically, he runs the money. He ran everything. Right. And I

Erin: So you were partners in business?

Lauren: No, I had my own business. He basically managed the money and managed the kids and managed our life from the house kind of point of view. He's a woodworker and an artist and a painter. And we had a full time nanny when we needed one. We were living a nice life together.

Erin: A little bit role reversal kind of life, though. 

Lauren: A hundred percent role reversal, a hundred percent. And it was working. Right? It wasn't, I wasn't resentful. I'm still not resentful [00:08:00] for having to write that check you're talking about. And mostly it just broke my heart. Like my love light went out. That was like the end of my love light. And then the really interesting thing is I didn't, it makes me sad.

Erin: It's not that long ago. You were together for such a long time.

Lauren: Yeah. The really most interesting thing was I thought I was in love with David is his name. I thought I was in love with David, but the truth is I actually was wrong. I was in love with my family. Mm. I was in love with the whole unit, the whole dream. 

Erin: I relate to that.

Lauren: Right? And so I was happy to be a great wife in this storyline. And I was happy to make all the concessions I had made in the marriage completely. I meant to keep every single concession. It's not like he woke up and is a different guy. Right?

So it, it was amazing cause I didn't realize till now this far out that I'm not [00:09:00] like, Oh my God, I wish I could get that guy back. I don't want that guy back. Right. I'm not like upset that that marriage is over or that, you know, he ain't in my bed or any of that. Like I'm not, I really don't even understand what I had done. You know, I'm still unpacking my choices. 

Erin: Right. 

Lauren: So that's what happened. That was that. That was the beginning of holy shit, everything fell the fuck apart. Like the bottom dropped out and I was going to have to be a great human while the bottom was dropping.

Erin: Yeah. Yeah. What's that like? I don't think I've been a great human in my divorce, in my midlife crisis, not towards my ex. No, because I, because I didn't have the story that you have. I had. Years and years of trying to keep it together. Years and years of knowing it wasn't working. Years and years of no sex. Oh, 10 years of no sex. No intimacy. Yeah. And lots of betrayal. Lots of betrayal of all kinds. [00:10:00] 

Lauren: What was he doing? Because usually like, what were you guys doing for sex instead? How did that work out?

Erin: Nothing, I was working.

Lauren: You were a workaholic. And what was he doing? 

Erin: Everything. Everything. Crazy. Acting out in a lot of different ways. He came with a lot of baggage. He came with a lot of baggage that was very familiar to me for my upbringing. I literally said to him in the beginning of our relationship, I said, I see the suitcases full of shit that you're carrying. I opened them up and I recognize what's inside them. So I know what to do with that.

And, and yeah, and I thought like. This was my shot, right? He loved me. I loved him. He was smart and charismatic and intellectual and loved the arts in the way that I love the arts, very passionate. One of this worldly, sophisticated life, which I wanted, wanted children, wanted to marry me. That wasn't really something I cared [00:11:00] about particularly, but that was what he wanted.

When I think both of us had something to prove because our upbringings were what they were. And I think I probably stayed in the marriage longer. Then I would have if I wasn't trying to win against my parents track record, so I was married 17 years. My parents were married 10. I grew up a child of divorce. I didn't want to do that to my kids. I couldn't imagine being a single mom.

The reality of single motherhood has only like a year and eight months after he moved out really sunk in for me in the last month or two.

Lauren: How old are your kids?

Erin: They're 12. They're twins. When I knew the marriage was over they were five and I could not imagine doing that on my own, raising them, not having the unit, not being a squad, not being the four of us, managing everything together.

And I was having the [00:12:00] biggest career opportunity of my life at the time. And so I was like, I'm going to just do everything. I'm going to do it all. But what I lost in that time was my self respect because I was in a marriage that was miserable and I was sticking with it and trying to make it work. I lost my sense of self, my identity.

I was just a doing. I wasn't a being right. Like I was just a work person at work and trying to be a superstar and get all the bonuses and get all the accolades, which I did. And then at home I was fucking faking it. All the time. All the time pretending I was really in it when everything in my body said get the f*ck out of here. And I couldn't, I couldn't, I couldn't see my way to it until I could see my way to it.

And for me, the catalyst was getting COVID going to the hospital, being as close to death as I had ever been. And then coming out and [00:13:00] being like, What is my life? Wait a minute. And then I turned 50 2 weeks later and I was like, Oh, this is all bullshit.

I'm blowing this shit up.

Lauren: Well, we do have the 50 in common.

Erin: Yeah. The 50 is a big deal when it comes to midlife. I mean, it is the midlife. It is the marker. I hear people talk about, Oh, 40. Oh, 40. Oh, 40. I'm like, Why are you even talking about your forties are like the most productive, the most complicated, richest, maybe you're in parenthood, maybe you're in big career, maybe you're in whatever.

But for me and a lot of my cohort are extremely busy and ripe time. And yeah, I didn't make it through my forties married. I didn't. And I'm so grateful for that because I probably would have stayed in it. And continue to be miserable.

Lauren: THere are people who have the worst decade or two and a half. And then at some point they really get there, not leaving. And I have been surprised cause I deal with a lot of helping people get out of their relationships and have my whole career. Yeah, or help people really--

Erin: I stick through it and figure out how to improve it and evolve it. 

Lauren: No, I have people do all the work. And if the work doesn't get to an A, like you love this life, this is an incredible relationship, right?

Do all the work. It's like lose all the weight, and then decide if you really think that's the body you need to have, because it's a lot of work to have that body. Yeah, but you shouldn't live without it. What you say you want, right? So get something to the state of an ideal of what you're committed to. And then at that moment for about three months, then you decide, is this really worth it? Is this what I wanted it to be? Is it, is this the money? Is this the dream? Is this the marriage? Is this  it?

Erin: Oh, I love that. I love that because you deserve to pursue and achieve the ideal. Yes, and then the question is, do you want to do the work it takes to keep it?



Lauren: Yeah, because you'd be amazed how many people then get there and then they're faking it.

Erin: Right. 

Lauren: Like they're not allowed to go back, right? Like their career dream expires. Right. They got to be president. And then within two years of being the president, they're like, why did I choose this?


Erin: I've seen it happen. So many bosses, so many colleagues climbing, climbing, climbing, and then they go, wait, I don't actually get to do any of the things I loved doing now.

Now I have to do all this boss stuff and that is not the work 

Lauren: I love. Yeah. No. Yeah. Or defending the territory. Yeah. Chasing, defending 

Erin: territory. Am I chasing? Oh God, yeah. How do I stay here? How do I stay on the top of the mountain when the hodes are climbing the hill?

Lauren: Right. It's fun to be on the offense and growing and growing and growing, and then it's an entirely different experience once you get there. And you need to stay there, and that is not nearly. [00:16:00] The same kind of fun as growing and growing and growing and growing. It's an entirely different experience of a career. 

Erin: I relate to that so much because in my twenties and thirties I was struggling and I was hustling and I had a dream and I had a vision and I had to get there. And then when I got there, I was like, what do I do now? Because all I knew was how to strive and struggle. Right? So I had to actively go, okay, now I have what I want.

Okay. Now I have the career I want. Now I have a marriage. Now I have children. Yeah. How do I do all of this? And what parts of this are working? What parts of this are not working?

Turns out the career part that continued to be very satisfying until it became. Uh, an insane level of workaholism, which was really a way of avoiding the domestic part of my life because that was so broken that I couldn't face it. And what wasn't making me feel good ever, except for my children were making me feel good. But [00:17:00] the demands of the children and the demands of the marriage, I was getting as much as I could out of it. But what work gave me was so clear and clean and not emotionally burdened. And so it was like, Oh, my actions correlate with my results in the workplace. But at home, my actions never correlated with my results.

Lauren: And how, how's he doing now? What's it, what happened to his life from the divorce? Did he want the divorce or was he wanted the divorce?

Erin: He did. He wanted the divorce. We both wanted the divorce. Thankfully. I feel good about that. I feel good about the fact that it was mutual. But I think I carry so much more anger and resentment than he does about, about the marriage, about the marriage.

Yeah. Because it was good for him to be married. Like he got taken care of, he got taken care of, and now no one's taking care of him, and that's hard. 

Lauren: So he has it harder now? I think so. Well, that's good for him, right?

Erin: I hope he grows from [00:18:00] it. I hope he evolves from it. 

Lauren: Usually it's like a midlife crisis does not sign you up for choices. That's definitely one of the features of a midlife crisis. It's like you'll be having it sucks or it sucks. Right. And you'll be getting out of it sucks, or you'll be staying in it sucks, which today, right? You wake up right into it sucks. So are you getting out today? Are you staying in? Right? It's pretty brutal.

I'm impressed. I'm impressed with the midlife crisis working so well. And being able to kick a human's ass hardcore. My ass got kicked so hard. I did not know. I hadn't had any trouble until trouble hit. Go to Beadaholique. com for all of your beading supplies needs! Right. And it was like, I didn't know you could free fall this hard.

Like everything that I thought mattered that I had built could be gone from one day to another. And you know, you can get it from death, right? Like somebody dies and that sounds like a free fall forever. Right? I've seen that. I've helped people with that. But I [00:19:00] didn't predict my own and I didn't know how I was going to deal with it.

And then I didn't understand what was going to come next with how the people in my life were going to deal with me.  

Erin: How did they deal with you with a whole changed self circumstance identity?

Lauren: I think it compounded and got a hundred percent worse because I was the person everybody called. Like, hear that, okay?

I'm the person everyone called when shit went sideways, and I am the expert at getting shit to stop going sideways, and how to truly walk the walk, right? Like, deal with who you are, figure it out, and have a great day no matter what, right?

And so no one was expecting me to turn into a puddle. Right. Like no one knew, no one had known me to be a sad mess.

Erin: Right. Well, your business is keeping shit together, moving it forward. Right. [00:20:00]

Lauren: And I actually could shift gears, right? I was perfectly capable at coaching you. And then if you're like, how are you doing? And I'm like, Right.

Like, so I, I am perfectly fine in compartments of, thank God I get to talk about someone else and help you. And tell you what's going on in my life at the same time. So I have heard that when a divorce happens, you lose your friends. You find out who the real people are, who the real people in your life are. When tragedy happens, you find out what you really got and what you don't got.

Erin: Yeah, I think that's really true.

Lauren: Wow. Well, so if divorce wasn't enough. The people that I don't have in my life anymore was like the greatest blowable, right? Like the people that I loved and thought loved me deeply. Yeah. Crickets. No shit. The people I would have thought would have called and cared and scooped me up got weirded out that I ever had it like, Oh, [00:21:00] who's Lauren? Like what the f*ck happened to her? 

Erin: They were invested in you being a certain way, showing up in the world a certain way, being a certain person.

Lauren: A hundred percent. I was, I had not, I did not understand. And I was a mess. I was a good mess. And I have a A few incredible friends who great care of me, but I used to have what I thought were dozens of friends that would have been there like I would have bet an entirely different turn of events.

So that was like, holy shit that doubled 50 down. I was like, that's impressive I got a lesson and a half because I did not see that one coming. Right. I did not know who wasn't gonna yeah And my family doesn't win they win the opposite of awards like the amount I didn't get what I needed And I had to like reboot like I was a 18 year old.

My joke was I called myself, [00:22:00] it was 1950, right? I turned 50 and I was back to feeling like a 19 year old.

Erin: So Lauren, for people who are listening, let's see what we can extract here. How did we both get through? I believe I'm on the other side or I'm on my way to the other side of my midlife crisis, although I have yet to figure out money. And I have yet to figure out the big picture of my professional story, even though the podcast is part of that story, Hotter Than Ever as a brand is part of that story.

I'm building something, but I don't have all those dreams real clear in every area yet. Doing that work every single fucking day to get to that. Right. But what can we share with the listeners about how we're not a mess today? Right. How I'm 52, like it's two years out. from this crisis. I have never had better sex in my life. I have never had a better boyfriend. I'm in a great [00:23:00] relationship that works. For where I'm at in my life and we communicate and it's very different than anything I've ever done.

I feel self determined around my future. I feel free. I don't feel like I'm carrying like a big fucking boulder on my shoulders. I'm not lying all the time. That's a big deal. I do. Yeah. I'm not lying all the time. I was a master faker for so long and it's such a relief not to be pretending I want something that I don't want.

My relationship with my kids is good, hard. They're 12. Ew. Yep. It's hard. It sucks. They're so moody, but I feel much more able to parent when I am not also managing my partner and how they're parenting. At least not in the house.

I think for me, the way I got through to the other side was just to really acknowledge all the places I had been full of shit, like part of that is so important to me is to be like, [00:24:00] okay, like the career stuff I got laid off. I got divorced, all this stuff happened. Right. But from the ashes, I was able to get really honest about what's important to me.

And brick by brick start to rebuild.

And for me, what's the thing that started the rebuilding was sex. So like just going out and having a lot of sex with a lot of different guys and just seeing like, you know, am I hot? Am I, is there anything here for me, for anyone? Cause it would have been, the store had been closed. And somehow that path was the thing that made sense for me, was to reclaim my vitality, my energy, my, my spark. I don't know that that would be everyone's path, probably not. But it certainly was for me, one of the things that helped me get myself back. 

Lauren: I would have to concur [00:25:00] that that worked for me, too.

Erin: Maybe that's why we're friends. 

Lauren: Maybe, maybe. So, from the moment I knew I was single, to being able to actually want to love again, or be interested in love again, I was like I was going to keep my love light off. I was going to take care of my kids. I was going to build a friendship. With my ex, I was going to get divorced.

I was going to need to make enough money to cover all of this along with my kid going to college. So I had like, keep my shit together. I didn't have time to. Be a mush, right? I cried in between being responsible. And then I make a joke that I really ended up in the movie, The Jerk. I'm keeping coffee--

Erin: For those on this listening to this podcast who are not our age, who are younger than us. The [00:26:00] Jerk is a movie with Steve Martin. He's a total Goofball loser. And he invents this pair of glasses that makes him really famous and really successful for a short period of time. He gets all these amazing things in his life. And then the glasses cause everyone to go cross eyed.

And I'm just a comedy girl, so I know the plot of the jerk off the top of my head. And, um, Bernadette Peters is his girlfriend in the movie and he's in this incredible crazy house that looks like it's, was decorated by the Saudis in Beverly Hills and he loses everything because everyone goes cross eyed and they sue. So how is that your story?

Lauren: Um, because the, like, I'm taking my coffee cup, right? Like when you have, when everything goes. To hell in a handbasket, everything went to shit and I had to start my life over. And so if [00:27:00] you're like, what was it that mattered the most?

I was like, okay, I exercised every day. I actually walked for two hours a day and I had a playlist and I picked the songs very carefully. And I cry my little eyes out or laugh and get mad. And, you know, depending on the song, go through what I would call a spiritual ride.

So I would do a two hour walk every day and early. Right. And I slept and I made art. I'd make a lot of art. I paint. So I really got to just the basics of what mattered to me.

I spoke to my kids every day. I was dealing with my business. I was going to have a great day crying and being miserable every day, but doing what I had to do.

Erin: I think it's interesting, Lauren, that for both of us in different ways, coming back to our bodies is part of the story of healing from a midlife crisis. Right. [00:28:00] Like if you're working out all the time, if you're like spending two hours in the morning walking and I'm out, whatever, chasing my own endorphin highs, I think that's really interesting and probably really helpful for people to know your healing lives. in your body. That can be a really helpful thing.

Lauren: Yeah. And I did a lot of writing. I did a lot of writing. I wrote a book. I wrote a book during this whole time. I'm almost done. My second book came out of this scene and a half. Wow. So that's true. That's true.

And then it developed because I'm a teacher. I had to develop. different language to help me through how fucked up I felt. Right. So I, it actually developed more of my method and I talked about it. And so I immediately put it into my coaching. So there isn't a client that doesn't know what I'm going through. I don't just practice. I go through it with people. So they know what's [00:29:00] happening. And so I coach and learn and deal.

And then of course my clients are all going through the same fucking shit, right? So there so it turns out to be this perfect process. 

Erin: But look at that inclination to make something and to share the story and to process. publicly and on paper. That is the same thing that I'm doing here on this podcast because I don't want to be alone.

I don't want to be alone with this experience and I don't want us to be alone with this experience because there are so many, like you said, your clients are all going through it. So many of my peers are going through it. This is a profound turning point in our lives when things fall apart in middle age.

It's very different than things falling apart when you're 25. Things kind of can't fall apart to the same degree when you're 25 because you don't have all the things. So I think just processing in [00:30:00] a way that is open, that is both private with yourself in terms of writing, because writing has always healed me and has been a big part of my journey here too.Bbut also just finding a way to, to make something. To make something out of this.

So you're making art and you're writing and you made a book like I love that impulse because it's so it's so positive In the face of the worst pain. 

Lauren: And I do think a person needs a person, right? You need someone who knows how to hold your hand. My line is someone who can hold your hand and hold your hair. 

Erin: When you're barfing in the toilet from having too much tequila, is that what you're saying?

Lauren: No, it's more of a joke on when you're barfing Puking out your conversation like you've been poisoned. Like when your life is rough, you've been poisoned, and Yeah. You don't need, you need someone to hold your hair. Yeah. Right. Like, I'm not gonna critique you or tell you what to do. I'm just gonna listen to what's going on.

Are okay. Yeah. That's what a [00:31:00] best friend does. Oh, oh yeah. Right. And so I really needed that and had that, and I don't think I would've made it. I don't think I want to make. I'm moved at how much we need each other. And I'm also putting together, finding new friends. Like what I mean by a friend now, right? And what I need. I'm different and I'm, um, proud to be different. 

Erin: What does that look like, Lauren? What do those friends look like versus the friends that you had before when everything looked perfect? Gosh, 

Lauren: That's a really good question. So there's a title of a book here. I get it from here, right? I did not read the book. I just know the title and it's "Givers, Matchers, and Takers". Givers, matchers, and takers. And I am a giver, and at some point I expect a match.

Erin: As someone to meet you in that giving.

Lauren: And a lot of [00:32:00] times because of the career I'm in, I'm a good person to take from because I'm a giver. So givers have to watch out for takers because we like the attention and we like to be used and important, and if the person has a fun personality, right?

So I could end up giving a lot to someone who can take a lot, but then what did I get besides being important? Right? So I've had a lot of that in my life, right? Where it wasn't a giver and a giver. Yeah. Right. And so the rule is I only am accepting givers and givers, right? Like, no, how are you? No, can I give it to you?

No. So like some, someone with a lot to give, so I can give as much as I want and they will give. Back and it's like a really balanced relationship. I have a lot to give and I want one back and it's fun. It always has fun. It has to be like, it's super, super funny, super smart. Loves to get into talking about philosophical everything. [00:33:00] Yes. And we'll tell all. It's a tell all and it's deep and insightful. So I'm pretty picky on, um, that.

Erin: But those were not the people that were in your life before. 

Lauren: I was teaching people, right? I wasn't with someone who already could teach me anything in that way. Someone who was incredibly well read in that.

And was like, have you ever seen that?

I'm still the person going, have you ever used the I Ching? Have you ever done this? Have you ever done that? I'm still the one bringing that bag of tricks. And it's okay that I have the woo woo bag of tricks, right? That's okay with me. I just want you to have a bag of tricks, like you better have a bag of tricks. Right. And, and I better be learning from yours. too. And I better be interested in yours. Right.

So I think my marriage fell apart because wisely. So my ex was like, we don't have a lot in common and I'm not really into the shit you're into. And that was true. 

Erin: Is that you didn't have places where you [00:34:00] overlapped?

Like for me, my current relationship, like, We are not similar, but we have a bunch of areas where we like to explore together. And they may be more my areas of expertise, but we're both interested in culture and art and comedy and music.

And like, we, we come from very different backgrounds, but we find this place in the middle that is like, Hey, let's actually look hard for those things that we both are into that can be like a shared experience and he can give me the things he has and I can give him the things I have.

I mean, I think I thought I had everything in common with my ex, you know, and this isn't friendship. This is relationship, but like it's all related, right? I thought I had everything in common with my ex and he was less interested in being contributed to.

Lauren: I was incredibly loving and accepting of my ex. Like I choose you as the man you are. And you choose me as the woman I am, [00:35:00] I'll go on being me, you go on being you, and I'll clap for you, you clap for me, right? And we'll love each other, and we'll appreciate each other, and we'll meet over music, and we'll meet over the kids, and we'll meet over meals, and we'll share each other, like we'll share the day, right?

But we really didn't meet on a whole lot more, right? Like, like we really didn't mean on a whole lot more. And then this tragic thing was true, which is I didn't deeply respect his lifestyle. Right. Like I was up early. I was working all day long. I'm still working. I, right. Like I am engaged. He could hide from life. Right. And he could be really slow. Right.

And so the man I'm with now, I respect what matters to him, I respect how he engages in everything and how he treats his mom and how he [00:36:00] treats his land and how he treats, like how he cares is so impressive to me. And then how he treats me.  

Erin: I hear all of that. I'm having that same experience where it's like, he's not the way I am, but I love the way he is. Like, I'm really fucking impressed with the way he is.

Lauren: And I needed someone who could, a Slavic man is a lot of fun because they do not take shit, right? Like, they're not going to take shit. I need someone who will not lie, right? I need someone who tells the truth. I really need it bad because I tell the truth.

Erin: Yeah, but look at both of us. We've both gotten out of long relationships and into new relationships in a relatively short period of time. It was not something I was looking for, but what I realized about myself after now being a person who had a partner for a really long time is I do not want to be single. I do not want to be alone. I have to parent my children myself, right? And I have a co parent in my ex, for better or for [00:37:00] worse, and we work it out. We're working it out on a daily basis. He loves my kids and he shows up for them every single day. And I'm really grateful for that. Doesn't always show up the way I want him to show up, but he shows up and, but I always thought that I was not destined to have love and relationship before I got married.

And now I know I deserve that good in a relationship. I know how to do it. I know how to care for someone. I know how to love someone. It just wasn't working in the formulation that it was in in my marriage, but I'm reinventing my sense of myself in relationship because I'm in a relationship that doesn't look like any other relationship I've ever had.

And it's a result of having a midlife crisis. I get to try this again. I get to try this again. 

Lauren: Well, I, I'm uh. I knew I was heading back in, I believe in love, I believe in being in love, and I plan to always [00:38:00] be in love. It's like the best. It is so nice. I love loving someone. I love, I love loving someone. I love it. I love it.

And I love being in a relationship. Like I am not trying to love a lot of people. Yeah. I would like to be in love. I wasn't trying to get out of my marriage. I wasn't, I was a loyal, gonna be that girl. Right. Do my best and meant it. All right. And so I will do that again. Right. I'm a lot smarter now though. I'm much smarter.

And then in my coaching practice, I, I help, I've always helped people get in and out of relationships and get what they want and be incredibly connected to what's possible. Yeah. Right. I've developed a whole lot of fun language to help people figure out what they want in the area of love.

Erin: I love that Lauren. And I, I think I always was too scared of being hurt to actually think of myself as a romantic or someone who could prioritize love [00:39:00] and well said. I'm sure that's true. And so in my new life, right. I want to cultivate a level of openness. And vulnerability and willingness to go through things that may ultimately turn out some way I don't want. But in real time can be real and good and deep and true and beautiful.

And I, I think I am cultivating a vulnerability that I didn't feel I could have in my marriage because I just needed to be strong for everybody all the time. And so I want to, I want my career to reflect that I want my relationship with my kids to reflect that. I want my love life to reflect that.

It just moves me like the softness that I allow myself now that I didn't, and the softness came from everything breaking. Like if you're too hard, things become [00:40:00] brittle and they fracture. And now it's just the gushy middle that's just leading everything. And it's hard and it's raw, but it's also so much better because it's truer.

Lauren: Yeah. When everything fell apart and could fall apart, the thing that broke my heart was that I had sand castles, right? Like, are you f*cking kidding me? Like, I kept rebuilding and building and building. Like, if everything could fall apart, it never was real to begin with.

Erin:Is that true? 22 years, that's real!

Lauren: We have a lot of great memories, and we have three great kids, and we were there, right? But, high school was real. I don't give a fuck about it anymore, right? So, it landed in a yearbook . Real really is something sacred that lasts, you know, when things begin and you don't know the middle until the ending, the [00:41:00] minute it ends, you know, the middle, right? But something remarkable lasts like my best friends should last.

Erin: I don't know if I agree with that I don't know if I agree with that. That's interesting. I'm more in a place of like, I need to be okay with what is now and not worry too much about the longevity of things. I need to be more present and honest and clear and directed in the moment. Because for me, what happened was I just put blinders on and I didn't live a real life in order to have something that lasted, right?

Lauren: We're not saying the same thing, because I never lied. But it wasn't what I thought I was having, and I had to face sandcastles. I know who my best friend is now. And what that's worth to me versus all the friends that were in the sandcastles.

It wasn't that high school didn't happen, or that it wasn't something. It was those four years. [00:42:00] Right. And then what relationships came out of high school is way more interesting to me than do I remember anything I fucking read or learned. And if you only walked out with one relationship, it was like, all right, well, that was that.

Other people walk out with monumental experiences. So many other people have much more real shit from their past than I have in my life right now. And so that was deep for me to face, like a good thing for me to face, because it made me want to figure out how to build real. It made me really sad that I thought I had been building.

Erin: Right. Better. But you were, you were building sandcastles

Lauren: But, best friends should not be disappearable

No, they're not. They're not.

Lauren: They should not be disappearable.

Erin: They're not your best friend.

Right. So then whatever that was, it was not your best friend. Right. It was something.

Erin: Yeah. I get it, I get it.

Lauren: So it shook me to the core to have to go I want to like back to the movie, the jerk, like, what do I have? [00:43:00] That matters to me walking out of here, right?

And I really had to, I literally had to write down the list of what's most important. So I could like, don't forget this is more than enough. This is a good life. Like you can build everything from these three kids you had. And it was true. And a cup of coffee. 

Erin: A lot of coffee for me, a bunch of weed, stop drinking alcohol. What I really treasure about my life today is that the people in my life are the people that I choose. And the circumstances of my life are of my own making that I'm not leaning on some structure, some preexisting idea of an ideal, and that I don't have to carry anything that isn't mine today.

I'm just trying to carry the things that are mine, my, my kids, my goals, my family, my dreams, my ideals, my ambition, my passion, my love. Like [00:44:00] I can carry all that stuff.

I don't have to carry my keeping up with the Joneses, my professional identity, my husband's stuff, like some sort of picture of life that's not as it is. That is very clean and very liberating. And also fucking hard. It's not easy. It's not easy, but it's better.

Lauren: Well, you know, but you're not saying that I can say is you're, you're proud of what you're being and doing, right? Like you're at the beginning of the next 12 years, right? Like you're at the bottom of a climb.

Erin: But I like that. I like the struggle. I know how to do the struggle.

Lauren: We already agreed. 19. We're back at 19. Right. The most important thing is that you love yourself and that you're proud to be you. So you stopped being a lot, a lot of different ways you were not happy with in yourself. Right. [00:45:00] 

And I had a lot of things in my life that I thought were making me happy and they weren't.

Because they did not last. And so I had to reboot and rebuild everything that matters to me and pick again. It's really so hot, right?

Erin:  To have the opportunity to go, yes, this, not that. Yes. This, not that. Nothing's fixed. Everything's on the table. How do I wanna live? Where do I wanna live? Who do I wanna be with?

Do I wanna be with anyone? How do I wanna parent? Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm, . Who do I wanna be in my in relationship to? My family overall, like and my friends. How do I wanna show up in the world? Everything is possible to redefine because it's required that we redefine it.

Lauren: Yeah. And I had to forgive everything I had to, you know, I'm not there yet. I am not there yet. Like, and [00:46:00] because I think it's all my fault in a good way, not in a bad way. Like I picked everything, I chose everything, what I could see and what I couldn't see as all me doing it.

And I can accept and therefore forgive what in God's name happened to me throughout all of this and all the ways I need to wake the fuck up to what happened so that I can do better, right? It really has made me conscious of so much more in being. I am impressed with the midlife crisis. I had no idea that it was gonna rock me to my core and reboot my whole entire life like a brand new start. Right? Like I'm not on the back nine, I'm catching up to the ninth hole.

Erin:  Maybe that's why we feel that way, Lauren. Maybe that's why we feel that way.

I think so. With the narrative that we hear [00:47:00] about women is like, Oh no, it's the sandwich time of your life where you're taking care of aging parents and you're taking care of your partner and you're taking care of your children and you're doing your career and you're looking into the future and it's just menopause and dry vaginas.

When you have a midlife crisis, that is not how you're looking at the future. You're looking at the future like, what do I want now? How am I going to be now? How am I going to do this? I'm healthy. I'm young, relatively speaking. Like, how am I going to do this? And to me, I feel like that is the biggest gift where a lot of people feel like it's over because it doesn't look like what it looked like in the past when they felt youthful and vital and whatever.

I feel youthful and vital because we're 19 again because we have to start over.

Lauren: Yep. I've got nothing. On it, except hurry up!

Erin: Bust a move. So if you're thinking about having a midlife crisis, or if you're in the middle of a midlife crisis, or if you feel that it's looming, 

Lauren: it's coming in [00:48:00] the face or you're like me, you're like me, you just like, you find it sitting next to you in bed. All of a sudden, boom.

Erin: just know that there is so much joy and realness. And vitality and possibility on the other side of it, even in the middle of it.

Lauren: I think it's even worse. I think it's worse. I think it's part of the program. I don't think anyone's going to really get it.


Erin: Whether or not their structures follow.

Lauren: It's just when is yours coming? Yeah. I would actually say it's a sign of a great soul is that anything that falls apart was never meant to be. And so if you're really having a great life, shit should fall apart.

Especially if you listen to your story, right? Your story was you were not happy in your love nd it fell the fuck apart. And my man, and I was delusional that we were happy.  

Erin: You wanted it to be the case.

Lauren: I was good at [00:49:00] being happy. No, I'm good at being happy. And he is not that good at being happy. And so he couldn't dial it in or fake it anymore. And I didn't know it until I knew it. And then I don't. That was it. Right. And so then everything fell apart from there.

Erin: Lauren, I love this conversation. Thank you for being so honest and being so open. I love that we come from such different perspectives on this experience and that we both feel good on the other side. And there's love on the other side and there's possibility and creativity and kinds of. New careers, all kinds of good new careers. Thanks for coming back and talking. 

Lauren: Absolutely. Thank you. This is a great conversation really to inspire women on believing in themselves 

Erin: We're good Lauren. You're good Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever.

[00:50:00] hotties here is another amazing review from Apple podcasts This one comes from Radiatory, it's called Perfect Podcast for This. Five stars.

"Once I discovered this show, I immediately went to the beginning and listened to every episode. I've been blown away at how much Erin's story and the topics she covers resonate. I turned 60 this year, and after too many years of feeling numb and unsupported by my spouse, but stuck because how can I blow up this beautiful life, I ended my 30 year marriage.

Now I feel like I'm getting a redo of my 20s, but with the wisdom of a 60 year old. It's not all sunshine, but my work is going well. I feel more myself, more confident, more alive, and yes, hotter than ever. It's wonderful to hear so many of my thoughts, feelings, and periodic doubts reflected in the conversations here."

Thank you. Thank you, Radiatory. Your note means so much to me, and I can really feel the change.

Do you have [00:51:00] questions or problems you're puzzling through about love or career or aging or sex or divorce or freedom. Any of those things we like to talk about here on hotter than ever. Would you like me to weigh in on them? I'm not a therapist, as you know. I'm also not an astrologer or a psychic friend, but I am a level headed sharp and often slightly foul mouthed woman of a certain age who will tell it like it is. And I think sometimes that's what we all really need. A friend who will give us permission to do the thing we're afraid to do, or tell us the truth we already know but are scared to acknowledge.

There are now two ways to get in touch with Hotter Than Ever. One is through social media. You can slip into our DMs @hotterthaneverpod. on Instagram, or you can call or text us at this number, 323 844 2303. That is the Hotter Than Ever Hottie Hotline, 323 844 2303. Call, text, DM us, [00:52:00] reach out. I cannot wait to hear from you.

Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Girard and PodKit Productions. Our associate producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez.

Come back next week hotties and we'll talk about some of the lessons and takeaways from 2023. It's been a hell of a year. Hasn't it? So psyched for it to be over and to get a fresh start in 2024, but first we're going to think it through and figure out what we learned and what we want to leave behind.


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