I had my first midlife crisis when I was a senior at Western Illinois University. Returning home from a study abroad program in London–living in a flat with my best friends in Earl’s Court and traveling all over Europe afterwards, I realized that what I might want to do with my life had nothing to do with the English / History / teaching degree I was 24 semester hours from getting. And I didn’t know what to do about it. Much like a bride who has set a date, I felt powerless to change course. More accurately, I couldn’t even imagine it. I  didn’t know what it would look like. No one I knew felt like this. Or at least no one else was talking about it. So I completed the coursework, did my student teaching with Mrs. Nester in Mt. Carroll, and then, for lack of a better plan, I embarked on a master’s degree in English Literature. Because well, why not? It felt like a responsible choice, but, if I’m honest, it was a stop gap measure. 

We can talk about the time in between in later episodes, but let’s fast forward to today, because I find that once again I’m at a cross roads. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next–I’m calling it “My Act Four,” but I have no idea what it will be or even where to start.

I am someone who hates wasting time. It’s the worst. I hate most when other people waste my time, but when I waste time that’s bad, too. It’s uncomfortable and it’s wrong. I love to be prepared–some say over prepared. I love a good plan. With all of the tasks to check off. So sitting in this space where I don’t have things figured out feels like crap.

I’m accustomed–we’re all accustomed– to seeing the organization and delivery of the perfect birthday party, wedding, graduation, thesis, and project. This, my friend, is not that. 

In fact, what I’m about to do here is the opposite of that. I’ve decided to launch a podcast to figure out my next big thing, my “What’s next?” And I’m choosing to do this in front of everyone. As a recovering perfectionist this is particularly terrifying. 

I’m inviting you to join me as I dive into this messy middle, the part where I am allowing myself to show up imperfectly.

What am I committed to with this podcast? I’m hesitant to promise anything, because this is a space where I’m not only allowed but encouraging myself to change my mind. To try things and say, “Nope, that’s not for me.” 

And I’m committed to telling the truth, even when it’s not pretty. I’m committed to resisting the urge to censor myself. I’m committed to curiosity. To keeping an open mind. To being o.k. With being uncomfortable. I hope to expand my thinking about everything. To ask myself, “What’s possible?” 

I’m committed to the notion that I can do anything. What do I want to do? How do I want to spend my time? I have so many options. I’ll look at the life I have created and commit to figuring out what’s next, being really particular about how I want to spend my time. 

When I first thought about doing this I was overwhelmed with the obstacles:

I need a logo

I need a website

I hate Canva

What’s my mission? What are my goals? Who is my audience? Have I drafted an audience persona?

That’s the recovering perfectionist talking. The new me asked, “If it were easy, what would I do?” I show up as myself, explore my strengths and what I’ve done in the past. What worked. What didn’t. What I’ve learned. I’ll be honest. I’ll drop f bombs. And I get to change my mind. I have some ideas for a few episodes, but I’m going to see where being open takes me and re-examining old beliefs takes me and even where your questions and suggestions take me. 

I’ve always loved behind-the-scenes dramas. The West Wing. The Newsroom. Sports Night. O.K. So I’m a Sorkin fan. I’m going to be doing my own little behind-the-scenes work. I know I can do this. I am doing this. This podcast is primarily for me. But I’ve realized that committing to a podcast might help other people, too. I can’t be the only person out there who’s been here and who feels like this. I know that because a previous version of me has been here before. Making my journey public provides additional accountability.

So I welcome you to follow along, especially if you’d like to do something similar. We can encourage each other.  I expect there will be weeks when I’ll come on to tell you that I don’t know jack. And we’ll talk about that. 

I’m scared but thrilled to get started. LFG! Do you want to listen to the first episode? You can find it here



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