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Breaking the Habit of Perfection: Navigating Midlife with Tamsen Fadal


What if the key to a healthier, more satisfying midlife isn’t about adhering to perfection, but rather learning to create, navigate and break habits? This serves as the foundation of today’s conversation with Tamsen Fadal. Tamsen is, among many things, a TV journalist, author, women’s health advocate, and good friend of the AGEIST team.

First, we jump into the process of identifying behavioral patterns and turning a critical eye on ourselves without judgment. We discuss how to replace less healthy habits and celebrate our successes, no matter the size. Tamsen and I touch on the role of social media and the damaging effects that unrealistic expectations can often have on our self-perception.

To conclude, we address the critical phase of menopause and the need for self-advocacy during this time. We share thoughts on finding the right medical support and establishing sustainable, healthier habits for a more fulfilling life. 

Thank you to our sponsors: 

Timeline Nutrition — our favorite supplement for cell support and mitochondrial function. Listeners receive 10% off your first order of Mitopure with code AGEIST at TimelineNutrition.com/ageist

InsideTracker — the dashboard to your Inner Health. Listeners get 20% off on all products at InsideTracker.com/AGEIST.

Science Research Wellness — improve your cellular health. Listeners receive 20% off all products with code AGEIST20 at SRW.co.

Key Moments

“If I find myself doing something I’m not proud of, I tell myself: that’s not who I am. I’m doing this thing, but it’s not who I am.”

“With modern social media we’ve never been so overexposed to everybody else’s life and everyone else’s everything, so I think that puts a lot more pressure on us, right?”

“There’s an interesting interplay between habit and accomplishment in the long term and the short term. I often overestimate what can happen in the short term and I really underestimate what can happen in the long term. It is always fantastic to look back a few months or even years and see how far things have come.”

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Transcript

David:

Welcome to SuperAge. My name is David Stewart. I am the founder of Ageist and your host on the SuperAge show. We talk about how to live healthier, how to live longer and how to be happier, and who doesn’t want that? Today’s show is brought to you by InsideTracker, the dashboard to your inner health. Go to insidetrackercom. Slash ageist Save 20% on all their products. Today’s show is also brought to you by LMNT, my favorite electrolyte mix. It’s what I put in my water in the morning and it’s what I put in my water at the gym. Go to drinklmnt. com slash ageist and receive a free eight serving sample pack with any purchase. Today’s show is also brought to you by SRW. Aging is inevitable, but how we age is chiefly a matter of our choices. If you go to SRWco, you can save 20% on all their products by using the code AGEIST20 at checkout. Welcome to episode 146 of the SuperAge podcast. It is so great to have you with us. This will be dropping on August, the 9th 2023. We are back in the mountains of Utah this week and, oh my god, it is beautiful here. I know it’s sweltering hot in many parts of the country in the world this week. It’s, you know, 70 degrees and sunny and just beautiful here. So I’m enjoying my time here and boy it’s been. It’s been just a wonderful week. I gotta say, this sort of world that I’ve created for myself, I just love it, the people that I got to speak to, the friends I get to make, the information that I learn. It’s a real privilege and every day I wake up and I’m so excited to start the day and do whatever I’m going to do, and generally, pretty much every day, I go to the gym. So I aim to go to the gym seven days a week to do something or other. Maybe it’s just recovery and I often don’t make seven. Something will come up, I’ll, you know. Maybe I make five or six. And what I want to bring up here is this idea of adherence and perfection, and I see this a lot with folks and I’ve been, you know, part of this that if I can’t do something perfectly the way I planned, then I just drop out of the whole activity, whatever it is. And I think one of the keys to, you know, long term, doing something, for instance, fitness, which I think fitness is something everyone should be doing to the level that they’re comfortable with in an ongoing basis, and they should have some sort of a plan, a program, a sport, something that they’re doing, hopefully with other people, which makes it a whole lot better. But if you, you know, you miss a couple of times or you’re not seeing the physical results that you want in a week or whatever, it’s okay. You just, you know, you just go back to it and you just keep doing it over and over and over again. And it’s kind of remarkable. You know, I’ve had a number of people on this show talk about physical transformation or what they do, or the you know the scientists who come on and they talk about the value of exercise and fitness and having muscle. And you know if and I’ve often, I’m not the first person to say this but if exercise was a pill and we could get the benefits from exercise, from taking a pill, it would be the biggest selling pill on the planet. But unfortunately, to get the benefits of exercise, one actually has to do it. And to give ourselves a little bit of a break, we don’t have to do it perfectly. We don’t have to make it our life’s work unless we want to, and we can still get that benefit to not stop just because, well, we had a bad day or we couldn’t make it because we had some other family duties or something came up. You know there’s tomorrow and and just go tomorrow and it’ll be okay. And speaking of wonderful people that I’ve met on this journey, top of mind is Tamsen Fadal. Tamsen is on the show this week and we’re going to talk about midlife and habits to let go, habits to start new, how to create habits, how to let go of old ones. And if you don’t know Tamsen, she’s a journalist in New York City and she has an amazing Instagram feed. I think she’s got a little like a million people following her now. And why? Because she’s awesome, because she talks about the stuff that we need to talk about, and I spoke to Tamsen this morning. We had a lovely chat. You know, Tamsen is one of those people that after I speak to her, I feel better. Like she makes me. She makes me feel like a better version of myself and, oh my God, like if I think about something that I would like written on my tombstone when I did, it’s this guy, David. He made me feel like a better version of myself, and that’s a real talent. That’s a wonderful thing. So we’re gonna get with Tamsen in a few minutes after. Just a quick word from our sponsors Hydration is not just about pounding water. We have to have some electrolytes in there, specifically sodium potassium and magnesium. My favorite electrolyte mix, the one that I use every day, is LMNT. You know, one of the things that I learned last year was the importance of sodium. We may actually not be getting enough sodium and I know there was a lot of sodium fear out there, and it’s true If you have hypertension or prehypertensive you do want to check with your doctor, but for most of us, having sodium actually helps us to absorb water and, in fact, drinking straight water without any minerals in it, we will be pulling the electrolytes out of our system. Go to drinklmnt. com slash ageist. That’s D R, I, n, k, l, m N. Tcom slash ageist. Get a free eight serving sample pack with your next order. My favorite one is citrus salt. What’s yours, let me know. Today’s show is also brought to you by Inside Tracker, the dashboard to your inner health. I’m a big believer in getting blood test taken because it’s simply the only way to get in depth data about your metabolic factors, your hormones and the things that inform your immediate and long term health. There are also excellent DNA tests that can further inform you about your immediate and long term health. The problem is the most blood tests out there is. You get a lot of information back and you get a lot of numbers and they’re not really to tell you what to do about it. In addition, they can be very confusing. What all the factors are, what they mean. Inside Tracker has a dashboard and a platform that simplifies all of that. I get food first, supplements second, recommendations about how to optimize my inner health. For instance, I just got my test back and I saw that my calcium levels were a little low, which were surprising to me, but I have suggestions now about how to correct that. I would not have known that had I not done an Inside Tracker blood test. Go to insidetrackercom. Slash ageist, save 20% on all their products today. Hey, just a quick reminder that after my chat with Tamsen Fadal, we’re going to do just try this, that little fortune cookie, that little bit of help, advice that maybe we can live a little better, a little happier, with a little more joy. That’s right after my conversation with Tamsen. Hey, Tamsen, how are you today?

Tamsen:

Good, how are you doing?

David:

I’m doing awesome. I just came back from the gym. I had the fast and furious 45 minutes and I’m trying to get my nervous system to calm down slowly.

Tamsen:

Well, I don’t know if I’m going to comment down at all, but we’ll have a gentle talk.

David:

Okay, sounds good to me. We can all use more gentle in our lives. I know you speak to your audience a lot about midlife and menopause and change and things that used to work and maybe, after some examination, don’t work, which sort of let me do the idea of habit. How’s that sound? You want to talk about habit today?

Tamsen:

Yes, please, I’m always trying to develop them, figure out new ones, get rid of old ones. Yes and yes.

David:

I know with a lot of your content and it’s fantastic, by the way, oh thank you. You do such a great job. This sort of self-examination of these 10 things in this arena did not work. But how do you first come to the realization that they don’t work? Is it just obvious? I mean, because some people keep doing things that don’t work.

Tamsen:

Yeah right, my head has always worked in patterns and I think that’s how I’ve always come up with anything, whether it’s a business idea or it’s just from my job as a journalist. I’m constantly seeing information, processing, seeing same, seeing things that are different, that stand out. I guess that mindset helps a little bit because it’s an organizational everything’s got to be in its place. But I think I noticed, when I’m repeating those patterns over and over again in my life and having that same feeling of whether it’s joy or whether it’s disappointment or it’s whether not being able to achieve something that I keep going after, I’m like I’m doing something wrong here and whether it’s a, it’s a same behavior over and over again, or I’m looking at something the same way over and over again and I can’t see outside of it. I don’t know. I think I’ve tried to form habits as a result of that, but it’s definitely from observation and feeling. I think it’s emotion more than observation, maybe.

David:

And do you feel that there’s sort of two sides to the habit coin? If you recognize you’re, maybe you’re doing something that’s not so great, there’s the letting go of that, but then there’s the replacement of the new behavior, and so how does that work for you? Is it easier for you to just say, like I’m not going to do this thing anymore? Or when I have the urge to do this thing, I’m going to replace it with this other thing?

Tamsen:

You know that’s a good question, cause I think I don’t know about you, but I have like one thing after another I’m supposed to do in a given day. Right, I just wake up earlier, get outside before 10 o’clock, make sure I have more light this is a meditate journal take a cold shower, take my supplements. I’m like, what am I doing? And then I just kind of give up. So I realized that I have to put just a few things in place. It can’t be multitasking and I feel like if I see something working, it has to. Something has to click right and and when that click happens, it becomes less of a. I’ve got to do this as a habit and more of this is what I do. So I think when it becomes a this is what I do it’s kind of mindless. You know, I don’t, I’m not thinking about it anymore and it, when I take it out of that place of what I have to do, it becomes a little less pressure. And I’ll give you an example I was, I’ve been working out a lot and my body has changed since I hit midlife, hit menopause. The you know, the, the, the guacamole and chips and cheese and a margarita at night Don’t work anymore at 11 o’clock when I get off the air. They just don’t. And and I’ve realized that like I had to change some of my eating habits right. So whether it was time or whether it was going to my body, and this, this took me a while. I’m like how am I ever going to get this habit of going after sweets and eating an energy drink? Like those have been incorporated into my life recently and I was really annoyed by it and I thought I just got to get through three days, five days, seven days, 10 days, until it becomes a habit and I’m not thinking about it anymore. And now I’m in that place where I’m not thinking, I’m not craving whatever that other thing was, and it’s become a habit and now it’s become part of just what I do and so it feels really good. And I was talking to a friend about this click. I said this click has to happen and then that’s just what you know you’re going to do and you don’t think of it, as I’ve got to establish this and make sure I do it every Monday, wednesday or Friday.

David:

Is it possible to sort of separate out the ideas of? This is what I do and this is who I am.

Tamsen:

Oh, that’s good. I don’t know. I think you have to sometimes, right, I think, yeah, I think the maybe a dot, maybe eating going to bed early, maybe I don’t know what else you add to that, or that this is who I am, and then I think that the habits maybe are some of the other things, maybe there are more Creativity related or career related, but then I don’t know, it’s going back and forth like this. It’s like a wave in my head. I don’t know if you can separate those things out. I don’t know if you want to, because some of those things you want to be you, right, I want to be that person that Can help influence somebody else with a better lifestyle. Or I want to be that person that makes somebody who’s very frustrated about a situation feel better, or doesn’t want to work out and does or has never thought about Whatever it is turning off the phone early, and now you know that now they do. I’d like to be that. So maybe it, maybe you can’t take them, maybe you don’t want to separate them.

David:

I’m just thinking about this, that it’s an interesting trick that I think I play on myself. So if it’s something that I want to change, something that I don’t think is so great for me, yeah, I tell myself that’s not who I am. I’m doing this thing, but it’s not who I am.

Tamsen:

Do you feel like you’re judging yourself?

David:

It takes away the judgment, it’s. It’s like you’re not a bad All right, you’re not a bad person for doing this thing, because that’s not who you are. Right. I say to myself like I just did this thing, but that’s not who I am. Remember that movie like you’re better than the gap. What was that? Crazy, crazy, stupid love. You’re better than my gap.

Tamsen:

Yes, I remember.

David:

If I want to let something go, I sort of say to myself you know, that’s not really who you are. You can do this other thing. But on the on the flip side, if I want to help start to incorporate something into me, I say, like you’re the person who goes to bed at this time, like you’re one of those people, you’re your person who does this and it’s it’s um, it’s sort of a silly mind trick, but it’s what.

Tamsen:

I kind of like that. Does it make you feel empowered a little bit more than than maybe you would if you were just Lucy goosey. Yeah, I don’t mean to be in Lucy. You know like uh, hey, I can do whatever I want. You know, that’s how we were very younger, right Like yeah To me with the negative stuff.

David:

it allows me to separate myself away from it, so I don’t beat myself up about it. So if I do, something that I didn’t want to do, which I actually do more often than I let on Like I like they didn’t have what I wanted on the menu the other night, and so it was like I’m starving, I need to eat something. Okay, here I’ll eat this, fine. But rather than say like, oh, you’re a bad person because you failed and you ate this thing, it’s just like well, that’s not who I am. This is just what I did today, and yeah it’s which it helps me break that cycle of, like you did something bad, you are bad. Yeah, the judgment I feel shame. Okay, so now, now, since, since you’re I’m shamed, I’m gonna do something bad again, oh yeah.

Tamsen:

I’m just gonna keep doing it. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m talking about.

David:

That’s what my?

Tamsen:

eating thing was. I was like, well, I already did it today, so I might as well just keep doing it until I don’t know who’s gonna stop me. And I thought, oh wait, you’re gonna stop you. And I was doing with a couple of things not just food, you know, I was doing it with, I think, the pandemic created some habits, some habits for me that I had never had before. That Really made me annoyed with myself, like and I couldn’t be mad at anybody else about it, even though I tried to blame my husband this one was staying up late and watching television to take my mind off of whatever was going on, because I’d come home from work late and I would have had a day of covering pretty, pretty horrific news during that time, and you know, death counts that were like at a, something I’ve never seen, but just very upsetting Uncertainty that we all went through. And I remember like I’m I was never a tv person, ironically working in television. The last thing I want to do is come home and watch television, no matter what it was. I didn’t want to. I had never watched the sitcoms at night, and every day that I started watching Streaming in Netflix and shows and I used to pry myself to be the person that was like, uh, I don’t watch that show, I don’t watch tv. And then I became like, did you see Ted lasso? And so I, I started staying up late with my phone despite the fact that I know I’m not supposed to have a lot, you know and watching Shows, and straight until it was one of the morning, two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning, and then I became that person that did that. I tried to blame my husband for it and he’s like, but I, I wasn’t up with you watching, that you were doing, you were over there doing that. I don’t know what you were doing. So I realized it was just me. And then when I started to say, okay, that’s not going to be you anymore, you’re going to be the person who gets into bed, reads a book, shots off the light and stops you know, uh, not practicing what you want to preach. And so I think that some of you’re right. Some of those things, um, you know it was happening with the tv shows, like it was eating. I’m like, just another half hour, just another half hour just. And I’m like, who am I? I’m so disappointed. So that habit has been stopped or Smooth over a little bit.

David:

I was listening to these joe dispensatapes the other day. Sure, he’s a pretty out there guy. I like what he says, though, and he’s yeah, he, he has this thing where it’s like well, when you have this sort of thought into your mind, it says like okay, it’s 10 o’clock at night time for guacamole and chips. You just say to yourself change. Oh really that’s it. Well, I don’t know, I find that semi-effective.

Tamsen:

I feel like change. I’m going to go get ice cream, You’re right. What’s the change? I mean, I think you have to really define that.

David:

That’s like yeah so we go from. I think sort of the first step is like inspiration right, we need to be Inspired. We’ve read something, we see something. We just feel like something’s not Happening. Okay, so that’s great, but that’s not going to get us anywhere. So the the next thing is we need to have some kind of plan of action so that when, whenever, the, the trigger or the prompt I love that. The prompt used to be a behaviorist term, now it’s like the dai term.

Tamsen:

It’s chat.

David:

Prompt the thing prompt yeah whenever the prompt yeah, so when that comes up like Okay, so now what am I going to do? What do you say to yourself? It’s you know, you come home from work, you’ve had a hard day, it’s disturbing news, you and you, and you feel the need to sort of self soothe. There’s the chips in the guac. And then that’s like what do you do?

Tamsen:

I actually had the little like urge last night to get, so I was in bed already. I’m like I deserve a snack.

David:

I said those words like I’m 11.

Tamsen:

I deserve a snack. By the way, I was playing a bit. What reading the book? Out, outlive, outlive. Oh yeah, I’m reading the book outlive and I’m like I deserve a snack, really Of all the things, and so I thought you know what I’m going to do. I’m going to continue reading. I’m not going to get out of bed and do that to myself, because I’m going to feel all. I already know the process. So what I did is I looked at the chessboard and I went I’m going to go, I’m going to get up, get a snack. I’m going to have this. I’m going to stand in the kitchen and eat it as soon as it’s gone. I’m going to feel terrible. Then I got to go back and brush my teeth and we get back in bed and keep reading this book. That’s going to make me feel worse about the fact that I had the snack. Or I could just read this and know that tomorrow, maybe I can do it.

David:

And.

Tamsen:

I delayed, I didn’t change. So I changed, but I pushed it off and then I, you know, I haven’t thought about the snack all day until just now, and I don’t really want to snack in the afternoon. It’s like it doesn’t feel, you know, I don’t know, it doesn’t feel daring enough. I want it tonight. That’s what I do.

David:

I dare.

Tamsen:

But I really do try to think about how I’m gonna like the after effect of it, all of it, whether it’s the gym, whether it’s food, whether it’s how much I’m gonna write in my book, whether it’s whether or not I’m going to, you know, waste time. I’m like, how am I gonna feel in 30 minutes, in one hour, in tomorrow? And that’s kind of how I self-correct.

David:

And so I’m just gonna use your instance. You’re in bed and you’ve avoided, you haven’t gone to the refrigerator.

Tamsen:

No snack.

David:

So no snack. And do you acknowledge that to yourself? Do you celebrate in some way and say like hey, Tamsen, you did great, Good job.

Tamsen:

I think I did this morning, I think of this morning, because I had that. You know, I was like, oh, I just felt like, okay, I didn’t feel. You know, when I eat too late, I definitely feel it the next day. Now I just feel I feel it in my mouth, I feel it in my I just I’m not saying oh, my body feels terrible, but it just feels sluggy and I thought like, oh, that was so easy, I’m so glad I did that. You know that’s who I am. I have discipline. But, yeah, I think I celebrate it quietly. I think that there’s other things. You know, if I go to the gym or I do something a little more amazing, I, you know, I sign up for a new class, I go on vacation and the first thing I do every morning is make sure I hit a yoga class. I think I celebrate those bigger things a little bit more than my snack issue. But I think you would for somebody else, right? So somebody, if you call me and say, oh, you just said like, oh, I had to work out of the gym. I’m still stimulated. I think to myself like that’s awesome, good for you, I gotta get there. But we don’t say it to ourselves.

David:

There’s a behaviorist, BJ Fogg, who’s a very fun guy, and he wrote a book called Tiny Habits I read a few years ago and then I heard her. If you’re ever interested in anybody out there, get the audio book where he reads it.

Tamsen:

Nice, okay, I’m always liking those more Okay.

David:

I love it Anyway. So he talks about this idea of celebration and acknowledgement, and that’s one of the keys to creating a new habit is to acknowledge and celebrate. And he does like. He has a whole series of things where he would anytime he like he didn’t want to do pushups, so he would establish a prompt and for him it was every time he peed, which was weird. It’s like, okay, I’m gonna pee, then I’m gonna do a pushup and then after I do the pushup, I’m gonna celebrate. And he has like a word he says Everybody it’s like this sort of joyous thing that he says. But I’ve since read that and I actually do this to myself now which people may look at me oddly I take my right hand and I slap myself on the left shoulder and I go and I tap myself and I just say, good job.

Tamsen:

Oh, I like that.

David:

And it has this like weird it’s essentially my brain thinks it’s the same thing as a teacher, a coach, a parent or somebody patting me on the back and saying good job, like, and it sort of locks it in. There are these videos out there of little kids like toddlers and they put them on skis and they put a mic on them and they let them down the hill to what they’re saying and so little kids have this really active like in their dialogue that they verbalize when the adults are around and the little kid will go. You can do it. You can do it. Great job, you did it.

Tamsen:

Yes, I see those. I see those and they’re not like parents are next to them telling them what to do. Those are real. It’s awesome. It’s awesome.

David:

You can do it to themselves.

Tamsen:

I wonder also if it is. They’ve seen a parents doing that to them, so they’ve got to be obviously doing that because they’ve heard somebody do it to them. But gosh, doesn’t that speak volumes about what we should be doing? Because that is how we succeed in so many ways. And I don’t think we do that Like when, out of the gym, I’m like you suck, last time you did that. I don’t think of like you guys. Some days I am, some days I’m like hello Tamsen, but every once in a while I have those moments or I have things like it’s gonna be a good day, but that’s not the same as oh my gosh, look at you, look what you’re doing. It’s very different.

David:

I become sort of embarrassingly effusive at the gym.

Tamsen:

Right.

David:

When I do something it’s like okay, that was like really hard, and I just sort of stand up and I go like, yes, you did it, it’s so true. I’m sure like all these people in the gym looking like what’s the weird guy doing. It feels really good Like yeah Well.

Tamsen:

I think it’s great. I like that you do that, though with a physical action too, yeah, so then that’s what you do, because, verbal, sometimes you’ll forget or say something different. I like that there’s actually a movement that goes with it, because other movement goes a really long way. Right, I think so Movement goes a long way. I think action, and that’s truly actionable, yeah.

David:

It sort of locks the whole, the emotion, the success, the verbalization. And then there’s like the movement thing. It’s like a little, not quite a dance that I do, but it’s like, yeah, good job, buddy.

Tamsen:

Well, I mean, I think that’s a good thing, though, and that’s what kids would do. That’s what kids would do. I mean, we do have a lot to, you know we do. There’s a lot of things that we can take away from what kids do too. I think Absolutely Like there’s some simplities that we should go back to that we don’t think we think every year we’re supposed to get better at multitasking, but kids are like in whatever moment they’re in.

David:

Right Kids don’t multitask. They’re not worried about what somebody else is thinking no, they’re not multitasking.

Tamsen:

I’m reverting back Like I can’t multitask anymore. As I told you before we jumped on here. Yeah, it’s like becoming a very. Somebody said yeah, some experts said to me recently like oh, you can’t, we fooled ourselves. Our brains can’t do that. No, and I said they can’t, I think I can. And then I went you know what? I think I can’t. No, I forget who I talk to.

David:

I had some scientists talking to me about what they do. But what actually happens when we think we’re multitasking we’re not, we’re always single-tasking. But you’re jumping sort of between railroad tracks and in the jump you disrupt whatever the thing was you were doing before and you think like oh yeah, I can do this and that and the other thing all at the same time. Well, poorly, yeah.

Tamsen:

And you feel like you didn’t get anything done. But that must go back to habit, because don’t you feel like you or at least accomplishment, don’t you feel like you? If you’re really focused on something and you get that, whatever that thing is whether it’s an hour of whatever, a workout or writing, or spending time with a friend or just being outside or being creative, and you really are in that moment Do you ever come out of that and go like I should do that all the time? I should really be focused all the time like that, because I was so accomplished in that time, versus five hours of sitting at your computer like I’m on here, I’m over here, I’m down here, I’m over here, and I think that sometimes we think we’re getting more done than we are.

David:

Yeah, I think that’s sort of a muscle that has been like corrupted by social media and it’s like you like I’ve got to, I know I’ve got to write something. I have to really think and write something, and then it’s like I need to know what’s on Instagram right now.

Tamsen:

Really, I need to know what everybody else in the world is saying about this before I write my thoughts, like what.

David:

Like, just like, come on, just do this.

Tamsen:

Couldn’t agree more with you on that one. That’s yeah.

David:

There’s also this idea of, I think, a lot of us we’re talking about like habit and accomplishment between the longterm and the short term. So and I think that this messes up, messes me up anyway and probably messes up a lot of people this idea that I overestimate what can happen in the short term and I really underestimate what can happen in the longterm. And you know, like I think like oh, I can do these six things. No, you can’t. You need to Like what are the things like. I look at my week list. It’s like 20 things. It’s no, you’re gonna need to like just four. Yeah, four are gonna get done.

Tamsen:

But in six months or a year.

David:

it’s like astonishing. I’m always amazed Like, oh my God, we did that. Do you have that? I do.

Tamsen:

And I think mine came in the form of you know, I keep journals, I keep books like this around with me all the time, Like I’m constantly writing and things. And then I thought like I gotta get rid of a bunch of these things and I went back it happened about two months ago and I went into my closet and I looked and I and I thought you know, I date them like everything’s dated or it’s like you know, and I went, oh my, and a lot of them had just my thoughts, like you got it, you need to get this done and this and you gotta have that. And I looked and I’m like I exceeded that, I don’t need that anymore and I don’t realize. But at the time when I was writing that down it was so overwhelming I couldn’t even, I couldn’t even see outside of the framework of what it was. And I do think that goes back a little bit to what you were talking about with habits, because if we we set that down, if we set something in motion, eventually you’ll get there, just maybe not in our timeframe. Somebody said to me recently we’re both working on our books at the same time and she said something that stuck with me. She said you know, I’m really giving myself a little bit of a break with this because I realized that like it’s gonna get done. So whether it get done in, you know, goes out in three months or six months, there’s not that much of a difference. But I in my head, have this date that I’ve got to hit and I realized that if I’ll be at the end of the six months, it’s not gonna really have made much of a difference and the pressure I put on myself of getting it all done and what’s next and what’s next? And I thought she was right because I, when I was talking about this whole what’s next and coming up next movement, I was always thinking like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, where we are now, but what’s next? And now I realize that, like, where we are in this present moment is what’s really gonna define what’s next, instead of figuring it out and looking too far down the line. I think that’s I mean, I think about you and I when we first talked, right, I think about, like, what we first talked about and how we first met and then where we’ve evolved since and how that the, even the conversation in this space, has changed so unbelievably right, and it’s refreshing and exciting and some people will stay in it for a while. Some people pop in it because it’s popular and then pop out of it. But I do think that it’s exciting to see where this is going to. Even the longevity conversation Well, you know all that stuff menopause, we’re going to say when I first started talking about that, people were like, talking about that, it’s going to be really bad for your career and I thought, oh boy, okay.

David:

Yeah, I also have these giant orange notebooks. They’re like these, like Ben Franklin sort of things that I like all the important stuff. I love it. They’re like I want to keep sort of you know, notes of meetings with people and stuff and the same thing. I’ll look at one from a few years ago and it’s like oh, we did that, yeah, okay, that’s not a problem anymore.

Tamsen:

Or if you wrote that down and it turned out to be even better than what you had written down or ever expected. That’s always a fun. I think that’s always exciting to me.

David:

There’s an expression I’ve heard, I use a lot, and it’s like it comes up in business a lot, like a lot of times, people you know these like startups and they have business plans and projections and it’s just all of someone’s fantasy of what could happen. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we’re just fine. You know, okay, you got a goal, you got a fantasy. That’s great. It’s like driving at night and you can only really see as far as the headlights and we have some idea that, oh, maybe there’s a mountain out there or there’s another state or sort of where we’re going, but in reality we only know like that distance, that’s it.

Tamsen:

That’s exactly right. That’s a good analogy. That’s a good analogy and a true analogy. I also think that, you know, we’ve never been so overexposed to everybody else’s life and everyone else’s everything, so I think that puts a lot more pressure on us, right? I guess I feel like at one point and I remember back to when I was starting out the dating business that I had done there was like the internet, but I don’t know, there wasn’t that much on it and there wasn’t like social media, certainly wasn’t what it is down in Facebook, I think him back in 2008. And so there wasn’t. There wasn’t this constant like seeing what everyone else was doing and comparing and comparing. And I feel like I had more time back then in some ways, because I wasn’t looking at anybody else and I also had a lot more confidence in exactly what I was doing in front of me, because I wasn’t doing that comparative thing. And I feel like we do that quite a bit. I’m guilty of it, for sure, and I hear it from a lot of different people about how to not get sluggish because somebody else, what everybody else is doing, exhaust them. I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook, I’m on TikTok. You know all those places. I don’t know how you stopped that.

David:

I think for us, because we didn’t grow up with it. I think for younger people, I think especially for girls.

Tamsen:

I think it’s insanely damaging. I couldn’t agree more.

David:

I just it’s just like this, like nuclear weapon we’ve put out there for them. My thing is not like young people I deal with like older people, but I see its effect on younger people and I just cringe.

Tamsen:

I see I have a lot of people that come on Instagram that are younger than I realize, like they’re in their 20s, but they’re like thank you for this advice, thank you for talking about. I didn’t have anyone to talk to me about that and that is the only area that it really encourages me. So we try to make sure that anytime we put something out there, if it’s not educational, then at least it’s going to make you smile or just think a little bit. I try to stay away from anybody that’s doing like those. I’m going to put this out there so I get some attention and get people talking and upset Like I have no interest in being a part of it or perpetuating that kind of conversation. And then when I get those comments from girls like that, I’m like oh wow, if I can help them get through six months or a year or a month or a week or a day of feeling insecure or having some confidence or something to look for, then that makes me feel good. But I worry about the flip side of that coin, of the people that are not doing that and are seeing things in a different you know, seeing other things that are out there. It is damaging as adults, sometimes damaging. Imagine trying to process it as a, you know, a teen, a kid, a child, whatever.

David:

Yeah, absolutely. And I was a photographer for a long time. I did like magazine covers and stuff. And not only are supermodels not regular humans, like if you’ve ever met one, they’re just not. They’re like. They’re like. Olympians are not normal athletes, these are not normal humans. They don’t try and compare. But yeah, and then you amp that with vast amount of resources being extended to make them look incredible and retouching. It’s just like no, this is not. It’s not a real thing. I mean, it’s beautiful and it’s, it’s something really lovely to look at, but I’m not going to be an Olympics and I’m never going to be a movie star. It’s just I’m not just. I’m just not going to be one of those people. We just need to sort of accept that, like, that’s okay, like, but somehow social media has made that.

Tamsen:

Oh, I think it’s amplified. I mean it. It can’t even get your arms around it. You know what I mean. It’s just a possibility to even get your arms around how. You know what what that does and how, how, how it affects you in general. You know how it affects any part of decision making. That is always very concerning to me. I think that I’m encouraged by some things that are out there and I’m encouraged by the fact that young girls in particular feel like they they understand how to ask for help, versus our generation, like I don’t feel like I was ever felt a safe zone to ask for help or felt I could talk about being anything less than perceivably perfect. You know, I never. I never felt like I could be vulnerable and in that lasted up until my 30s, four, I don’t know five years ago, three years, really like I was not. I wasn’t doing that on social, I wasn’t involved, I wasn’t. Maybe when I went through my divorce I had no choice because because the media itself was it did it for me. But I but I think that I I am. I am grateful for that because I think that’s important, that you know you have an outlet to ask for help and you can be vulnerable and not feel like you’re going to be judged by doing that, because more people will come to your side than not, you know, if you’re out there. I think that’s important.

David:

I think that’s one of the most valuable lessons that I learned from younger people is they’re. They’re openness, they’re willing to ask, they’re willing to ask for help. Yep and their, their value system is something to be admired, and yeah, their share, their shareability factors.

Tamsen:

I mean they’re they’re willing to share. You know, and I and I’ve learned that, especially through this space and I’m working on the this book and I, when I go back to some things and I talk about it, I’m like I have to give it up to to people that were in generations that came after me, because they’re the ones that taught me that it was okay to be sharing what I was going through and I had no idea that’s what they were teaching me. I mean that that is a hundred percent what they taught me.

David:

Yeah, it’s something that I think especially like as a guy. Being my age, I think that it’s really difficult for guys my age to like get their minds around that.

Tamsen:

The sharing part.

David:

Yeah, I think women it’s easier. I think, naturally and it’s something that I find that you know, I’ll be with like a group of guys and I’ll say something, and they’re not quite sure how to react to what should they back away?

Tamsen:

Are we comfortable here?

David:

Are we? Yeah, Are you like? Is it okay hanging out with you? We’re not sure.

Tamsen:

I know you’re right about that. It’s funny. I said to my husband, I said, hey, I said there’s this, there’s people that are doing a podcast and it’s for women and they know that I had talked about my dad and my brother and you all you know, really being an advocate in this menopause space for me and they want to talk to both of us. And he goes like that, he’s 11 years old and he’s like why, what no, what no? And I go, but we do it’s not, it’s not going to be like goofy, it’s not going to be like what I do on social, it’s going to be like an educational, you know. And then I’m like, oh, I have to sell this differently. If I’m going to get a yes and I go, it’s to teach other people and that’s what it really is. And he was okay, I can teach, I’m not going to share and I go okay.

David:

Oh, I love the reframing. Oh, that’s really good.

Tamsen:

I was like, oh, and then I went like this Good for you, Tamsen. Oh that’s really good.

David:

That’s a ninja move. That was good.

Tamsen:

That was really quick too, because I had like a limited amount of time and I’m like I gotta write this ship. This is not going well.

David:

Plus, I already said yes to her, so you know what are the habits that you know, you talk a lot about? This is the stuff that I used to do. This doesn’t work for me anymore and I do this new stuff. So what are the sort of habits that you’ve developed lately, that you practice, that are like part of you, who you are now?

Tamsen:

I mean, I think that I think one of them really is focusing on doing one thing at a time. That’s like kind of a big one. The other one is the comparison game that I that I talked about. It’s really I. I work at it every day, and I admittedly work at it every day. Every time some new thing comes out, I’m like, oh why I didn’t think of that, or you know, so I really I really try to not do that to myself and I because when I was younger I definitely did that. I think one of the more recent habits that I’ve tried to to implement is to make sure that my going to sleep and waking up in the morning is kind of a set, that I’m setting a pattern, because I feel like that’s forever. You know, that’s not a I’m going to do it this week and hope it’s okay, like it’s going to only get more important to me to have that, you know, in place, and so I’m really trying to figure out what that routine looks like, because I used to be the girl that was like I got four hours of sleep last night and I have two red bulls and an energy drink on top of that, you know, and I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t think she’s cool, I’m putting her away and then, you know, I want to also be a somebody that lifts other women up, and I think that’s become like that drum beats, gotten louder and louder in my, my, my head recently, like I really I feel like I want to be that girl that somebody says hey Tamsen, help elevate my voice, and and and that’s why it’s out. You know, I just I just feel like that’s important to me to not be like gotta be all me, I gotta do it. I want to elevate those voices and I’ve felt a much larger and much more important sense of community as a result of that, and I love it. It gets me like really excited and feel good. I mean I think you and I do that. I mean I think that I really I’m taking time to appreciate the people around me and I I want to make time for them and never be too busy and never. You know, I want to do that. That’s who I want to be. I really like what you said, like who am I now? That’s who I want to be, and you know, then, of course, the wellness basis is been a big one. I went back to school for that. I took, you know, like a year of courses for IIN and and you know, do I know everything? No, but I, I feel like I’m trying to implement those, some of those practices, into my, you know, into my daily life, and and so that they’re long term and not short term, because when you know your why right, when you know your why?

David:

it’s the thing. Yeah, know your why?

Tamsen:

Yeah.

David:

That powers everything. It powers, everything it powers everything and it’s hard to get like like. That can take a little while to clear on the why.

Tamsen:

Yeah, 100%, it’s, it’s, it’s the other comparison thing, and then not forgiving myself if it’s not done in this timeframe. That’s my imaginary time frame, my make believe. That’s my make believe timeframe.

David:

I just try to time tracking app. Like my wife use the time tracking app and it works really well for her. It’s every 20 minutes this like little ding goes off and she does something else. So I tried that. By the end of the day I was a crazy person like, oh my God, oh my God, I can, I can, I can like two minutes At the end of the day she’s like this doesn’t work for you.

Tamsen:

This is not working for me because it’s not working for you. Yeah, that would make me Phrased like there’s no way. I don’t need a time, I have it already. I’m like today I wake up in the morning, so this is what I do do, which is probably my own time track I look at my list of all my appointments and, instead of relying on my calendar to beep or whatever it is that, put the time in there, you know. So I knew we were going to talk today and then I set it back 10 minutes. So I know for the next 10 minutes, before we’re going to talk, I either look at the website or look at your podcast, or look at whatever it is, whatever the conversation is going to be, if I can get reacquainted in that moment, because if I don’t do that, I’m going to be on and be like, hey, what are we, what are you doing today? And I don’t want to be that breathless, anxious ball of whatever it is that I did for a very long time.

David:

This comparison thing. So there’s one particular person sort of peripherally in our world and he really bugs me and it’s not like it’s ridiculous. So he says things that are not particularly bad there’s not the basis in reality that he makes them out to be and so about three or four times a week, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll be in my mind writing an imaginary blog post about how messed up this is, and what I’ve come to realize is like this has nothing to do with this other person. This is me anxious about something else. It’s just this like distraction in my brain about well, I’m really worried about whatever is happening in the next three weeks and I’m not prepared. So I’m going to shift all my attention onto this other person and make them whatever and just like lash out at them rather than like do this thing. It’s absurd and I, like I so often I wake up in the morning and it’s like, oh my God, like how much did you think about this in the night? Can you please stop this? And just like get on with it.

Tamsen:

I have it too, though, but I’ve had it before. It’s absurd. My husband’s like if you spent all the time that you spend looking at that, you would be way ahead. I’m like I was writing, I’d be like so behind it, and he was like if you spent half the time? And I go, I know that, you think I don’t know that. I know that, but you know, I think that it’s because the access is so much easier. You wouldn’t even know what that person was saying. It was like in the newspaper once a year, how it used to be. Or maybe the person that have voiced on a radio show. But now, since we all have our own TV stations and radio shows and podcast show, we all have our own platform, it’s a lot easier to be like. This is the problem, not me. This is the problem.

David:

You know, what I’m going to do is I’m going to blame it on the meta algorithm that keeps putting this person in my feed all the time, and it’s-.

Tamsen:

And basically somebody would like unfollow them. I’ve done that too, and I just type in their name and I just type in their name.

David:

He’s a perfectly fine person, Like there’s nothing wrong. He’s probably helps a lot of people and somehow he’s just gotten into my head as just like I need to correct this wrong, Like no, shut up and get on with my-.

Tamsen:

I can help you with that offline. I have been there, I have done it, but I know I get it, I get it. Sometimes you need somebody else to see you.

David:

Yeah.

Tamsen:

We can see us only so much.

David:

Yeah, that’s so true.

Tamsen:

And sometimes you need somebody else to see you, and so find somebody else that you respect to see you for you. I really believe that.

David:

I had a mental health professional tell me not in a mental health setting, but I like it at a dinner party. We were talking and she said all human beings have three core, fundamental delusions about themselves. And they just do. And because they’re core and they’re delusions, we can’t see them. And they’re things that we absolutely believe true about ourselves and they’re not. And the only possible way we can illuminate these things unless you’re Buddha, it’s not going to happen by just sort of sitting there and thinking about it. You know an outside person to say to you this thing that you think this is not true.

Tamsen:

You are not in reality.

David:

No, it’s true, you can get really nuts like that.

Tamsen:

Oh, there’s no question about it, and it’s only. The access is just that much easier. It’s just that much easier to have access. That’s the problem.

David:

And you know and you can act on it, right.

Tamsen:

Oh sure, Instantaneously. Yeah right, you don’t have to leave your table.

David:

No, you’re picking the phone. Boom, not good.

Tamsen:

Yeah, it’s so true. I’m so glad we have each other and other people like this to be able to share honestly and be like oh, I’m not alone.

David:

Do you want to tell anybody about your book that you’re working on? Is this a secret?

Tamsen:

I would love to. Yeah, we haven’t locked down the title yet, because usually that comes, you know, at the back end of when we go into the next process. But yeah, I sold the book to Heshet and it’s going to. We’re deciding when it’s going to come out, but it’ll be out in the next year. It’s going to be out in the next year and I’m going to be able to share with you what it looks like and it’s about menopause and it’s about, you know, I’m not a doctor, as we know, but I just feel like I have been surrounded by so many brilliant minds and thought leaders in this space and I want to do what I know how to do best. I know how to interview, I know how to simplify and I know how to bring voices forward. And that’s what I want to do, because I I, every day, I have an inbox full of you know, literally hundreds of stories of menopause. You know some about relationships, some about midlife, but all of them revolve around three themes which is midlife, menopause and meaning. That’s really kind of what they’re all about, and so that’s what the book is, and I’m so excited to be able to teach women from all ages how to advocate for themselves, how to find their voice in this space at this time, even when it feels like they couldn’t even bear, to pick their head up off the pillow and to let them know they’re not alone. And I didn’t have a mom to do that. You know, I lost my mom early. I don’t even know when exactly she went through menopause I think it was after cancer treatment and so I feel like I didn’t have that. I don’t have a daughter to send that onto. I feel like a big sister in so many ways to this community, and that’s what I’m excited about. I feel like the book is almost crowdsourced by the community that we’ve built on social media.

David:

Your mom had breast cancer. Is that right?

Tamsen:

She did. Yeah, she had. My mom had breast cancer when she was 44 and she died at 51. You know, that was always my fear. That was the only thing I ever thought about, was nervous about or thought, was even a concern for my future, until I ran into perimenopause and then menopause and then I realized, oh wow, this is a whole, another part of life that you need to start paying attention to and take seriously, because it was affecting a lot of you know everything affecting my career, affecting my relationships, affecting how I slept. And I was talking to a friend last night and she said do you remember when your hair was falling out, like you know, five or six years ago? And I said I don’t, I don’t know, and she goes. Oh, yeah, she goes. It would you know. You would just pull your hand through it and it would just fall out. And that was because I was like lacking estrogen. I was like I was going through all these chains, I had no idea, and so, um, yeah, so anyway, that’s my, what I’ve been able to put together as what I feel like my purpose is. You know, I think we all go through life and I think it kind of found me. I certainly wasn’t looking for it, I certainly wasn’t like pause, that might be an interesting thing to look into. It was literally the first thing from my mind. I didn’t. I literally never thought about it. So, um, yeah, I, I, I don’t know. And so when we go back to social media for a moment, those stories that come to me affected me and, um, and I feel like there’s a lot of people that don’t know where to ask for help or who to ask for help, or what to ask and the OBGYNs are um, they’re just like overwhelmed with other stuff you know for issues and all kinds of stuff.

David:

And you know, I think I heard they get like a day or two days of training.

Tamsen:

Nothing like nothing, and it’s. They have to self-learn.

David:

Yeah.

Tamsen:

I talked to one that said she the patient came in, asked her a bunch of questions in their like 18 minute visit on average and she was like I’ll be right back. She said I went and I Googled for questions.

David:

Right, right.

Tamsen:

And so for her to admit it makes me go oh, thank you for being a real person and not having this thing where you think you know everything. But also, how scary is that? So I thought, well, if they’re Googling it and they’re learning it, and they’re and this is something that we all have to learn for ourselves too so we know how to ask the right questions. Because it’s inevitable that you’re going to walk into a doctor’s office and it’s not going to be the match. You know you’re not going to match. You’re going to go in there and you have a bunch of questions and they’re either not going to have the answers, not know how to treat it, not be willing to ask her or scribe hormones, not know. You know really what you’re dealing with and so you’ve got. I think advocating for yourself at this time in life is more important than ever, because it’s also a time that you’re, you know, searching for a lot of different things yourself and I think your confidence takes a little bit of a day.

David:

I think a lot of this has to do with I don’t like this word too much but the patriarchy. Yeah, I know medicine is run that I can’t imagine, if men went through something similar, that this would be top of mind.

Tamsen:

No, I mean, it’s like women were in a part of studies until the 90s, you know, or mandatory had to be part of health studies, and then just some of the numbers. I’m like, wait a minute, that was this century. I was like that wasn’t just a century, I was in college. It just it doesn’t even make sense. Actually I was working, I wasn’t even college anymore. I was like it’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable and I don’t want to be the person that’s like I can fix the world. I don’t think I can, but I think I can help be a voice in it and that’s what I want to do.

David:

My only advice in this area which I’m not a scientist, I’m a doctor, I’m not a woman, but is when you’re talking to a practitioner and if you’re asking questions like I think I want my hormone levels tested, or I think something might not be right and you’re told maybe antidepressants are good or you’re fine or something like that. Just leave Just like 100%. There’s somebody else out there who’s better for you.

Tamsen:

It was all I could say yeah, I mean that’s the thing, because we were scared to question yeah.

David:

Yeah, tamsen, thank you so much. I wish this was video, because you’re such a great video presence.

Tamsen:

Well, we’ll, maybe we’ll do it on. We’ll do it on IG live too.

David:

Okay, absolutely, yeah, I would love that. I would love that.

Tamsen:

It has such a good time talking to you. You know that.

David:

You’re just, you’re right in my day. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that.

Tamsen:

If you want offline, about that other thing, I’m going to tell you. I’m going to tell you who you are from the outside.

David:

Oh my God, I’m already for that, okay.

Tamsen:

It’s good. It’s good Okay.

David:

All right, I’m up for it, but we’re going to do it offline. I don’t want the world to know who I actually am.

Tamsen:

No, I know I’m the only one who doesn’t know. They know, trust me, it’s just you need the info.

David:

Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

Tamsen:

Okay, me too Thanks.

David:

Such a lovely conversation with Tamsen. She’s one of those people that, at least with me, helps me feel better about myself and, you know, if you’re looking for a friend, that’s a really good value to look for. Check her out on Instagram. We’ll put the link down below and we’re going to get with. Just try this. After a quick word from our sponsor, today’s show is brought to you by SRW laboratories out of New Zealand. Their vision is to extend human health span. Srw labs curates the very latest in science and research to formulate premium nutraceuticals that support your cellular health, especially as you age. Working with their scientific advisory board, they seek to understand and address the causes of aging at a cellular level, providing support across 12 bodily systems with an approach that is unique to SRW. They know that doing one thing well, such as eating healthily, won’t have the desired effect on your health. This is why SRW seeks to educate people on the factors that influence aging and, more importantly, biological age. Use the code AGEIST20 at checkout and save 20% off any order. Go to SRWCOCODE notcom. Use the code AGEIST20 at checkout, save 20% on all their products this weekend. Just try this, and this is going to sound a little funny, but what I would like you to do is to think about adding some healthy inefficiency into your life, to add some extra energy into things, and what I mean by that is so you’re going to go to the grocery store Okay great. Don’t park as close as possible. Maybe park a little further back. You’ll get some more steps. Rather than order 200 envelopes online from Amazon, maybe just go to the local UPS store and buy an envelope, or buy 10 envelopes. Get to talk to somebody there, isn’t that great? Rather than send somebody a three-word text, why don’t you call them and say like hey, how are you? I think a lot of our emphasis on efficiency these days we’re losing out on so much. We’re losing out on taking steps, we’re losing out on exercise, we’re losing out on human connection. So this week, just try and add a little inefficiency into your life. Take the stairs, don’t take the elevator. See how that feels. Not everything is about saving time. Sometimes spending extra time and spending extra energy is actually better in the long run. Thank you for joining us on the show this week. It is great to have you with us. I want to just tell each and every one of you how much I respect your time and attention, that you join us every week here. It really means a lot to me, and thank you all for reaching out to me. I love your emails. For anybody who wants to, david at superagecom, you just hit me up directly. And, of course, if you like the show, you can hey guess what Leave us up to a five star review. We love that. Leave us a comment and if you want to be a real hero, share the show with somebody that you know and you care about. Until next week, everyone, have a wonderful week. We’ll see you then.





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