Breaking Down Our 40s with Amy Nobile

EPISODE 2

I met Amy many years ago while on vacation on Nantucket. She was on a lounge chair reading and her kids were playing independently in the pool. My kids were little and still needing lots of attention. I looked at her and asked when I would be able to do that...she told me in about "ten years".

Amy Nobile
Amy Nobile

Well, she was right! Her books helped me laugh off many things when my kids were young, even the titles made me laugh. "I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids" and "I'd Trade My Husband For A Housekeeper", "Dirty Little Secrets From Otherwise Perfect Moms". They allow you to feel free and know that you're not perfect and we are all going through this together. Then recently, she wrote a book called "Just When You're Comfortable in Your Own Skin, It Starts to Sag: Rewriting the Rules to Midlife" and of course I read it in a day and it inspired the idea behind my podcast. While I'm a fine jewelry designer by day, many years ago (2005) I had a blog, podcast and eventual radio show and I loved connecting with other women. This is my way of giving back to other women and educating them to live a happier next chapter. I know some amazing women and have some experience and feel that I can help, but I want to learn along with you. Our 40's is this odd time in our lives that no one discusses. We are dealing with hormones, aging parents, kids who are on their way to being tweens and teens, long term marriages with little support and just trying to find a way to enjoy this next chapter. I want to help women now, so that we can really enjoy the next chapter of life to the fullest.


Amy is a best-selling Oprah featured co-author of four books, all designed to empower and inspire women at various stages of their lives. She’s also the co-founder of ASH + AMES, a company showcasing unique jewelry handmade by various female artisans around the globe.

Amy’s latest venture is Love, Amy - a Dating Concierge service that marries the technology of modern day dating with a holistic view of human to human energy and connection.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Doryn Wallach:

Welcome to the very first episode of It's Not A Crisis. I'm your host, Doryn Wallach, and I am very excited to get this started. And I'm so grateful that you're joining me for this first episode. This podcast is for women in their 40s, who are navigating the joys and the challenges of midlife and learning to make the most of it.


Amy Nobile:

Another piece of advice that we sort of give women at this stage is, we all have these visions in our head of things that we've had on our bucket list forever, or it can be big or small, and really commit, like choose three things that you want to do or try. It could be learning guitar, it can be taking a trip.


Doryn Wallach:

Our very first guest today is Amy Nobile. Amy inspired this entire podcast and I'm going to quickly tell you how I met Amy. We were on vacation, and I saw Amy sitting at a hotel with her kids. And she was peacefully reading a magazine on her lounge chair, and my kids were like toddlers and they were climbing me and had a lot of needs. I looked at Amy and her kids were playing in the pool and she was relaxed. And I said, "When will I get to do that? How long until my kids will let me do that?" And it was really funny because I was just on vacation in December and I texted Amy a picture of my 12-year-old daughter reading a magazine on the chair like, "It's happening."

She did laugh and reassure me that soon enough it would happen. So we started to chat and I loved her immediately. One of the things that I loved about her is that she was just very real and honest. We had started talking and Amy told me that she had written a book called I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. I had read the book, and I said to her, "Oh my God. I love that book because it's so brutally honest in a wonderful way that it gave women permission to just feel what we were feeling and not feel alone." And by the way, I still use that quote all the time when I am with a woman who is not a parent who's super judgmental. And I always say, "I was a really good mom too before I had kids." I swear I use it all the time.

So Amy is a best-selling, Oprah-featured co-author of four books all designed to empower and inspire women at various stages of their lives. The first book that I mentioned, I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, then came I Would Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper, also genius title, and Dirty Little Secrets From Otherwise Perfect Moms. She's also the co-founder of ASH & AMES, a company showcasing unique jewelry handmade by various female artisans around the globe. Amy's latest adventure, which is also brilliant is called Love, Amy, a dating concierge service that marries the technology of modern day dating with a holistic view of human to human energy and connection. And if she'll come back, I'm definitely having her back on to talk about that topic. I have gotten, I think I've told you just countless messages on Instagram from women who want to know about dating in their 40s and 50s, so that'd be great.


Amy Nobile:

Amazing.


Doryn Wallach:

So Amy's most recent book that she co-authored with her best friend, Trisha Ashworth, Just When You're Comfortable in Your Own Skin, It Starts to Sag. Another genius title. I was probably dealing with some things in my own life, and I'd seen on social media that Amy had written this book. And I read it in one night. It's a very easy read for a lot of us that are busy and don't have time to read a self-help book. I was able to read it very quickly. It's a wonderful mix of quizzes to make yourself check in as well as candid and honest quotes by women on many different topics about midlife and just tons of great advice. It's really great. Honestly, I love it so much. I just showed Amy my book, and there are little folded pages, notes, arrows, exclamation points.


Amy Nobile:

That's my favorite.


Doryn Wallach:

Really? So Amy, I am so happy for you to be here and I'm so happy that you took a chance on me for my first podcast.


Amy Nobile:

I'm thrilled to be here. You're phenomenal, and this is going to be a huge success so I'm so happy to be here.


Doryn Wallach:

Thank you. I'm a little nervous today, so I just wanted to mention that this might not be my best hormones.


Amy Nobile:

It's probably [crosstalk 00:04:23].


Doryn Wallach:

It's definitely hormones. I mean 100%.


Amy Nobile:

Anxiety hormones, they all go together, so let's just embrace that.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay. So I want to start by asking you since you inspired my podcast with your book, what inspired you to write this book?


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. So Trisha, as you mentioned, my best friend and co-author and co-teammate in all the ventures, we were kind of feeling stuck in our own lives. And we were in the middle of this jewelry venture ASH & AMES, and at no point should we have thought about writing a book. We were knee deep in this whole entrepreneurial thing. But we were feeling like, it was sort of this perfect storm. Like, "Hold on. What is going on?" Our hormones were going crazy. We had like early teenagers who were driving us insane. And they started to become hormonal. We had aging parents who were starting to need us in different ways. Our husbands were kind of going a little sideways in terms of like, where were we each on each other's priority list?

So everything just started to unravel and we're in the middle of this venture. We looked at each other and we thought, "Okay. We might have to start interviewing women to see if this is a thing, or if this is just once again us being crazy." And we had to do it in secret, because our husbands were like... My ex-husband and my husband at the time, and Trisha's husband looked at us like, "You can't take your eye off the ball. What are you doing?" So we started interviewing women in secret, and sure enough, we started hearing themes. And we looked at each other one day and said, "We have to write a book." And we did it in total secrecy. We flew out to San Francisco, we pitched our publisher, we got the book deal all in secret.


Doryn Wallach:

That's amazing.


Amy Nobile:

And we just knew that this was we had to write a book that was the roadmap that our mothers literally did not have to give us.


Doryn Wallach:

This just popped in my head but, why do you think that women can't talk about this stage? It's just, it's like the secret that we felt so comfortable talking about all these other stages of our lives, and now all of a sudden we have to shut up.


Amy Nobile:

It is really weird. It sort of does I think stem from this perfectionistic generation, where we feel like we're really, really lucky that we have choices in our lives that our moms didn't have. And so we have to make all the right choices, and if we don't make the right choices, then it's our fault. And so there's this shroud of secrecy around the struggles that we have. And again, our mothers are not role models for us. So we just think we're strange, we think something's wrong with us. And because we're not talking about it with each other, it just manifests and becomes worse. So it's just so imperative that we have one another to talk about and just blow the doors open on this topic.


Doryn Wallach:

I agree. And also one of the reasons I called the podcast, It's Not A Crisis, is because I think it is scary. You turned 40 and you start to get a little... I actually don't even think it's 40, I think it's a little after 40. You start to get a little nervous like, "My kids aren't needing me as much. Life is changing a little bit. What's going to happen when I don't have as much to do? What's going to happen to my marriage? What's going to happen to my friendships?" And it's all very scary. My parents. But I wanted to create this so that we weren't looking at it as doom. It wasn't a crisis. We can make the most of these years and we have to look at them in a positive way. There's enough negativity in the world.


Amy Nobile:

Well, and again the thing is, I mean the second half of our lives could be the better half. And that's a revelation for our generation. If you look at our moms and that generation, it's like they kind of hung up the muumuu and said, "All right. I checked the boxes," and they kind of let themselves go for the most part and really didn't prioritize themselves and certainly didn't think big and dream big.


Doryn Wallach:

Can I interrupt that? Have you met my mother? Because she definitely did not let herself go.


Amy Nobile:

Well, that's why you're so phenomenal. There you go. She's like, there's always the exception, right?


Doryn Wallach:

My mom is on an Instagram handle that I manage, My Mom Arlene on Instagram. You'd see her. If you look that up, you'll see that she definitely did not let herself go. But I hear you. What we look like at our age is not for the most part [crosstalk 00:08:36], what they were doing.


Amy Nobile:

So most of us are walking around questioning whether we A, can prioritize ourselves at all, B, do we have permission to reinvent ourselves personally and professionally? What we found is most women feel like they don't have permission. If they do, they're not sure how to go about the process. And so that was a huge theme in our book too.


Doryn Wallach:

So tell me, if you were going to give our listeners, if we were going to set the groundwork for this entire podcast, what are things that you would like them to know that we can look forward to or ways that we can enrich our lives and make them better at this stage?


Amy Nobile:

Yeah, it's interesting. This may sound a little strange but we would ask women to prioritize everyone in their lives, and they would consistently leave themselves off that list. And so the first step to really embracing this part of your life that can be the better half, is to prioritize yourself. What does that mean? We throw around the word self-care a lot, which I think is becoming a little bit ubiquitous. It's sort of hard to define. Well, what does that mean? Does that mean yoga? Does that mean a facial?


Doryn Wallach:

Does it mean wine?


Amy Nobile:

Does it mean a lot of wine? On a daily basis at noon. No. I mean, but really it's who do you want to become and what does that look like? And how do you start to get there? And really looking inward and figuring out sort of what's missing for yourself. That can mean doing a little meditation, really, really getting real with yourself. It can mean going away on a silent weekend. It can mean just reading and figuring out where you are in your life and where you want to go. And that, you really can only meet other people as deeply as you've met yourself. And at this point in our lives, we have given everything to everybody. We have given to our kids, we have given to our husbands, we have given to our parents, we have given to our friends. And to really literally stop everything and take a look inward, it's scary. It's really scary to do. But it's necessary to move forward.


Doryn Wallach:

And I think it's really necessary to start that in your early 40s, because I think that if you can learn those, you can learn how to take care of yourself now. I think when you're, if you're a mom or if you're not a mom, I think at that point in life, things change no matter what. And I think that you need to have those tools, not all of a sudden be left with them at some point when your kids go to college, and then you're looking at yourself like, "Oh God. What now?"


Amy Nobile:

Absolutely. And that's why so many marriages fail at that point too. Because you look at each other, you haven't done the work individually, you certainly haven't done the work together, and that's why a lot of women end up feeling really, really alone and scared. So that first step is looking inward and honoring who you are, and reevaluating the relationship you have with yourself. So that's really it. And then from there, then you can start to reevaluate your relationships with others. So what does your relationship look like with your friends? A lot of times we hang out to friendships that aren't so healthy and a little bit toxic even, and they're reflecting back on us. Versus, pruning some of those friendships and choosing carefully.

Again, looking at your marriage if you're married. What does that look like? And are you truly, truly fulfilled and happy? Can you do something to fix it? Is it time to let it go? And that happened to me when I was in the course of writing this book. I realized I had to leave my marriage of 20 years. I couldn't write this book in good faith honoring other women and not face my own challenges. So it ended up being the best thing I've ever done in my life.


Doryn Wallach:

Good for you. Good for you.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. But tough. And with your family too, and your children if you have kids. What is that relationship? Has it become codependent? Has it become one-sided? Have you given them the wings to fly at this point? And if you haven't, you need to take a look at that.


Doryn Wallach:

I love, love, love, love this point. I also feel like just coming into your 40s, you do start to get a little bit of like, "I just don't give a crap anymore about anything."


Amy Nobile:

And we swear seriously.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. We do swear. We can totally swear. I feel like you definitely start to get rid of friendships. I think you definitely look at the relationship with your kids, trying to teach them more independence. I think my kids get angry with me when I try to teach them independence, which is so interesting.


Amy Nobile:

Like they're so dependent on you and they don't want the end.


Doryn Wallach:

Sometimes they do and then sometimes they don't. I think more times they don't want the independence because they want something to be done for them.


Amy Nobile:

Right. We've conditioned them, right?


Doryn Wallach:

We've conditioned them. But I'm a true believer in doing that, because I do think about just a short time my daughter's in sixth grade, she's going to be in college. I mean, it's not that far away.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. No, it's true. So that's really, really important. And again, knowing that you have permission to reinvent yourself, you have permission to make these tough choices. I think permission was a big word that we found that women were afraid. Do I? Can I? Do I have permission to make these huge choices? And giving yourself permission to think a little differently than you thought in the past to make choices that maybe your friends wouldn't make, to make choices that are really scary for you. And dream big and think about, do you really, really want that job? Do you want to keep that job you've had for 20 years because your mom thinks you're a really good event planner? It's like, how do you gain permission and courage to make some of these choices?


Doryn Wallach:

I have a funny story to tell you that is really interesting. I have a friend who's a wonderful personal stylist, and she's got great taste and not necessarily what I would expect for my own taste. And I think that she pushes my boundaries a little bit. And I love that about her. She came into my closet in the fall, and I was like, "Listen. Can you just put together some outfits for me?" Because remember share and coolest, how she had the computer where she would just not afraid to pick her outfit?


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. That's like dreamy.


Doryn Wallach:

I was like, "I want that. I mean, I just want that."


Amy Nobile:

Can you see that?


Doryn Wallach:

So she took a bunch of... Her name's Nicole Russo. I will give you her information. I actually will have her on the show at some point. And she put together a bunch of outfits for me. And she calls me, and at the time I was doing a lot of personal work. I was feeling everything that we're talking about. She called me up, she said, "I have to tell you something, and don't take it personally. I think it'll actually help you and I hope I'm not saying too much. But I feel like by looking at your closet, you're living in two different worlds." She said, "I feel like half your closet is kind of what your mom expects you to be, and the other half is totally who you are." And she said, "I know that sounds really crazy." I said, "You are so right."


Amy Nobile:

Wow, that's a cool diagnosis.


Doryn Wallach:

It was really interesting, because I think that plays out in a lot of places. Not that my mom is not wonderful and I love her, but I think it's about, I think I always envied my mom and looked up to my mom. She was such a role model for me that I think a lot of times in my head, "Who is Doryn, and who is Doryn supposed to be?" Even though she's always let me be who I am. It's a hard thing to explain, but yeah.


Amy Nobile:

Totally. And we talk about this in the book, like really reevaluate the expectations that you have for your life, and where are they coming from? In our 40s and beyond, we hold on to these expectations. And once you break it down, really think about it. Take a piece of paper, write them out. You're able to sort of see what you really want versus what others want for you. And then you can start to shift your decision making and make different choices for yourself moving forward. But it's yeah, that's a real thing.


Doryn Wallach:

I love that. Okay. What else? Give us some more. This is great.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. So really thinking about the things that are meaningful to you at this point in your life. And what I mean by that is really like the things that feed your soul. It's a really hard thing to sit down and ponder, and you certainly can't do it in one sitting, but what are the things that bring you joy, like really make your heart sing? At this point in our lives, we really haven't done that kind of thinking, we haven't been allowed to. We don't have the time to do that. But taking even if it's a few hours on a Saturday, and really...

There's this great book that my friend wrote, and you actually should have her on this podcast, and the book is called Manifesting Made Easy. And it's about manifesting what you want in your life. I actually did this work a couple of years ago. Over a weekend, I got a journal, it's a workbook, and you sit down and you just follow the prompts. It was stunning to me how I really wasn't living the life that I wanted to live. And if you go back and read that journal from two years ago, it is my life today. My life is completely different than it was personally and professionally. And so it really is imperative that we, again take the time to start thinking that way.


Doryn Wallach:

Amen.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah, yeah. And I think a lot of women at this stage are so scared of failure. And maybe we've failed in our lives thus far, or feel like we failed in certain ways. We're certainly afraid of making mistakes. It's okay to embrace the failure. A lesson that Trisha and I learned with our jewelry company, it's like, "Fail fast. If you're going to fail, fail fast and keep moving." We found that was a theme with these perfectionistic women in this generation is that the fear of failure really is holding us back.


Doryn Wallach:

And I also think that we can do no right. I know that my friends who are stay-at-home moms feel like they could be doing more, and my friends that are working feel like they could be with their kids more, or they could be doing better in their career. It's like we're never satisfied. I think that's a really large thing that women our age struggle with, is just never feeling 100%, and on top of guilt about everything.


Amy Nobile:

Truly. I mean, you cannot have it all at once. You really can't. And I think there's a huge myth in this generation that, "We're so lucky. We can have it all."


Doryn Wallach:

You're a little bit older than me, do you feel like you're starting to give up that notion knowing that you can't have it all?


Amy Nobile:

I kind of feel like I have it all at the moment, but I didn't always. I think it took a lot of time.


Doryn Wallach:

That's wonderful. I'm so happy to hear that.


Amy Nobile:

Thank you. I feel so lucky and blessed and take not one day for granted. But it did take a while. It took a while to sort of tackle each element of my life. First, I had to really tackle the personal challenges and I had to disengage from a 20 year marriage and 26 year relationship. And then I had to really think about professionally, what I wanted in my life and what would bring me joy. And I really am living that dream now. But a year and a half ago I met the love of my life and completely rocked both of our worlds.


Doryn Wallach:

I almost want to save the story for our episode on dating because I think it'll be so good, so I'm going to keep you guys in suspense for how she met him.


Amy Nobile:

Totally. Exactly. Because it's a good story. Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

I assume that though at some point in your life, in your marriage, that wasn't the first time that you had this realization.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah. I mean, the marriage part it gets hard. I mean, it's no surprise the divorce rate is super high, and more divorces happen the older we get. It sort of plateaus. After the kids leave, you either figure it out real fast or you don't. Marriage is really, really tough because unless you were self-actualizing individually, which most of us are not when we're in the throes of raising children, and we're neglecting the relationship or not prioritizing, everybody talks about date night. Well, that's fine. If you're going out and you're watching a movie, and then you're coming back and putting the kids to... Like that's not really going to help your relationship.

So what does it mean to sort of work on yourselves individually and then work together? That almost never happens. And so, we found in researching this book that women were stunned when we asked them the question, like how do you prioritize your marriage? What are you doing to nourish it? And we would hear just silence.


Doryn Wallach:

No, because at the end of the day, especially when you have children and a business or whatever else, you've given everything to everybody, and they come last.


Amy Nobile:

And you really hope that it will just be okay, like you hope that you guys will just kind of come back around. And once the kids are more independent, you'll have more time together. And it's actually the reverse. It's really, if you haven't nourished the relationship, you tend to sort of veer off on your own paths. It just erodes over time usually, and so it's just, it's really important to take a look at.


Doryn Wallach:

It's work too. I remember before I got married, I've been married almost 17 years, and I remember before I got married someone said, "Oh, marriage is work." And then I was in my first year, and I'm like, "This isn't work."


Amy Nobile:

"It shouldn't be work."


Doryn Wallach:

"It shouldn't be work." I think that that doesn't happen until after you have kids, and then it almost doesn't happen until the kids are a little older and you can come up for air. And then you say, "Oh, okay. We need to reconnect. We need to spend time getting to know each other again in a different way. We need to travel alone. We need to maybe get into couples therapy and kind of rediscover each other." I think to mothers with little kids, I think it's important to note that you can get that reconnection, But I think it's-


Amy Nobile:

Well, also it's you. What are we modeling?


Doryn Wallach:

Right.


Amy Nobile:

We're trying to raise little human beings to have good healthy relationships. So if we're not paying attention to our relationship, and they're watching that.


Doryn Wallach:

Absolutely.


Amy Nobile:

I remember with my ex, I think our firstborn was maybe six months old, we went away for the weekend. And the immense judgment that we faced from people going like, "I can't believe they're leaving him. Oh my God."


Doryn Wallach:

Oh God. We did that all the time. And we still do it all the time.


Amy Nobile:

Which is great, but it's very rare.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, it is. It is.


Amy Nobile:

And so but remembering that you're modeling a healthy relationship. And so by you prioritizing that, you're helping your kids.


Doryn Wallach:

I always say to my kids, "Why are you going out?" I say, "Because daddy and I are going on a date. Daddy and I love to spend time together. And if you want us to be a better mommy and daddy to you, we need to spend time together."


Amy Nobile:

That's amazing.


Doryn Wallach:

I think it's important to say that to them.


Amy Nobile:

It's so important.


Doryn Wallach:

I've said that since the time they were little.


Amy Nobile:

Well, well done, because that's really, really rare. That's great. So that's super important. Another thing to remember at this stage is to ask for help. I think, again we heard over and over, "I feel so alone. I feel so alone in this." We would change the names of every woman that we interviewed, because that was the only way we'd get the truth. And we would hear from them, "I know I must be the only person feeling this way, but I feel like I don't fit in right now into even my life. I feel like I've lost myself. I feel like I'm not a good friend. I feel like I'm not a good mom. And I don't know how to find myself again."

And so asking for help is so critically important. Whether it's help because you feel anxiety, depression, whether it's help because you just can't manage your life and you need help, like literally help from a friend to come like watch your children or help you figure out this piece of this aging parents or whatever it is. It is sort of stunning how many women sort of think they should have it all together, and they're suffering in silence. So ask for help.


Doryn Wallach:

I love that. I think it's very hard as you mentioned, for most women. I think that personally, I am not one to ask for help, and that's something I've really worked on recently. And as soon as I go for help, I look at my friends and everyone's just so busy and stressed or anxious about their own things. You feel guilty about asking for help.


Amy Nobile:

Right. But when a good friend turns to you and says, "Doryn, I really need you," how good does that make you feel? You want to help.


Doryn Wallach:

I do.


Amy Nobile:

So remembering that we're a sisterhood, and you don't need a tribe of 20 women by the way. It's literally one or two that has your back, that knows you and won't judge you. And if you have one or two, then you're ahead of the game.


Doryn Wallach:

I definitely do.


Amy Nobile:

Yeah, totally. Another thing that is kind of surprising and interesting that sort of can help you find the light within you is mentoring, mentoring another mom, friend, mentoring another woman, mentoring another child, mentoring someone within your business, in your field. And again, that sort of speaks to the good feeling that you have when you do help. But we don't always have time. We think we should be volunteering and doing all of these things. But it doesn't have to be that, it can just be stopping for a second and saying, "Hey, it looks like you might be struggling with that. Can I help you? I've done that before." So mentoring in some way, and mentoring our kids.

We feel like in raising our children, we always need to be teaching them, but mentoring is a little different. And that can be just sitting with your child and talking to them about, "I noticed you had anxiety and I have that too. How can I help you talk you through it?" Just things that our parents really never helped us with, or rarely. Maybe your rockstar mom did, but a lot of our parents didn't.


Doryn Wallach:

No. I think we had discussed this. I read a book that I feel like everybody should read, and I'm not going to go into it. But the premise of the book was o