Forties Stories

Forties Stories

Christy Maguire
Mar 17, 2020 53 min

Seeing Wonder All Around Us: Kathleen McKitty Harris, 49

Today I’ve changed up my content calendar to bring you an episode that speaks more to where we all find ourselves today – dealing with the uncertainty of a global pandemic. I had this conversation last week with Kathleen McKitty Harris and feel this is an especially timely episode because she challenges us to see the wonder all around us, every day. That means even now while our autopilot has effectively been ground to a halt. I want to give you content that you want, so I’m asking you help me do that by answering a survey that won’t take more than 5 minutes of your time. You can even pause right now to do it - you’ll find the direct link here: Kathleen McKitty Harris and I talk about how she gained confidence in her 40s to really embrace her calling, the quest for identity, and how she’s feeling about the coming empty nest. We also talk about how we can weather life with confidence because of our experience and how we, as GenXers, have an opportunity to be a bridge to other generations. I personally love how Kathleen captures both the beauty and absurdity of life, with a dash of humor, on her Instagram posts. In the episode she talks about how all we have are our stories -- and that every day we start a new one when we rise. We have more opportunity than ever to witness the ordinary now as we social distance, which I think gives us back a sense of control. Kathleen McKitty Harris is a fifth-generation native New Yorker whose work has been published in Longreads, Creative Nonfiction, Sonora Review, McSweeney's, and The Rumpus, among others. Her essay, “A Timeline of Human Female Development,” appears in My Body, My Words, an anthology centered on body image and positivity, and named by BUSTLE Magazine as one of “11 New Feminist Books That Could Totally Change Your Year.” Kathleen also performs as a storyteller at such venues as The Moth in New York City, and co-hosts the “What’s Your Story?” reading series in her backyard in northern New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, two children, and an irredeemable dog. Be sure to connect with me on social media to stay abreast of everything. I love hearing from you, so send me an email or leave a comment on any the episode on the website, which you can find at I’ll also tell you how to connect with Kathleen in the show notes - I hope you’ll give her a follow her on Instagram. Thanks for listening!
Mar 10, 2020 17 min

Mini-Ep. 5 - Five Things I’ve Learned This Year

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Forties Stories! So, I wanted to jump in here with a mini-episode about what I’ve learned this year. This project has been a real journey for me and I know many of you have been there every step of the way, for which I’m truly grateful. If you are new to the show, welcome. It’s great to have you here and I look forward to hearing what’s important to you at this stage in your life. I want to keep sharing stories with you. I’ve made it a goal to do 40 interviews. I think I’ll keep going after that, but I want to hear from you. Please take this 5-minute survey so I will know what kind of engagement and content you prefer going forward. You can find it here: Do you want more resources on the website – such as articles, resources, and more personal stories? I’ve got a lot of listeners in the Washington, DC area, which is where I live. If that is you, I’d love to know if you would be interested in small-group workshops around midlife issues, finding your voice, job transitions, and/or a non-fiction book group? Speaking of content, I have a new feature on the blog, which is like a book group but doesn’t take as much time. I will be posting relevant articles for us to read and discuss on the website. The first one is up today and is an article from Psychology Today about a number of topics including the idea of a midlife crisis, identifying with chronological age, the harm that even benevolent ageism causes, and using age-based stereotypes to define yourself and your behavior. It’s a bit provocative, which is why I chose it. Once you read it, I have posted some questions to get a discussion started. Find it here: I will do a bigger celebration when I hit the 40 interviews mark, so I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey. I would love it if you would forward the show to a friend who might need it right now. It also helps more people find the show when you rate or review it – which takes less than one minute. I read every one and it really keeps me going. I’ll have an interview for you next week – which I know you’ll love. Thanks for listening!
Feb 11, 2020 56 min

Lessons for Midlife: Jacqueline Kerr, 48

Today we’re talking about what a midlife crisis might teach us. I had a great, and uplifting, conversation with Jacqueline Kerr. We talk about conscious parenting, why the question “what do I want?” is so difficult, and how her relationships improved after a midlife crisis. We also talk about why it’s important that our kids see us struggle and the prevalence of gender bias, especially in academia. Jacqueline has some interesting advice for anyone dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s that left me a bit teary. Jacqueline Kerr has lived all over the world and attended boarding school from the age of 10. She started her career in advertising, but wanted to use her persuasion skills for something with more purpose, so she got a PhD in physical activity promotion. She came to the US in 2004 for a postdoc, with no intention to stay, but ended up meeting her husband. She got her first professor job after writing a successful grant while on maternity leave. Jacqueline became a full professor in 2017 and got a $10 million grant, but it felt meaningless at the age of 45 and she left it all a just over a year later. Jacqueline is currently running a grant writing consultancy, hosting a midlife podcast, looking after her two kids who are 6 & 11, and taking improv classes – she’s still on the journey, but is not tethered to a life that was no longer working for her. For similar episodes, check out: #27 - My friend Jo felt like she wasn’t where she expected to be at 40. #30 - Catherine Schweikert said the traumas in her life caught up with her body in midlife. #21 – Barb Dvoracek realized that she was no longer having “firsts” and talks about the U-Curve. Be sure to connect with me on social media to stay abreast of everything coming in 2020. I’d love to know how I can support you on your journey, so send me an email or leave a comment on any the episode on the website, which you can find at I’ll also tell you how to connect with Jacqueline and find her podcast in the show notes. If you are enjoying the show, please share it with a friend and get a conversation started. Thanks for listening and your support!
Jan 28, 2020 55 min

The Intuition to Heal: Catherine Schweikert, 49

I had an interesting and insightful conversation with Catherine Schwikert. We talk about how your triumphs and traumas affect your health and body, the power of using your intuition, and how she felt a deeper calling in her 40s. She discusses her idea of pragmatic compassion and how we can practice it in our lives to heal our bodies and souls. Catherine also shares some wisdom about how to better work in partnership with medical professionals. Catherine Schweikert was born in Texas and raised on military bases until the age of 10. Her family settled in California when her parents divorced. She was abused by an older family member, and at that time she discovered that her older sister was actually her mother. She struggled with her identity and her place in the world for many years and eventually found her solace in books, education, and her insatiable quest for healing. Catherine has been practicing medicine as a physician assistant for the last 20 years in both emergency departments and urgent care. She is currently working on her PhD in applied psychophysiology to better understand trauma and the human body response to it and how it relates to physiological illness. She blogs at and is currently in the final editing processes of her first nonfiction book. The book describes her personal experiences and how she rose from the confusion of a traumatic childhood to heal and share her compassionate pragmatic methods to help others heal. Catherine does not discuss any abuse in this episode. If you have suffered any kind of trauma, including generational trauma, I hope that you will find some hope in this episode, even if just the tiniest glimmer. I know that often resources feel scarce, but I encourage you to check out Catherine’s blog for some additional support. If you are enjoying the show, please leave a rating or review and share it with a friend. Thanks for listening!
Dec 31, 2019 50 min

Celebrate and Share Your Strengths: Halelly Azulay, 49

What better way to ring in the new year (and decade!) then to discover your strengths and use them to create meaningful work and a fulfilling life. I wanted this conversation to go live on the last day of 2019 because it is more practical and action-oriented than my usual episodes. There’s a lot of excitement – and hype! – around 2020 and many of us are planning our year and even thinking more long term, so my guest, Hallely Azulay, offers some valuable insight and tools. Halelly and I talk about the formula for determining your strengths and how those strengths should guide you more than an elusive search for your “passion,” and how to be more positive about networking. Hallely busts the myth that women, especially those in midlife, aren’t strong – physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She shares how a number of childhood moves made her determined and what she’s most excited about now. Halelly Azulay is CEO & leadership development strategist at TalentGrow LLC. An expert in leadership, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and authentic networking, she develops leaders that people want to follow. She is the author of two books, Employee Development on a Shoestring and Strength to Strength. Halelly offers actionable leadership insights and advice as a sought-after speaker and workshop leader as well as on her blog and her leadership podcast, the TalentGrow Show. You can find the show notes, and how to connect with Halelly, here: I’ll share my other 4 top strengths in the comments section on this episode, and invite you to do the same. Were there any surprises? I’d also love to know if you generally pick a word of the year? It’s not something that I’ve ever done before, so I’m looking to all of you to see if this is something you find helpful. I’ve narrowed in on one, but I can find myself getting a bit twitchy narrowing it to just one. Let me know what you’ve picked or if you are word-curious and we can figure it out together. I would be remiss if I ended the year without letting you know how truly grateful I am that you have tuned in and supported me and the show – since I first hit publish in March. Thank you to everyone who has rated or reviewed the show – I know you get so many requests to review podcasts, books, small businesses, and everything else. I read every review and love hearing from you! I’d love to know how I can support you on your journey. You can find me on all the social media platforms or shoot me an email. I look forward to sharing more stories with you as we navigate midlife together - and hope that 2020 is a year for discovery and growth. Happy New Year!
Dec 17, 2019 47 min

Living Out Loud: Allison Hare, 45

I hope that today’s conversation and past episodes on this show will leave you inspired to live out loud. By sharing our stories, we feel connected. We feel seen. We feel less alone. And that’s my mission. Allison Hare and I talk about being multipassionate, how women too often suffer in silence, and how she regained her voice and power on the birth of her second child. Allison shares a very personal and poignant story about how she became obsessed with her post-baby body and how one simple question brought her back to reality. You’ll also hear about her 2020 goal and a great productivity hack that’s helped her to be more creative. Allison Hare is high tech sales professional, speaker, and activist. She is the host and producer of the Little Left of Center podcast, where she interviews culture changers and the most fascinating people who veer off the path of convention and change the way we live. She is launching a new podcast course called Press Play Podcasts in January. Please head over to for the show notes and to connect with Allison. Every episode has a comments section, so please check it out and share your thoughts. You can also email me or find me on social media. Finally, I am always looking for news on what 40-something women are doing and achieving, so please send me any stories, news pieces, or leads. If you are enjoying the show, I hope you will forward it to a friend and get a conversation started. Thanks for listening!
Dec 03, 2019 55 min

The Myth of Having it All: Johanna Selth, 43

A special thanks to my friend Johanna Selth for joining me for an interview this week! Johanna and I talk about her career twists, how her mom’s death made her feel about aging, and why we should ask other women for help. We also talk about sacrifice and the myth of having it all. Johanna is an Australian human rights lawyer who has lived and worked in Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, Afghanistan, China, and now the US. Her career has spanned private practice, government, and both local and large international NGOs. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two children and loves to read, travel, do Pilates, and walk her golden retriever. She also told me that something she didn’t mention in the interview is that she is a spiritual person and has a strong faith, which is a big part of her self-care. I truly admire Johanna for sharing her story at a time when she doesn’t feel that all the stars are aligned in her life – as you’ll hear her describe. So often we are only willing to share the good stuff – it’s harder to admit that we’re not where we want to be. I hope she, and the other women without a platform who come on the show, feel empowered for sharing their voice and truth. I know those of you listening will feel comforted because you relate (I can!) and then be inspired to keep going – knowing you aren’t alone. I love to hear from you! Go to to comment on this episode, send me an email, or find me on social media. I’d be grateful if you would share the show with a friend and leave a review. Thanks for listening!
Nov 05, 2019 41 min

Building Healthy Boundaries: Helen Snape, 43

Today we are talking about the insidious business of people pleasing. It’s something that so many of us do without even thinking. It’s become a habit that my guest Helen Snape gently reminds us that we can change. She’s been there herself. Helen became a transformational relationship coach after 19 years in Human Resources and Development. She works with women on breaking free from people-pleasing, codependency, and bad relationships to build a life they love. Helen loves walking in the woods, meditating daily, and dancing to YouTube videos. She lives with her partner in Surrey, England. Helen and I talk about the roots of people pleasing in her life, how a scarcity mindset limits us, and how to reparent our inner child. She opens up about how a childhood of bullying made her “dial down” her true self and what served as her wake-up call. She also busts the idea that women should be nice. After the interview, Helen confessed off the air that she’s only recently begun to tell her story. I admire this so much. We as humans are bound by stories. We see our pain, our joy, our idiosyncrasies in others. I asked her if I could share that with you. She agreed. I think you’ll understand after hearing her powerful story, which she so eloquently tells. Get a copy of Helen’s new book, “Building Healthy Boundaries - An Over-Givers Guide to When to Say Yes and How to Say No in Relationships.” Head over to to find out how do that and connect with Helen. I’d love to hear what you think about the episode. Is people pleasing something you struggle with or have overcome? Every episode has a comments section on the website, so please check it out and share your thoughts. We’re all in this together. You can also email me and find me on social media. Finally, if you are enjoying the show, I hope you will forward it to a friend and get a conversation started. Thanks for listening!
Oct 22, 2019 44 min

A Reinvention Story: Manuela Powell, 46

What do you want? Manuela Powell asked herself that very question and then totally disrupted her life. We talk about how her life changed at 39 when her mom came to visit, a recent solo adventure she challenged herself to do, and how awareness is the first step toward shifting a spiraling mindset. She also shares what happened when she finally started making time for conscious decisions. Manuela is a life coach who helps people change their minds in order to change their lives. For over 17 years, she was a cancer surgeon, in Brazil and in the US, at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After becoming a mother at 42, she craved more flexibility, freedom, and time with her family. So she put away her scalpel to start operating deeper in the psyche, beyond the physical body. Manuela is obnoxiously happy with her new life, and thrives on guiding others in their own reinvention. Do you want to see more women in media? I sure do. Be sure to listen to find out how you can support and elevate women in the industry. A special thanks to Coach Christine of the Your Empty Nest podcast! Thanks for listening! If you are enjoying the show, share it with a friend and rate or review it. I’d love to hear from you. Find me at or on social media.
Oct 08, 2019 55 min

The Amazing Power of Being Honest: Judi Ketteler, 45

Are we telling ourselves the truth? Today we dive into the topic of honesty, which is the subject of Judi Ketteler’s forthcoming book, “Would I Lie To You? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in World That Lies.” Judi and I talk about the roots of lying in her own life, how honesty isn’t as simple as you might believe, and why in this fractured time in our history we should all question our decisions around telling the truth. We talk a lot about friendship on this show, and Judi tells us why she feels making and keeping friends in your 40s is hard. This book is about relationships, and Judi makes the case that honesty improves them. The most important relationship is the one that you have with yourself. Judi Ketteler has written for dozens of publications such as The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, and many more. She’s also an award-winning columnist for Cincinnati Magazine, where she writes pieces about the weirdness of midlife. She is the author of two non-fiction books on sewing. When she’s not writing, Judi loves running, yoga, and flea markets. She lives with her husband and two young children in Cincinnati, Ohio. The book will be released on December 31, so if you preorder you will have it in hand on January 1 - which is a perfect way to dive into 2020. That’s right, we’re headed into a new decade, which seems a perfect time to make some changes. If you like to wrestle with big topics, are just curious, or want to feel more powerful than you need to check out this book. Yup, the most important piece to remember is its subtitle “The amazing power of being honest in a world that lies.” Doesn’t that sound nice. I will let you know how to connect with Judi in the show notes, which you can find at If you are enjoying the show, I hope you’ll spread the word by sharing it with a friend. Let me know what you think of the episode. On the website there is a comments section for every episode, or you can reach me by email or on social media. Thanks for listening!
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