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Billy: Welcome to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. My name is Billy Lahr and I am joined by my good friend Brian Chelminiak. We call him Brian on the Bass. Brian, how you doing today, man?
Brian: I’m fantastic sir. Getting better, though.
Billy: Excellent. Excellent. It’s wonderful to see you.
Brian: Likewise, man.
Billy: Yeah, I look forward to this moment each and every single week.
Brian: We should set it up a little bit, we should tell them exactly what we do. So Friday evenings are our traditional podcast recording days. So Bill and I go through a full day of work on Friday, and just look forward to that end of day blowing off steam for you guys, actually.
Billy: Yeah, the reason I asked Brian, well, two reasons why I asked Brian, one, he has all the equipment. So thank you for that.
Brian: That’s usually why I get asked anything, including on dates. Ah, I know we aren’t even four minutes in and I’m throwing dick jokes out.
Billy: Brian is laying cable everywhere he can. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. The other reason why I asked him is because he’s just a good guy. I mean, right off the bat, we’re already laughing, we’re already having a good time. And I feel like the one thing, do you know that we have known each other for 10 years?
Brian: Isn’t that amazing, when you sit down and think about the people in your life and how long you’ve known them, and it just goes by so fast.
Billy: It does. I was thinking about this and like when did we meet? So the story behind how you and I got to know each other is Brian is in every band in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota.
Brian: It’s pretty close, yeah.
Billy: He plays bass in multiple bands. And if he’s not playing bass, he’s running sound for bands. He’s doing the lights. He’s doing something for all of the bands in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. So if you’re wondering why we sound like this, it’s because we’re from Minnesota. But years ago, 10 years ago, we were at Serums in Anoka. And Brian is in this band called “Space Needle”. And they weirdly enough are a Duran Duran tribute band. I don’t know why they call themselves Space Needle. But no, they are actually a 90s tribute band. And so they play all music from that grunge era. So your Pearl Jams and your Soundgardens and your Alice in Chains and your Nirvanas and all the great 90s hard rock songs that you love. And that’s my era. I am a die-hard Pearl Jam fan. I’ve seen Pearl Jam 49 times and nine different countries. So I really like that era. And when I had an opportunity to see their band, I was rocking out to “Evenflow” and during the set break, Brian came up to me and he’s like, “Dude, you really love this music, don’t you?” And I’m like, “Yeah!” so we just kind of bonded over that and I went and saw his other bands, and then the guys that are in that band are in other bands, too. So my local music scene just grew exponentially. And it’s really kind of made my life that much better. So thank you very much Brian, for giving me that gift of music.
Brian: Well, you’re welcome, Billy. And I get to tell you now from an outside perspective, what I thought of you. So I’m on stage, and I try to make a conscious effort when I’m on the stage of engaging with the audience. So you know, direct eye contact, they’ll shout stuff, we’ll shout back. And I saw you sitting back there singing every word of every song, and I’m like, “That guy is a good time, I’m going to talk to him.” And you know what, I was not disappointed because you honestly, everybody knows you and just thinks you’re a great guy, too. So that’s you know, kudos to you brother.
Billy: That’s awfully swell of you to say, and I really appreciate that. Our energy just vibes and I feel like we have a, we have a great chemistry, there will be no cable laying here. Not that kind of chemistry. But when I approached Brian, and I said, “Dude, I’ve got this idea for a podcast” and, we’re both in our 40s different kinds of experiences though, in our 40s and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. So you get to know why you should listen to us. But I said, “I think we should have like a podcast where we talk about how people navigate the complexities and possibilities of the of life second half through a variety of learning experiences.” And he was like, “Yeah, that sounds great!” Don’t you have a psychology degree along with communications as well? Yeah, so the perfect person, the perfect partner here, and I’ve been working in education for over 20 years. So the two of us decided, let’s put this together, we’ve got some stories to tell. We’ve got some experiences to share.
Brian: And ultimately, we hope what we talk about allows you to reflect on your life and say, oh, I’ve had some of those same experiences and maybe if you’re not dealing with them as well, as we have, you could pick up a couple tips.
Billy: Absolutely. And it’s not even to say that we’ve handled our situations well over the course of time, we have definitely made a number of mistakes. And I feel like we’ve developed strategies in our lives so that we can move forward from those mistakes. So we’re starting in medias res, any good story starts in medias res. Think about all the wonderful epics that you are familiar with. Take Star Wars. That is the quintessential epic story. It starts at Episode Four, it starts in medias res. So I want you to imagine that Star Wars opening crawl. It’s just legendary. And I want you to imagine that the words that are scrolling up through the screen are a 90 second summary of your life. What would it say? What would that scroll say? So the intention of today’s episode is to answer the following questions: first of all, “Who am I today?” So Brian and I are going to answer the question, “Who are we?” And then we’re also going to examine what exactly is a midlife crisis? And is it a real thing? Those are the keys here to start off. So Brian, we did a little exercise because as an educator, I like to give some homework, right? I like to make sure that we’re ready and prepared for things. So I asked you a simple question: “Who are you?” And I asked you to sort of list out all the roles that you play in your life. One, no more than two words in your responses. So Brian, who are you?
Brian: I’m a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a musician, an exercise enthusiast, a scientist, an engineer, an electrician, a president, a friend, and I’m fiercely independent.
Billy: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you very much. I asked myself that question. “Who am I?” I wrote down. Brother, son, educator, teacher, Bachelor paddleboarder, Pearl Jam fanatic over thinker baseball fan, bucket lister, spaz, music junkie, uncle, personal trainer, and meditator. And so the next thing that I asked you was I wanted you to choose three that you felt were the most important to you in terms of moving forward into the next decade of your life. And what did you say?
Brian: I said, being a father was the most important. I have three little kids and under the age of 10, and being a good role model to them and support system for them is paramount of my existence currently.
Billy: Here’s a question. Remind me, how old are you?
Billy: 47, and you had your youngest, three years ago, two years ago, three years ago?
Brian: Four, he just turned four on October 23.
Billy: Gotcha. Was that a freak-out moment for you at age 42, 43 years old to find out that you guys were having a baby?
Brian: Oh, yeah, that’s a good story too. So I’m sitting at work, and I had gone into the restroom. And I got a text as I was going into the restroom. You know, I’m on my phone.
Billy: And isn’t your wife supposed to pee on the stick?
Brian: Yes, but the text comes over my phone and I was seated at the time this happened very luckily. And it just said, “I’m effin pregnant,” is all it said. I was like what? So I find out it was like 10 o’clock in the morning on a just regular work day. And she texted me as like, Oh my gosh I can’t, we had always talked about having other children but you know how it is. It’s not like, alright, that last one. We’re gonna get it in right now. It was completely accidental. We were doing just fine with two. And all of a sudden, it just happened. It does quite a surprise to us both but I’m glad it did. I wouldn’t change anything at all. He’s a tiny dictator right now. He is just “Off with your head,” and all that stuff. I mean he’s, but I wouldn’t change it. He’s wonderful.
Billy: That’s it. I remember when I found that out. I was like, “Brian’s kind of old.”
Brian: Yeah, it’s true. I was, are you kidding me having a toddler when you’re 45 years old is taxing. I had to start working out. That’s one of the main reasons I started working out again, is because I didn’t have the energy to keep up with this kid.
Billy: Did you think about it happens for a reason. So you’re in great shape. Now you look good. You’re probably healthier. And here it was that little accident…
Brian: Yeah, it really was. I’m quite happy.
Billy: Yeah, that’s awesome. You also put down husband, talk about husband?
Brian: Well, yeah, of course being a good husband to my wife is very important because she is a wonderful wife to me. So we have just a great relationship and that’s a lot of reasons but we’re very open and honest with each other and it’s really great.
Billy: You two really complement each other well.
Brian: It’s true.
Billy: When we talk about like ideal partners, you and Cathleen or I just ideal partners you guys are no doubt really amazing. I really enjoy seeing your dynamic and when you’re with the kids, because you bought your three boys. And the stories that you tell all make me laugh because they just sound like Sharknados in your home. And the two of you, you parent with love and a smile but I know that you’re frustrated. But at the same time you really just take it all in stride. And it’s really just wild to watch how positive you guys are as you parent these three Sharknados swirling in your home.
Brian: It is. Let me just give you an idea of how a typical day is. So this is how you know when you have three boys. There’s constant noise. First off. If it’s quiet, you got to ask questions because something’s going on. If it’s quiet, that’s how you know. And then the second thing is if it is loud, and they’re fighting, and things get slammed, and things get broken, and you hear these noises, like I can be sitting in the basement, and the kids are two floors above me and I’ll hear SLAM and the entire house shakes. But you don’t react. You wait, “Is anybody crying?” No, nobody’s crying. I’m good. So that’s the key to parenting right there. You don’t want to helicopter parent, you know there’s a good balance there. So you don’t run for every noise, but if there’s crying you usually got to go investigate. There’s a tip for you for when you have children.
Billy: That’s no, no, you notice that I don’t have parent on there. I have bachelor and I very much am looking forward to maintaining that lifestyle, maybe not necessarily a bachelor, but I would very much okay with never ever having children.
Brian: Well, you have a lot of children though.
Billy: I do, I do have a lot of children that I work with at a high school. I work at a very large high school, and they all keep me on my toes in many, many ways.
Brian: Do you think that job, that line of work satisfies your need for, because everybody to a point probably has a need to parent or guide or, you know, help? Do you think that fills the void for you?
Billy: I like the mentor aspect of it.
Brian: Without the diaper change
Billy: Without the diaper change, that’s why I work at a high school.
Brian: That’s great.
Billy: And I like that I can say, “Now go home!”
Brian: You know, and that’s what I felt. I wish sometimes I could do that to Bill.
Billy: You might think that you know that I’m selfish for me kinda. Yeah, I’m gonna admit, you know that’s maybe that’s a little selfish of me. But that’s just how I feel. I’ll tell you that I wanted to have kids. And then when I turned 35, I dated a woman who really changed the way that I saw life in terms of, I had this cookie cutter image, I wanted to live in the suburbs, I wanted to have a house, I wanted to have the picket fence with the kids. That’s how I wanted to live my life. And she was like you know, that’s not the only way you canbadult. And I was like what, and then I started examining what is it that I really enjoy doing? And am I willing to sacrifice these things that I want to do in order to be a parent? And I realized that maybe I don’t, and parents tell me all the time that being a parent is the most rewarding thing in the world and more power to you. It’s just not for me. It’s kind of like kale. It’s not for me.
Brian: Some people like kale, others don’t.
Billy: Yeah, and so I’m not going to eat kale chips, and I’m not going to raise children.
Brian: And that’s your prerogative man. I don’t think it’s selfish at all. I think that’s just being in touch with what you want to do with your life. It’s after all, it is your life, and you can do anything you want to do with it.
Billy: I hope my sister and mother are listening to this podcast and those wonderful things that you just said right there to validate the way that I live my life.
Brian: And you know what? I hope it’s not just your mother and sister listening to this podcast.
Billy: Yeah, that probably will start. That’s a start and hopefully, it’ll grow from there. Yes, yes. So you also put musician down and this is you and I bond over this because this is why I know you and so tell us more. What about why you put musician down for that question?
Brian: Music for me is more than just a hobby, it’s something I’m compelled to do, no matter what. And whether I’m playing for 20,000 people or by myself, I derive the same enjoyment out of it. You know, I mean, to me, it really is about performing music to the best of your ability and making servicing the art, you know what I mean? That’s fun to me, just having a creative outlet. And learning to adapt and play with other musicians is a really interesting skill to and that listening, that constantly has to happen. It really is a great exercise for your brain, if you’re doing it right. Because it’s not only the physical playing in your part, but fitting into everything that’s going on around you is super important. So it’s a very complex and different problem every time you approach it, you know, which to me is really fun because I enjoy tackling things and doing and in solving
Billy: And you enjoy playing on stage like just having been at so many of your shows. And you play in a variety of bands too. So I’ve seen you with two of them. I’ve seen you a Space Needle which is a 90s tribute but then you play with a band called the “Brute Squad” who play I call it classic rock and soul because it’s not necessarily rock and roll, like you guys play some really soulful songs, our good friend that has got that really true soulful sound in his voice, but we will never tell him that.
Brian: No, don’t do that. Do not do that. He does not need his ego to get any bigger.
Billy: Absolutely, absolutely not. Matt, we love you and we hope you’re listening.
Brian: We do love you. But so it’s your mom, your sister Matt and Matt so far.
Billy: So that’s not a bad start, this is good. Yeah, that’s not a bad start. We’re good to go. For me, I talked about what kind of move forward for me in the next decade is being a paddleboarder. That is something that people connect to me because I live across one of the 10,000 lakes that are here in Minnesota, and I really, really enjoy my time on the water. I don’t think that I could ever live too far away from water ever again in my life, like whatever happens in the next X number of years I have left to live, it will be near water.
Brian: Don’t move to Indiana. There’s a lake in Indiana there’s.
Billy: I always wanted to live in Colorado, but there’s no water in Colorado. They’re beautiful mountains, gorgeous, beautiful mountains. But I would need to be near water because for me, paddleboarding is part of a passion of mine that someday I hope takes me to every continent and every ocean.
Brian: What is it about paddleboarding? What is the draw for you exactly? What need does it satisfy?
Billy: That’s a great question. Some people will say, Oh well, paddleboarding is a great exercise. And I’m like when you’re doing it wrong. I’m not out there to exercise. I am out there because I love the feel of the sun on my skin. I love the sound of the water. There’s something about being on top of the water but still close to the water. If you live in Minnesota, you’ve been in a boat. But that’s a different feeling than being on top of a paddleboard because you were just that much closer to the water. As corny as it sounds, maybe it’s kind of a spiritual thing. I just find it so yeah, I just find it to be a great way to spend my time in the summer and especially in Minnesota, when you only have three or four months out of the year where you can really truly enjoy that type of activity. I go all the time and I just found that it really is fulfilling.
Brian: It’s a unique feeling is what I’m getting from you right now. So when you’re standing out on that paddleboard, maybe it’s that feeling that it gives you that’s the reason you do it. You know that maybe it’s freedom or the connection to the water and outdoors that’s cool.
Billy: I’m drawn to, Bde Maka Ska, Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis Uptown. I’ve been drawn to it for years, I live over in that area. That’s like my calling right there and I feel so comfortable and so at home in that neighborhood. So I also put down uncle, because I don’t have children but I have three nieces and a nephew. And my youngest niece is going to graduate from high school this year. So they’re all older. And the one thing that I told them, I told them probably about seven years ago, I said, I’m done buying you material objects for Christmas. You don’t get any more, you don’t get any more things.
Brian: That’s cool.
Billy: You don’t get any more things. You’re going to get experiences.
Brian: That’s wonderful, because that’s the same thing we’re doing with our kids. We buy them stuff but for the big gifts it’s trips example, Mason for his 10th birthday chose to go to Universal Studios. He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life. He’s now travelled, experienced. I think that’s way more valuable than, “Here is a dump truck.”
Billy: Yeah, that’s kind of what I was finding. So my, I have two of my nieces, my two younger nieces live in Redmond, Washington, so I don’t get to see them very often. And for a long time you know, I would just get them gift certificates. Because I didn’t know what to get them. Or I’d buy them something from Amazon, but they would never spend the gift certificate money. So I would get them like a gift certificate for the following year. And they’re like, “Oh, I still have the one from last year.” And I said, “Okay, you’re done. You don’t get anything instead I’m going to take all the money that I would have given you for Christmas, and I’m going to put it towards your high school graduation gift.” So whatever my niece and nephew who live in Minnesota, what they got, I’m doubling what my nieces in Washington are getting because they didn’t get to have any of the experiences that my niece and nephew here got to have. My nephew particularly is very much into theater. And so we’ve gone to the Guthrie a few times for, we went saw Romeo and Juliet and A Christmas Carol. I took them to The Nutcracker and then we always go somewhere fancy for dinner, because they love that. And having grown up in small town, Minnesota, we ate steak and potatoes every day growing up and they did too because that’s just what you do in rural
Brian: And hot dishm course.
Billy: Absolutely, absolutely. And so when they want when they come down here we go out for some adventurous food or what would be adventurous for West Central Minnesotans. So you know, we’re not eating like urchin fret or sea urchin or frog legs or anything like that but you sushi we will take them out for sushi or we’ll take them to Chino Latino, rest in peace which closed down unfortunately, but just places like that, that are have a fun vibe, a cool experience. That’s what I wanted them to have in their life.
Brian: You know, that is such a better approach than material things in my opinion. Because rarely do people get more well-rounded by obtaining stuff, you know what I mean?
Billy: Agreed, agreed, and I’ve actually been trying to be more minimalist in my own place.
Brian: Me, too
Billy: And as far as clothes, I went clothes shopping. I bought three new jeans last year, and four dress shirts and that was it. And that was the only thing that I bought outside of maybe new underwear. I needed to replace underwear because it’s been years since I had new underwear.
Brian: I don’t even want to comment on this. I’m the guy with like 42 pairs of jeans that I wear six of them. You know what I mean?
Billy: Yeah, I just I’m like, you know what…I think the reason why I started doing this and I read something about like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, they always were the same thing because then it’s a decision that they need to make.
Brian: And you can put that brainpower towards something else.
Billy: Yeah, and I very much suffer from paralysis by analysis. So I just have my dress shirts lined up. And there’s my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday shirt and I’m just gonna pick these jeans that go with that shirt and boom, it’s one less decision that I need to make in the morning.
Brian: Okay, I do that too. I’m a lay your clothes out before you get ready. So in the evening, I get home, I take out my workout clothes in my bag, I put new workout clothes in my bag. I do get all my work clothes prepared for the next day and I go set them in the bathroom, right where I need them. So I can wake up, walk into the shower, get that water flowing on me and then wake up.
Billy: I think part of that is self-care, right?
Brian: Oh yeah.
Billy: It’s self-care, and so that’s why the other one for me, I put down a personal trainer/meditator. Because to me, I think the two of them work together because I value both physical and emotional health. Yes, we have to work out our muscles, but we have to work out our brain as well. And my hope is that somewhere down the line, I’m able to grow my skill set as a personal trainer, and maybe even do some mindfulness work with people so that I have a way of making some passive income. So I never have to teach summer school again. But also, when I retire, I would like to do something other than teach at a high school. I’d like to do something other than work at a high school. I don’t want to have to sub, I want to get into the physical and mental wellness as…
Brian: You want to be a guru .
Billy: Someday, yeah. Not a creeper like Vikram.
Brian: No, no, a good guru.
Billy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not, not, not in a creepy way.
Brian: Not “Drink the Kool-Aid” kind of guru, but I’m glad I followed this guru type.
Billy: I’d be okay. If we were on an island.
Brian: Okay, alright.
Billy: You know, I’d be okay if we were on an island and doesn’t have to be just us. There can be other civilizations there.
Brian: Just as long as you’re not hunting people for sport on that island.
Billy: Oh, that’d be kind of sweet.
Brian: That’d be pretty fun. Actually, not I say. But anyway, we can figure that out. We digress.
Billy: So we asked each other this other question too. So just so that we could kind of get to know each other even a little bit deeper as we took a look at these roles that we fulfill on our life. I asked Brian which one from my list, do you want to learn more about and you said?
Brian: Bucket Lister.
Billy: Yeah. The more and more people listen, you will find out that I’m actually neurotic and meticulous and persistent in the way that I pursue goals. And I like to list things out. I like the fact that I work in education because bells tell me when to go and do something. And when I go on vacation, I actually list out the itinerary. I went to Europe for a month, a couple years ago and hour by hour, I knew what I was doing. Because I do not wait in lines. That does not happen. I do not wait in a line. I am prepared. I have things purchased in advance so that we can walk right up and do what we got to do, because time is of the essence. So as a bucket lister, I have a list of places that I want to visit. I chalked off to big bucket list items in the past three years. One was I wanted to see every single major league baseball stadium, which I have done, except now they opened a Globe Life in Arlington, Texas. So now I have a new list, right. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to that due to COVID.
Brian: It will happen someday. It’ll happen someday.
Billy: And it’ll happen very, very soon. Because I don’t like the fact that that stadium exists, and I haven’t been there. So I want to get back to it.
Brian: I can see that out. So let me touch on this bucket list idea one second here. Because now that I listened to how you execute your plans, it generated an interesting question. Do you think you derive more enjoyment from doing the actual thing or is your enjoyment coming more from the planning and thinking and advance of all this stuff?
Billy: What an excellent question that nobody has ever asked me before. Oh man.
Brian: That’s tough, because I’m going through the same thing right now with my bus. Because I’m having a really good time planning the stuff. And then when I’m actually doing it, I’m getting twice the enjoyment you know.
Billy: I think it’s kind of 50-50.
Brian: It has to be almost right.
Billy: Yeah, for me, it definitely is like, I get such a kick out of the planning stage. I love it. And actually even like when I lesson plan, there is something exhilarating about finding and researching the material, and then synthesizing it into what my lesson plan is going to be. I always equate teachers to rappers because teachers don’t have anything original, except what the words that are kind of coming out of their mouth, but they’re taking presentations, and they’re taking information and they’re sharing it. I mean, the curriculum, they have it there, and then they teach just like rappers a lot of times they’re sampling stuff. And then they’re taking those samples and they’re turning it into their lyrics and turning it into their music. So teachers and rappers are really one in the same. And so there is something very exhilarating about when a plan comes together. It’s very A-Team when a plan comes together, right? That’s fun, but to stand in front of the Mona Lisa, and actually look at her, not through a phone, but to make eye contact with the Mona Lisa, because I’ve planned this out and did my best to avoid the really thick crowds because we got there right away in the morning and I just made a beeline to her. But then it was important for me not to just snap a picture and leave. It was important for me to engage with her and as weird as that may sound to engage with a painting. Yeah, she and I, I felt, had a moment as we’re trying to figure out what that smile is on her face all about. So yes, that was a great question. My other bucket list item that I was able to chalk off is I’ve paddleboarded and all five Great Lakes. So that was and now I want to paddleboard in all of the oceans and I want a paddleboard off the coast of every continent. I paddleboarded off the coast of Florida and so I’ve been in been in the Atlantic Ocean, but then I’ll take a look at “Okay, if I’m gonna paddleboard the Arctic Ocean. How am I getting to Antarctica?” That’s a fun journey. That’s an insane journey.
Brian: That does sound like fun in a crazy kind of way.
Billy: Yeah. And you have to get, you have to take a ferry from how to ferry but like a big ass boat from the tip of South America in order to get to Antarctica and the thought of paddleboarding next to a glacier is so exhilarating to me. That’s, like it’s so that’s, that’s why I need a bucket list because I need to have something to look forward to. And so that’s why I like Friday. I look forward to Fridays because we get to work together and we get to record this podcast. I need to have something to look forward to.
Brian: You know what, you touch on a really great larger point there. Whether your pursuits are large or small, setting small goals and large goals for yourself are important. And then having something to look forward to improve your disposition on its face having something I know because I feel that way about shows, about the podcast, about now the bus you know what I mean? And when you have stuff like that, it really does enrich your life. And almost it gives you purpose in little ways. You have your large purpose, which is husband, father all the stuff you were talking about. But then having these pursuits which you’re setting small goals and large goals also, it does improve your disposition, I believe.
Billy: And when it’s interesting, when we take we go back and look at this list, right, those large roles that we talked about, those are like the first three things that we identified like brother, son, educator, father, husband, son, those are larger roles, but then we kind of get down to like music junkie, personal trainer, meditator, electrician, president, engineer, those are some of the fulfilling you know, yeah like, yeah, that’s obviously Yes, being a brother being a husband, those are roles are fulfilling. But when we talk about like, what sets us apart and what makes us who we are, it’s those roles that we get to down at the bottom. So one of these roles that you have listed is scientist, and I did not know this about you. And then before we started recording, we started talking about this, and then you were saying some things that made my head explode. So tell me about being a scientist.
Brian: I’ve always throughout my life had this nagging feeling that there has to be some you know, what is life? The big question, okay. What is life? And how do I find out what that is? I just want to study science and find out what the leading minds in science believe that all of this is. So I’ve studied a lot of quantum mechanics, a lot of different theories in quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, astrophysics, stuff like that, the you know, the history of the universe, whether the universe is, what happened before the big bang, all that kind of stuff. And there are some really, really fascinating things that happen that scientists know for certain. For example, I’ll throw one small example out that well, it will make your head explode, but it’s tantalizing for sure. There was an experiment called the COBE experiment. It was the survey of the cosmic background radiation in the universe. Everywhere, the entire thing, the scientists got together and said, “Let’s put up some satellites and let’s map the entire background radiation of the universe, because it should give us clues about the Big Bang.” Well, one of the things they found when they did this, that there are these immense cold spots in the universe. And one of the probable explanations for these cold spots is that our universe at some point in the history of the universe collided with another universe. And it’s very probable that’s what happened. They say this evidence of these giant vacuous holes in the microcosmic background radiation, could very well be that during at some point when it was being generated and expanding and going through inflation possibly, there’s a period of the history of the universe called the inflationary period, collided with another universe, and that’s what yielded these holes, these cold spots in the universe.
Billy: Holy shit. I’m speechless because your grasp of that is, one, so profound, and you speak about it so articulately that I’m lost for words. How does one get this into it?
Brian: So you just start reading. I mean, that’s all you can do. There are some really good introductory books that you can get into the theories without getting into the math. I’ve gotten into the math. I have to learn a lot. Yeah, there’s a lot I don’t know, but I’m adequate when it comes to some of the equations, I understand them. But I need a much better grasp of calculus than I have, which is another undertaking that’s on my bucket list. And I’m like, alright, I should probably really get you know, there’s a few other types of math that I need to learn. Another thing which I’ve been tossing around I think, math as we know it is wrong. And I have another thing to reinvent it actually.
Billy: You know what’s great is my bucket list is I’m gonna I’m trying to paddleboard all the oceans and you’re over here reading quantum physics and reinventing math.
Brian: Yeah, I just it’s what, that’s one of the things that’s on my list and it’s just but the scientist’s portion about it. It’s really just because I want to understand more about where I am, that’s it.
Billy: If you’re out there listening, I hope you don’t feel as inadequate as I do right now because that is some next level shit right there.
Brian: If you wanted to get started on some easy quantum mechanics, look up the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. It’s pretty easy to understand without the math, and it’ll blow your mind, you’ll be like, how is this possible.
Billy: And if you want something easier, take one minute to write down all the roles that you play in your life, and the three that are the most important to you moving forward in the next decade of your life. And we’re gonna take a little break to further discuss quantum physics and we’ll be right back. This has been the Mindful Midlife Crisis with Brian and Billy.
BREAK: Thank you for listening to the mindful midlife crises. If you’re enjoying what you’ve heard so far. Please do us a favor and hit the subscribe button. Also giving our show a quick five star review with a few kind words helps us on our quest to reach the top of the podcast charts. Finally, since you can’t make a mix tape for your friends and loved ones like you used to do, share this podcast with them instead. We hope our experiences resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now, let’s take a minute to be president with our breath. If you’re listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale for 4 3 2 1 hold for 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, slowly exhale for 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. Let’s do that one more time. Inhale for 4 3 2 1, hold for 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, slowly exhale for 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now back to the show.
Billy: Alright. Welcome back to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. Let’s talk about what a midlife crisis is, and what maybe some of the research says?
Brian: Hey, Bill, what’s a midlife crisis?
Billy: Thank you for asking. Brian and I did a little bit of research and read a few articles. We looked at Wikipedia, Fuck you, alright. We’re just gathering some easy information. We are not experts in any way, shape, or form.
Brian: Not at all.
Billy: We’re just kind of two average bros having this conversation, guys who are in our 40s. And we’re at that stage right now where people go through what’s deemed a midlife crisis. So let’s talk about a little bit. It’s actually a term that was coined by Elliot James in 1965. This is all from Wikipedia. So I’m just sharing this information. So here’s kind of a definition for you. A clinical definition if you will. “A midlife crisis is a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possible lack of accomplishments in life, and it could be caused by changes or problems or regrets over work, or your career or your lack thereof.” Generally, that affects men more than women. Because stereotypically men are seen as the breadwinners. And so their masculinity is often challenged, if they are not in a career or are not moving forward in their work. One thing that you’re going to see a lot of as we talk about midlife crisis is toxic masculinity, that’s going to be a theme that pops up over and over and over again. as we talk about this more and more. Relationships or lack thereof can cause a midlife crisis. The maturation of your children or the lack thereof, or becoming empty nesters, or even having that sandwich between caring for your children and then having to care for your parents as they get older and their time is running out. Physical changes associated with aging. Brian, how’d you feel when you got up this morning? Were you a little creaky?
Billy: Yeah, man. Sometimes it’s just a little bit harder to oil the old joints and get out of bed like it was back in the day.
Brian: It’s the healing that I usually notice. Your body just doesn’t heal as fast as you’d like it to when you get cut. When you’re a kid, that cut lasts for a day and a half, and you’re good as new. When you’re an adult, and you get a cut like that, it’s like a week and a half.
Billy: And then finally, just coming to grips with one’s own mortality, which I’ll tell you that I have, I very much still have freak-out moments, when I think about a world in which I do not exist. I struggle with FOMO fear of missing out. And so when I think about a world in which I do not exist, that freaks me out. And I have panic attacks, when I think about that, so I absolutely can relate to that. So when people are having their midlife crisis, they might feel a wide array of emotions. So they might feel a deep sense of remorse for goals that have not been accomplished or maybe they feel remorse or they feel guilt about missed opportunities. There’s a fear of humiliation among more successful peers, we compare ourselves to others and you know, the grass is always greener on the other side. So then we say gosh, I’m not as successful as Brian and then I start to have this self-doubt and ask, “What have I done with my life?” Longing to achieve a feeling of youthfulness. I think about this when I look back, especially on my own dad, he will talk about how in his youth that he felt like maybe he didn’t get to do the things that he wanted to do. And so when I would see him when he was 40,50 years old, he was kind of in a frat boy mindset. My dad is Rodney Dangerfield in every movie. So you think about the movie back to school, that is my dad. That is my dad right there. He loves being around young women. He loves being the center of attention, the life of the party. He’s quick with a joke, he’ll tell you, “Oh maybe you could help me straighten out my Longfellow later.” That’s my dad to a tee. A need to spend more time alone or with only certain peers. I feel this way. Now I have become far more introverted, as I’ve gotten older, and maybe it’s not that I become introverted. But my list of people I want to hang out with is based more on quality than quantity.
Brian: Oh well, that happens to everybody I think as you age. I mean, that’s darn near universal I would say.
Billy: I was absolutely in my 20s that person that would send the mass texts out to 30 or 40 people and say, “What are you doing tonight?” Now, like after we’re done, its Friday night, and it’s 5:44 in the PM. And when we’re done with this, I’ve got two episodes of The Mandalorian that I’m going to watch by myself.
Brian: Yes, very nice.
Billy: So yeah, I get my quality time with Brian on Friday nights, and then I’m just going to call it a night. Finally, here you may feel discontent or confusion or resentment or anger around your marital work, health, or socio economic status. And you may have ambition to right the missteps you feel that you took earlier in your life that is something that I struggle with greatly. And that alone is its own episode, that we will touch on but for me as I reflect on being hyper aware now of being a straight white American male and the privileges that come along with that, what are some of the missteps that I took earlier in my life, and I beat myself up for those kinds of things and I’m wanting to do the right thing. Like I said, that’s an episode all in of itself. But I also just kind of show you how my brain works. So two people named Blanchflower and Oswald, they did a little bit of research on midlife crises. And they found that men between the ages of 40 and 55 report feeling less satisfied than those between the ages of 30 and 39 and 57 and older. So there is a happiness curve. They reported feeling less happy between the ages of 40 and 55. But here’s what’s interesting about that. According to Freund and Ritter, who have also studied midlife crises, their studies indicated that older adults between the ages of 64 and 85, reported that middle adulthood was their preferred phase in life. That kind of just goes to show that when they look back on their life, you’re like, “No, I think right by 40s, and 50s, was when I was the most satisfied and content with my life.”
Brian: Well, it’s interesting though. The perspective definitely has a lot to do with all of that, you know what I mean? When you’re involved and fully embroiled in what you’re going through, it’s very difficult to see it for what it really is, you know what I mean? So that’s why I think you’re seeing that type of thing happen. Obviously, when you’re in your 40s, you’re like, “Ugh, this is turmoil! This is crazy!” But you get a little older and you’re like you know what, that wasn’t so bad I got through it.
Billy: They do talk about how it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees, and that we’re not really going through a midlife crisis, that it’s not a crisis that happens to everybody, once they hit 40s and 50s, you’re just going through a crisis, like you would when you were 15, and you had pimples or when you were going through 20, and you’re in college, or when you were 28 or when you were 35, you’re always going through a crisis. It’s expected that you would have a crisis when you are in your 40s and 50s, as well. So that’s kind of part of it, that I’ve been looking at as well. Oftentimes, a midlife crisis is seen as disconnect between the goals set in early 20s. And the reality of things as they currently are once we hit our 40s and 50s. Now, I’ll tell you that, as I mentioned before, the things that I wanted in my 20s you know, a family and the house in the suburbs, those are things that I don’t want anymore. So I feel like my goals have shifted based on how my values and belief system have shifted over time as well.
Brian: And I think that’s a very positive development honestly, if you’re able to reassess at any time and set new goals, that’s healthy.
Billy: Yeah, and in this article from Joshua Krisch. It’s called “You’re Not Having a Midlife Crisis, but Here’s the Science Anyway.” Freund says that one thing that might trigger a midlife crisis that you realize that more and more doors have closed, and it’s just a matter of, are we okay with that? How okay are we with the doors that have closed with the opportunities that are passed? Are we living in regret? I think regret gets a bad reputation. I think it’s okay to feel regret. It’s not okay to linger and fester on regret. It’s okay. Listen, I have regrets. There are things that I absolutely wish I would have done or that I wish I wouldn’t have done.
Brian: That’s how you learn. People don’t learn things if they’re comfortable. I mean, if you don’t take those lessons to heart, you’re going to stagnate and probably continue to be unhappy. I think you know, you’re right. It’s okay to feel those things, but it’s not okay to feel them continuously. That’s when you’d say, okay, maybe this is not normal.
Billy: Do I regret not getting Melody’s number at the Ded Walleye show at the Halloween show in Austin, Minnesota years and years and years ago?
Brian: Apparently you do.
Billy: Absolutely I do. Absolutely I do. But I’ve moved on and you know, I don’t let that thought linger as long as I used to. MELODY! Call me. Maybe she’ll hear that.
Brian: Maybe she’ll hear this.
Billy: That would be great. That would be our fourth listener!
Brian: We’ve got four listeners! We just increased our audience by 25%.
Billy: We’re growing here. But we should probably also get your wife in on it as well. That would help. Yeah, there we go. So we’re good. So far we’ve got five. I feel like every 10 minutes, we pick up a new imaginary listener.
Brian: You know, if we could just keep doing that, we’ll have a lot of imaginary listeners eventually.
Billy: They talk about the “Rogan Effect”, like when your followers just boost. I feel like that’s what’s happening here.
Brian: There’s got to be some science behind how popular we are now in our own minds.
Billy: And who else is in his 40s or 50s? Joe Rogan
Brian: You’re right.
Billy: So listen, I feel like we’re already almost on par with The Joe Rogan Podcast.
Brian: Maybe we can have him on one day.
Billy: And then, he would get the Brian and Billy Effect.
Brian: Which I don’t know if he wants.
Billy: This is actually a wonderful transition to expectations versus reality right here.
Brian: We’re professionals.
Billy: Absolutely, absolutely. So Freund and Ritter again, they talked about there are middle aged people who sit down for the first time and think back to their goals at age 18. And they say, “Shoot, I didn’t achieve that.” And as we talked about with regret, not lingering on those things. And instead, we combat the midlife crisis through goal setting. And what we need to do is, first of all, take stock in our accomplishments. And in a way, we had to do that before the break by asking you to list out your roles. Those are all accomplishments, those are all things that you’ve done in your life, and you should be proud of those things that you’ve done. And then if there are things that you have not done yet, then you add them to your goals. Regularly updating your goals throughout your life, fine-tuning them as you age is what Freund recommends. And so Brian has a little homework assignment for you.
Brian: Just set a couple of goals. Set a goal for this week. I do this constantly, I do it when I’m working, or in my personal life. Typically for me it’s on Friday. Let’s say work, for example, and I’ll jot down everything I need to do–my list of stuff I need to accomplish. And then I’ll start another list. That is things I want to accomplish. You guys should do that this week. Just try it for a week. Layout on Friday, what you plan to do on Monday through Friday of the following week. And then also maybe set a long term goal, set a goal that says okay, a year from now, I am going to work towards being this person or even I’m going to go to this place like Bill with your traveling exactly set something that you that takes a little planning, because you can get equal enjoyment out of doing activities, and planning the things that go into those activities as well. With that, I think we’ll take a little break. And we’ll be back shortly.
BREAK: Thanks for listening to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put up new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek. If you’d like to contact us, or if you have suggestions about what you’d like us to discuss. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @ mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Oh, and don’t forget to show yourself some love every now. And now back to the show.
Billy: Alright, welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Brian, I’m going to ask you some questions.
Brian: Alright, I’m ready. I’m preparing myself for questions. And I’m ready.
Billy: Alright, on a scale of one to six, where six means you completely agree. Five means you mostly agree. Four means you somewhat agree. Three means you somewhat disagree. Two means you mostly disagree and one means who completely disagree. Rate, how you would answer these questions. Number one, I feel a deep sense of remorse for goals that have not been accomplished?
Billy: I feel a fear of humiliation among more successful peers?
Billy: I feel longing to achieve a feeling of youthfulness?
Brian: Four maybe
Billy: I feel a need to spend more time alone or with only certain peers?
Brian: I’d say five. I mostly agree with that okay.
Billy: I feel a heightened sense of my sexuality or lack thereof?
Billy: I feel discontent, confusion, resentment or anger around my marital, work, health or socioeconomic status?
Billy: I feel ambition to right the missteps I feel I have taken earlier in my life.
Brian: Also two
Billy: Alright, more you mostly disagree with a lot of these emotions that people experience while going through a midlife crisis. Very interesting. Here you go. On a scale of one to six, where six means completely satisfied. Five means mostly satisfied. Four means somewhat satisfied, three is somewhat dissatisfied, two is mostly dissatisfied and one is completely dissatisfied. Brian, on a scale of one to six, how satisfied are you in your life?
Brian: I’d say five.
Billy: Alright, excellent. Two more. Pretty much the same scoring one through six, satisfied to dissatisfied. On a scale of one to six, how much more or less satisfied are you with your current life then your life back in your 20s?
Brian: Again, five I think
Billy: Yeah. And then how about back in your 30s.
Brian: I’d also say a five. My wife and I were just talking about this, and she also started working out and she dropped about 65 pounds. She looks amazing. She has all this energy and we were looking at each other. And we’re like you know, we look better now than we did when we met. And are frankly, a lot healthier in every aspect of our relationship. So I mean for me, we’re kind of hitting our stride right now to tell you the truth.
Billy: And so I’m glad that you bring that up because your responses would beg the question, is the midlife crisis really a thing?
Brian: For some probably.
Billy: Yeah, and I love this. So I was watching one of my favorite YouTube shows, “Hot Ones”. You ever watch “Hot Ones”?
Brian: Never, this sounds intriguing.
Billy: Okay, so here’s what it is. There’s a guy named Sean Evans, he asks the greatest questions of all time. And what he does is he has like a celebrity or sometimes it’s kind of like a B or C Lister. But he’s got his A-Listers on there, too. And there are 10 wings, and each wing increases in Scoville spiciness. So that when you get sixth or seventh wing, we’re talking like 200,000 Scoville.
Brian: So wait a minute, the hot ones. I’m getting the feeling that this contains no bikinis.
Billy: No, no.
Brian: Oh. Well, back to the wings. Your Scoville units…
Billy: Okay. But he asks these really in-depth questions, and people were like, “How do you know that?” His research team must be amazing. So anyway, he asks harder and harder questions and you eat these wings and it just deconstructs your answer, because you can’t think about your answer. You’re just being honest, as you’re trying to get the answer out in pain. It’s really, really a great show.
Billy: And one of our heroes is Henry Rollins.
Brian: Oh, yeah, of course, we went together.
Billy: So that was a big thrill for us to go see Henry do one of his spoken word tours.
Brian: Quite amazing. If you’ve never seen Henry Rollins do his spoken words, or even just in the case, Billy, and I saw him. He was telling just stories about his life and where he’s been. And this guy has been everywhere. He was telling one story where he wound up freezing on a train in Siberia. And how he got there is just so amazing, but I’m not gonna spoil it. You’ll have to go see Henry’s act, but he is just amazing, and how he relates to people in the world around him. It’s so fascinating.
Billy: And the reason why I started watching “Hot Ones” is because Henry was a guest on there.
Brian: Oh, there you go.
Billy: And so there’s your good introduction for it, if you want it. He’s a badass, but another person that was on there more recently is Matthew McConaughey.
Brian: Oh, yeah.
Billy: And I used to just think Matthew McConaughey was kind of like just a bro. You know, just you know, alright, alright, alright. But he actually has some depth to him.
Brian: Oh, yeah. Yeah, he does.
Billy: And so he has kind of been on, I guess, this journey where he he’ll go into just these remote places. And he’ll journal and I really applaud him for that, because to me that shows that he is someone who is wanting to be introspective. And there’s a great quote from that “Hot Ones” episode, where he says, “I’ve had thousands of crises in my life, and most of them never happened.” So that begs the question, again, is the midlife crisis really a thing or are we just going through a crises in this moment? That could have happened at any point in time in our life? It’s just happening now because of the circumstances. Now Blanchflower and Oswald in this Krisch article that I mentioned earlier, they say yes, the middle crisis is a real thing because in their study, 1.3 million people from 51 countries reported feeling less satisfied with their lives around the ages of 40 to 55. We mentioned that before. In the article by Lauren Vinapol called “The Good News and Bad News Is That Your Midlife Crisis Isn’t Real”, the counterpoint to that is that the curve is U shaped, so we get happier as we get older. And we’ve mentioned the Freund and Ritter article or research done. So in the Krisch article again, really what she’s saying is there is no empirical evidence of a normative midlife crisis, meaning that it’s not a fixed age where we will experience a crisis, right? And then another researcher by the name Margie Lachman, who is also mentioned in this Krisch article. She’s out of Brandeis University, only 26% of the research participants in this midlife crisis research that they did, only 26% of those participants over the age of 40 reported having a midlife crisis. And in fact, most of them said that it was more about what was going on around them than it was about being middle aged. In another study that was cited in this Vinopal article, there was a 10 year study from the MacArthur Foundation, fewer than 10% of people actually experience a midlife crisis. Now Susan Whitbourne who’s also mentioned in this Krisch article, she’s a professor out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She gives a definitive, there is no such thing as a midlife crisis: “Scientific research shows that most of us go through our middle years, without so much as a blip on our psychological radar screens. Research data fail to reveal that there’s something about the midlife years that leads people inevitably to emotional turmoil.” Then my question is this: Why the fuck do so many men between the ages of 45 and 65 commit suicide? That’s what we’re going to attempt to answer on the next episode of The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you.