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Modern Renegades with Ashley Kelsch | Aging Gracefully with Jane McCann

Ep #83

Aging Gracefully with Jane McCann

In a world that delivers an unlimited amount of messaging on how to stay and look young, I’ve recently been contemplating how I want to navigate the aging journey and how hard I can love myself with wrinkles and grey hair.

I decided I wanted to find women to interview on the podcast who are embracing aging and all the changes that come with it, and within a day of making this decision, I discovered Jane McCann, The Middle-Aged Goddess. Jane has been sharing her menopause adventures on Instagram over the last five years and her mission is to inspire women of all ages to start where they are and find joy in the aging process.

Join us this week for a candid discussion about menopause, aging, and learning to love ourselves and our bodies. Jane shares her advice to women entering their 40s who are concerned about the aging process and shows you how to embrace, accept and find joy in the everyday moments.

What You Will Discover:

  • How Jane got clear on what she truly wanted from her life.
  • Jane’s experience with perimenopause and menopause.
  • How Jane started running her business and helping women feel comfortable with their bodies.
  • Why the younger generation of women is more accepting of their bodies.
  • How to find the beauty in aging.

Resources Mentioned:

  • If you’re enjoying the tools and concepts I’m sharing each week about your brain on dating, you won’t want to miss out on working with me one-on-one. I’ve just launched my program, Wake Up Before Another Breakup, where in just 8 weeks, you won’t question if you can trust yourself to date or why you can’t find the one. Click here to learn more about it and how you can work with me.
  • Jane McCann: Instagram | Bravo with Jane Instagram |
  • Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being by Christiane Northrup M.D.
  • I’m taking tune in and turn on to another level, and I want to invite you to join me on the journey. I have created a space called the House of Other, it’s an unedited guide to finding pleasure. You’ll find my ratings, reviews, experiences, opinions and recommendations on all things I’m indulging in, as well as conversations and essays addressing all things cliteracy. Come on over and subscribe to join me on the journey, I’ll see you there.

Enjoy the Show?

This is Ashley Kelsch and you are listening to Modern Renegades episode number 83.

Welcome to Modern Renegades in the Name of Love. A podcast that dives deep into understanding our bodies and minds on dating, sex, relationships and all the things we do in the name of love. Each week I’m going to be interviewing doctors, professionals, experts, and the diehard love nerds to gain insight and get advice, or just riff on this human condition that almost everyone is trying to figure out.

Renegades, I am so excited for you her to hear today’s conversation with Jane McCann. As a woman who says she has been over-disclosing and sharing her menopause adventures on Instagram for the last five years, she is ready to share and always up for a laugh. She hopes to inspire women of all ages to start where they are and feel amazing wherever they find themselves. And she does not disappoint.

I came across her Instagram, The Middle Aged Goddess, within literally like a day of deciding I wanted to find women who are embracing aging and the changes that come with it. That are enjoying it, and having fun, and feel good. In a world that delivers and unlimited amount of messaging around how to stay and look young I’ve been questioning how I want to navigate that journey.

Ultimately, I landed on the question of how hard can I love myself with wrinkles and gray hair? To go there, what will it take? I’m not opposed to Botox or hair die but for the time being I’m exploring seeing myself where I am, as I am.

Jane’s attitude and message to all women is not just one around how to age, but how to find joy. Joy in every day, joy in the small moments. After our conversation I was laying in bed that night doing that thing that she and I talk about that we do. Which is to say thanking the universe, the divine, the goddesses, praying, for the conversation that she and I had.

And it dawned on me that her joy really boiled down to one thing. And it was her sense of self. Who she is and has become. Not the children, not the men and dating love life, not the work. I mean, don’t get me wrong, all those facets she speaks so fondly of. They are certainly huge parts of her life, but that’s not what has defined her worth or joy. I thought, “Man, Jane, the middle aged goddess, she’s a true renegade.”

I mentioned in the show notes, and you’ll hear at the end of our conversation how you can follow her, and I highly recommend you subscribe. I mean, that is if you’re into embracing the beauty and joy of being you as you are in this life that you’re living. No pressure there. But I bet you are if you’re listening to this podcast.

Also, she’s just so much fun to watch. Her energy and her dancing, truly inspiring. I hope you enjoy this conversation. Hit us with some messages or some questions on the comments page. And otherwise, I’ll talk to you next week.

Ashley: Hey Jane, how are you?

Jane: I’m good, babe. How are you doing? It’s morning here, what time is it there?

Ashley: I’m in the evening, I’m seven o’clock. It’s Thursday.

Jane: It’s Friday morning here, it’s just a head trip.

Ashley: That is a head trip. But you know what’s even more of a trip? So for the listeners, Jane is in Australia, another trip is you’re – We’re just going to jump right in, your pandemic is a little bit different than mine.

Jane: Yeah. Yes, so I’m in lockdown at the moment. This is lockdown number six for us. In the state I live in our numbers are small, but what our government does is as soon as there’s a rise – So for example, last Wednesday we were at zero cases and then the next day we were in lockdown. So as soon as there's a little spike we get shut down.

So last year, for example, we had 100 days straight in lockdown, like serious lockdown. We had curfews, you couldn't have anyone in your house, all the shops were shut. It was full on. So we're doing the corona cha-cha I call it at the moment. Where we're in, then we're out. We’re in, then we're out.

Ashley: Yeah. You have the right attitude for that. It's a matter of remaining fluid, I think.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: I'm in Texas and our state is actually sort of the opposite of a lot of what you're going through. And it's been interesting to watch, because I'm in a liberal part of the state but the rest of the state is fairly conservative. So we have a lot of conflict with people in government and federal government itself. Texas just kind of like wants to be on its own anyway and it definitely is acting as if it's on its own during this. It's been wild to watch.

Jane: Right, yeah.

Ashley: A lot of conflicting messages about it. So a lot of people not wearing masks going out and then a lot of people not putting masks back on. Because we're having a surge again and we're in a stage five, but you wouldn't know it.

Jane: Oh, wow.

Ashley: Yeah, it's just crazy.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: Which is not the thing I wanted to talk about, of course, but you telling me you were in quarantine and lockdown I was like, wow, it's wild. Because you would think that we would be over here, but we're not.

Jane: Yeah, yeah. I think every state here handles it differently. So in New South Wales, for example, they didn't lock down so early so they're having massive numbers. But yeah, our premier just goes, “No, shut everything down.” So it's the weirdest time, I'm conflicted about it all. I wasn't, but now I'm kind of like, “How can we keep on going like this?”

Ashley: Right.

Jane: That attitude here in Australia is where safe on our little island, let's just keep everybody out. No one can get out, let's just stay here. And while the rest of the world, I think, is learning to live with it, we're really not. And something here needs to shift. Our vaccine roll-out has been handled really badly, so people are only just getting vaccinated now. It's really bloody tricky. Wherever you are in the world, it's really difficult.

Ashley: Well, so let's just dive into some of the other things because that will also lend a conversation to your work and what you're doing and your life. I found you randomly through Paulina, who I also found randomly through a New York Times article, I think. And I just really loved her messaging about her age, and dating, and her story.

And so I followed her. And this day I think, is when she mentioned what it was, again, back to aging and being natural and loving this stage of life. And a shout out to people on Instagram doing this.

And I'm officially in my 40s at 41, and have been sort of sitting back and questioning how I want to age and what I want that to look like. And I've been really sitting with I want to do it as naturally and organic as possible. And at one time that meant with a little bit of Botox.

And recently, like in February, I think is the last time I did that. And I was like, “I don't think I want to do it. And I think I just want to age gracefully. And I think I want this gray hair to come in and own this process. And like really deal with the inner work of how hard can I love myself through that? Because the messaging and everything I'm receiving on the outside is ramming up against it.”

So it seems like a real calling to really love myself. And I presented that question, found Paulina, she shouted, I just randomly clicked on your middle aged goddess. And your video, I mean, your face was just so – You just exude this energy and it's just beautiful. And the dancing and your messaging and I immediately messaged you.

I was like, “I want to talk to you. You're like a sage, you're so wise about this and being true to a calling I feel called to and putting the example out there of the possibility of making it truly authentic, like it's so you.” Like I'm sad I don't have the gray hair yet. I was like I want to be with you. I want all of it now.

Jane: Well, yeah, I got my first gray hair when I was 19, so they came on thick and fast. My ex-husband always tells the story of on my 40th birthday I got out of the shower. I didn't know that your pubic hair went gray. I got out of the shower and looked down and he said, “I've never heard you scream so loudly in all your life.”

Ashley: That’s amazing.

Jane: Can I swear on here?

Ashley: You get to say and do whatever you want.

Jane: Okay. I was like, “What the fuck?” So, yeah. And look, I colored my hair for a long time. I never had a plan to go gray or be natural, it's just how I've evolved. I did dabble in Botox a bit like you in my 40s. And I remember going to get a bit of a top up on my forehead. And the woman said to me, “So what we need to think about as you start to age is maybe a little in your cheeks, and a little around your eyes, and maybe some in your lips.”

And it was at that moment I thought, “If I start doing this now in my early 40s I'm not ever going to be able to stop. I'm going to have to keep on doing this. And then what else am I going to be adding in?” And it was this kind of this light bulb moment and I just went, “I’m not going to do this anymore.” So I got my top up and never went back. That's probably 12, 13 years ago.

But that was just my journey with it. Everyone else is different. And absolutely, if you want to do that, go for it. But yeah, that was the moment I went, “Oh, no.”

Ashley: It's just you realize this is actually a never ending battle.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: And if there's a battle I'm going to be choosing here is it to keep getting my face as tight as possible or for just some of that inner work? And I too am like you, I'm like, “I get it, do it up.” Like I totally get it, that's the world messaging of what we live in, and to feel youthful you must maybe look youthful. But yeah, I was just like, “I don't know if I want to keep doing that.”

But I've only entered it now, so who knows what's going to happen. Every day I'm like, “Okay, so this is my baseline. Here's where we are, here’s what we’re doing.”

Jane: Yeah, and Paulina says that too. At the moment she's not having any Botox or doing anything like that. But she also says, “One day, I might.” And I actually think compared to years ago when I was doing it, that really tight look was in. And now I've got some friends that do it, and they just get a little sprinkle. And it just makes them look a little brighter. And I totally understand, but it's just not my thing.

Ashley: Not my thing either. When did you start talking about it and have the middle aged goddess? When you decided to stop with the Botox and the aging, was there a point where you were like this is a message I want to send out and here's what that's going to look like?

Jane: Not really, I was teaching yoga and it started off as my yoga page. And the whole middle aged goddess name was just a bit of a joke, really. Because I was looking around and there were lots of yoga goddess and bikini goddess. And lots of goddesses out there, but no one my age. So the whole name just really came about as a bit of a pisstake, as we say in Australia. I don’t know if you say that over there.

Ashley: We say it in Texas, pisstake.

Jane: Okay, cool. So it sort of started off as my yoga page. And then one day I was just a bit down in the dumps and I videoed myself singing along to a song. And then that kind of built up a bit of momentum. And people started following along for that.

I still get people messaging me going, “I used to like you more when you just did your song and dance routine.” It's a bit like, with bands when you go, “I like your old stuff more than your new stuff.” But anyway, I find that quite funny when I get those messages.

Ashley: Yeah, everyone is a critic.

Jane: And then I just, I started going through perimenopause. And I was a bit like, “What the fuck is going on? I don't know what's happening to me.” And I couldn't find anyone out there talking about it.

And I felt like I was going a bit crazy. And so I just started talking about that. And then other women hopped on and started sharing their experiences. And so then it really became about my menopause adventure, I call it. And in that there was a whole lot of life stuff that happened as well, which I shared.

And I call myself an over-discloser, I'm quite happy to share stuff. But what you see is a tiny portion of my life, but I like to share the stuff that I think other women can relate to. Especially women my age.

Ashley: I can relate to that on so many levels. Number one, from having a lingerie store I would have women come in because I would talk about things I was in and experiencing. And there was women who were entering menopause or perimenopause and asking if I knew anything about it. Did I have any people who would want to speak to it? And I was like, “Wow.” And they were like, “We would pay to come to courses. There's nothing out here, there’s no information.”

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: So I want to get to your point of – I'm an over-discloser also, but it's interesting because people think I share anything and everything. And I'm like, it's actually not. There's a lot behind the scenes that is private and sacred. And I don't have trouble talking about this part of life and these topics that a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about or we haven't talked about.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: I'm like, I have like the unedited version of your thoughts in your mind that I'm willing to just go with. But my edited version is something else that I don't share that either. There is like that sacred space.

Jane: Absolutely.

Ashley: Like what was that change you noticed? What was happening within you that you were like, “Oh, I'm entering in this hormonal shift.” What did that look like?

Jane: It was for me the hot flushes. And I remember the first time I had one, I was on my way to my girlfriend's 40th, and I was about 45. And I was in the backseat of my girlfriend's car. And I'm winding down the window and I’m going, “Are you guys hot?” They're like, “No.” And I’m like, “Oh my god, I think maybe I'm having a hot flash.”

And my girlfriend goes, “But you're not 50.” Because that's what we're told, it starts to happen around 50. “You're not 50, you're not going through menopause.” I was like, “Yeah, maybe. Maybe I'm not.” And then they just started coming on.

And I had to do my own research, my mom had passed away already. My sister, who has since passed away, had gone through early menopause because of her breast cancer treatment. So she was sort of like, “Well, I don't really know.” Because she'd gone through it already. So I had to really do my research and try and find out what the hell was going on with me.

I remember going to my doctor and she was the same, she was like, “No, you're too young.” Because that's the information out there, that it's something that happens around 50. No, you're too young. And so it wasn't until I found another doctor who did some blood tests and was like, “Yeah, it's perimenopause. That's what's going on.”

And then that was a light bulb moment for me because I actually thought – Actually, I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what was happening to me.

Ashley: Did you even know of the word perimenopause prior to that?

Jane: No.

Ashley: I feel like that was a new – We've all heard menopause, and like you're saying in your 50s. But perimenopause is only something I've heard about in the last few years, I feel like maybe three to five. It wasn't something I'd ever heard.

Jane: I just thought you got to 50 and you started having hot flushes, and your vagina dried up, and your periods stopped, right?

Ashley: Right.

Jane: Yeah, that was all the information that I knew about it. And there was nothing good out there. There was nothing to look forward to. In everything I looked at there was no joy at the end of this. It was like, “Yeah, your life's just going to be over. You're not going to feel like sex. And yeah, congratulations, we don't need you and your womb anymore.”

Ashley: Oh my God. So tell us, when you received those thoughts also combined with, “Oh god, my life is over. There's no joy. There's no sex.” How did you proceed?

Jane: So I guess I started looking for women out there that were older than me, I started doing more research. And I just started feeling amazing. So I started feeling the most amazing clarity in my life about what was going on. I started feeling like, “Okay, so I'm not going to have any more kids. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

I just started looking around going, “Well, what are my options now?” And there were a lot of options. I started looking at my marriage going, “Okay, so do I want to be with this person for the rest of my life?” And the answer was no, I really like this person, but I'm not in love anymore.

I also had some other really major things happen in my life, like my sister passed away. And it was this kind of wakeup call for me to get my head out of the sand and have a look around and go, “What do I really want?”

And all of that became very clear without the massive surges of estrogen happening every month in my life. Because the estrogen hormone is what makes us want to look after everybody else.

Ashley: Right.

Jane: Yeah, and then when that reduces, I think it really puts a light back on yourself. Okay, so what do I want? And all of that became really clear.

Ashley: I've read that, the estrogen is called the “how can I help you, honey” hormone.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: And that's why, depending on your cycle, that second into your third week, when that's depleted and your PMSing and you're like, “I don't have time for this. I don't want to do this” that's actually more aligned with your truth. Because you're not like bathing in these hormones.

And those hormones are so necessary for us to be able to raise our children and be there for them and provide. And as those go away, into the, I've read, 40s, 50s that starts to go away, and it becomes more about oneself. Because that dies down and you're like, “Wait, what do I need to do for me? How do I take care of me?”

But yeah, again, that's just stuff that I've been reading, but have never heard from anyone in my family or other women. It's because people asked me and I was like, “I got to find out about this for others.”

And so many women, I hear of so many women who are getting to that point in their life and their marriages or their long term relationships. They're just going, “Yeah, I don't want to do this anymore.” It seems to be a bit of a thing. And I think it's definitely linked to menopause.

And I know, bless my ex-husband, we get on very well. We're very good friends. And maybe a year after we'd split up, he said to me, “So do you think you’re through menopause now?” I think he thought I'd get to the end of it and go, “Yeah, I want you back.” And I'm like, “Yeah, I think I probably am. But yeah, I'm still feeling the same.”

So, yeah, I call it my menopause adventure because it was not just about all the physical stuff, but so much about all the mental and emotional stuff for me and what I was willing to accept in my life and what I had to let go of.

Ashley: So I also read on your post, “Not fully divorced, separated.” Was it like a life wife? A bestie? A sistar?

Jane: Yeah, yeah.

Ashley: You have like a lover, a romantic partner and two sons. Is that right?

Jane: I do, yes. I've got my two beautiful boys, they're 22 and 17. So my eldest is an outdoor education leader. So he spends his days, well now we're in lockdown he spends his day surfing. But you know rock climbing, kayaking. And then my youngest is in year 11. So he's got another year of high school to go.

They're amazing. And then I've got my life wife, who's one of my besties, Maz, and she's been in my life probably for about eight years. And we're business partners as well, she's incredible. I've got a handful of women that I hold really close to me, that I call my sisters and my besties.

And then I've got my fella, who I met a year after my marriage separation. And we've been together now for three years. And that's really amazing, it's a work in progress. You don't get to our age and come into a relationship with no baggage.

We both brought a whole lot of stuff into it that we're working through. We don't live together. That's probably on the cards maybe early next year. But there's been negotiation around that and my boundaries and space issues.

Ashley: Can you can you speak to that?

Jane: Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, I was married for 21 years. And it's interesting, at my age when you tell people that your marriage is over usually they say, “How are you?” And then it's like, “Are you going to get on Tinder?” I was like, “Fuck no. I just left this relationship and no. Why would I be doing that?”

To be honest, at that point I didn't care if I never had sex again. I was just like, “No, I just need my space. I need my empty house. I just need a chance to breathe and be on my own.” And even when I met Brett, we didn't meet online, we met through his ex-wife’s sister actually. We all get on very well.

It's taken me a long time to even consider us sharing our own space. So I think that's been a little tricky for him. And I've had very firm boundaries up, so I've had to learn to let go of some of my boundaries and allow him to come in. And he's had to learn to step back and let me take some time to meet him there.

So yeah, it's been some work for both of us to get to that point. But yeah, we're getting there slowly.

Ashley: Well it sounds like you're right on time.

Jane: Yeah, absolutely. And I had my youngest son to consider as well. He's week on, week off still with me as dad. So I had to make sure that it was right for him. And I nervously brought the subject up the other day, and he was like, “Yeah, I don't care. Brett is great.” And that was it, you know?

Ashley: Yeah. We placed so much consideration for our children, right? And what they might think, or how that'll affect them, and how are they going to feel about it? And then you mention it and they’re like, “Cool. Are you happy? Then I'm happy.”

Jane: Yeah, exactly.

Ashley: Yeah. Which is amazing but it's like there's this internalized pressure for us, it sounds like for you as a mother, to just I want my kids to be good and happy with everything. And they're like, “Yeah, no, I'm good. Do you.”

Jane: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And I think because they're older as well, so they're both just like, “Yeah, if you're happy then that's all cool.”

Ashley: Yeah, that's so great. I love talking to people who are making their own rules. They don't feel that they have to – You know, like you and your husband separated, you’re co-parenting, you have a support system of women, then you started dating somebody.

And you're just doing the thing and other people are like, “What's going on over there?” Like, “Are you going to get divorced? Are you going to move in with them? What's the next step?” Everyone wants answers, and it needs to be like a timeline. And it's supposed to look a certain way according to everyone else. And it's not, obviously. But that's what's been put out in front of us.

Jane: Yeah, exactly. I guess I've never lived my life like that. So I've always been a little rebellious and a little out of the box. I'm covered in tattoos and I’ve lived a life in the 80s and the 90s and was the party queen for days on end, that kind of thing.

So, yeah, I've never done anything sort of traditional, apart from getting married. That's probably the most traditional thing I've done. So yeah, for me, it's just always been sort of very organic. And I've just kind of floated along with things.

Sometimes I should have floated in the other direction, for sure. But yeah, I've just sort of always done that. So I guess as far as my marriage goes, I think we've both made a real effort to get along. And we've done that for the kids as well, but also we'll always be a family.

I will always love him that way because he's the father of my kids. And we've lived a life together. And a lot of that life was really amazing. So I guess there was no betrayal or anything like that. We just ran out of path.

We had five years of intense stuff happening. His mum died, his dad died, my sister died, we had a young friend take her life. We had just this rolling sea of grief. And in that we were both trying to find our own way out of it, we didn't do it together. And I think we got to the end of it and both of us were just at completely different stages in our life.

And, yeah, it's really sad. And I'm always deeply sad that it didn't work out. But it's what can happen. And I can't speak for him, but I know for myself that I am deeply, deeply happy at this stage of my life, like I've never been before. And that's not because of my relationship. I'm just deeply content with who I am.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah. I love that. Your work that you're doing, you’re in the bra industry. I was so thrilled to see that.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: Tell me more about that.

Jane: So my life wife, Maz, we're brand ambassadors for an Australian brand called Intimo. She's been doing that for probably 17 years. And I had been wearing the product for about four years and loved it. I did a bit of modeling for them here and there. And really like their ethics and their sustainability practices.

And last year during the pandemic, when we were all in lockdown business tripled and I just ran out of excuses not to do it. Because I can do it from home, I can do it online. And so I just sort of dipped my toe in the water and started. And it's been incredible, I just gave up my full-time job last month just to do this completely. In the last year I've got my own office at home. I'm able to support myself and my family. And I'm able to support women in feeling incredible.

And I'm still trying to find the reason why the first thing we put on our bodies in the morning is usually the last thing that we think about. Or it's some shape crap bra that we bought that doesn't give us any shape that's going to end up in a landfill, that doesn't really make us feel good, that tries to flatten out our breasts. I'm just like, why are we doing this? When the first thing we put on our bodies in the morning should be something beautiful and make us feel incredible wherever we're at.

Ashley: Yeah, that was the message that I was trying to also – Well, I shouldn't say that was a message I was trying to figure out. Because I started my lingerie store, I think in 2008, but I opened it in Texas in ‘09 and it was a bra fitting store.

And it was pretty shocking the amount of – Well, because I wasn't prepared for it. I'd never thought about it. I had a fairly decent bra fitting story when I was younger. My first bra, went and did the thing. And I swear I think it was like Walmart, so it wasn't that big of a deal. But I was blossoming and my mom was like, “Let's go get your bra.” And it was a very special moment.
And then later in high school I remember taking my mom to Victoria's Secret and us getting these proper fittings in the velvet room and getting our miracle bras and spending like a whole paycheck. But it was this really amazing moment.

But that was my experience. And being in the dressing room for as long as I was, there's so much emotional weight for women in that weight of their breasts. And they don't really realize that until their top comes up and they start talking about how they despise bra shopping or their bodies because the weight that they associate with being overweight. Or how they used to flatten their breasts because of being made fun of as a girl with boobs. Or being objectified and sexualized for having their breasts at an early age.

There's so much there to unpack and I don't think people really realize that until they're in that moment, having that conversation, realizing how intense that is. So there's so much there that you're just like, “Oh, this is not just about a bra. It's certainly not.”

And in America, the consumers, it's different than say like the French bra. She typically saves a third of her salary to budget towards her foundations and her lingerie. That is not what's going on over here. And so it's a need and a necessity and not something about feeling good. And like you said, it's the first thing you put on and it's the last thing you take off. There's a message being missed about like how great that feels.

This thing that you're going to be in all day that can support you and also lift your mood but not be digging – Just the small things, like not uncomfortable, your proper fit. All of that, but not too many people were spreading that message here. I don't know what it's like in Australia, but Victoria's Secret really helps bring that message out. But I'm a fan of that, for that purpose. What they did to kind of normalize and educate the consumer.

Jane: I remember going to the bra store, same thing with my mom and getting fitted and measured. And yeah, it was something special. But now here in Australia at this moment doing bra fitting, so at my local department store, you have to take five bras in, you try them on, none of them fit.

They've actually got a fan in there because it's so fucking hot. And you're taking your clothes on and off. And then none of them fit, then you got to get dressed, go back out, get yourself another five, go back in. There's no one there advising you on what to do. It doesn't feel special, it feels like an ordeal.

And so that's why so many women are still wearing the bra they might have won 10 years ago. Still trying to squeeze themselves into that size. And you're right. And then when they come to me, I actually wasn't quite prepared for this, I'm ready for it now. But the story around their body and how they feel about themselves, I was quite shocked to hear the way that women talk about their bodies.

And so my whole thing is, let's just start where you are. Work with what you have, and let's get you feeling amazing now. Because I have women saying to me, “Maybe I'll buy a smaller bra because I'm going to lose weight.” I'm like, “Let's not wait for that, let's get you feeling good now.”

Ashley: Right, let's embrace where we are right now.

Jane: Yeah, and especially with a lot of my clients are women around my age, and the whole talk around menopause and how their bodies changed. And I used to be a 12B, and don't you dare put me in a size 16. I won't wear it. This is the kind of stuff that I get.

And I'm like, “But let's get you feeling good. Let's just start now. And yeah, I know the whole story around your body, because I have had that around mine as well. And some of the changes are really surprising. Like, what the hell? But let's just start here.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Jane: And yeah, I love doing mother daughter fittings because that's been really good. And I actually feel like the younger generation of women are more accepting about their bodies than women my age.

Ashley: For sure, yeah. Our generations are kind of bridging a gap, right?

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: We've embraced the fitting and feeling good about our bodies and have been, I feel, very fortunate to have more empowering messaging than to say, maybe our mothers did or our grandmothers. But this generation right now, it's a whole new way to embrace and own their bodies, and so much to learn from.

I have an almost 18 year old assigned female at birth child, and then a son at 20. So I'm always feeling refreshed in their new information and way of being. And I was already a little bit on the more progressive side. But even from my position in the world I'm like, “Whoa, I've never seen or heard like what you guys get to see.” Like never, that didn't even occur to us. Never. It’s so amazing.

I had women deeply hurt and angry and upset when I would tell them that their band was smaller, but their cup size would be say – Because in America, the sizing is like 32, 34, 36 band and then A, B, C cups. And most women were like, “It was always like a 36C.” And I'm like, “No, no, you're more like a 32 D, double D. So you're smaller around, but your cup is going to go up in the size.”

And some of the women would think if that cup is bigger, I'm bigger. And I'm like, “No, you're you're actually smaller around.” And there was such a resistance to what they thought those numbers and letters meant, and what they would make it mean about their bodies.

And learning how to handle or to be with those emotions with people in the dressing rooms and people coming in surviving cancer, or finding out they have cancer, or menopause and that body change that they're experiencing, or divorces, and dating, so much.

That's what led me into getting certified in life coaching because I was like, “I don't have time to become a therapist, but I want to know how to hold space and facilitate a conversation with someone.” Because it's a lot to be present with and not be able to help it, to assist in it. Yeah, it's some very meaningful work.

Jane: Yeah. Look, it's been amazing and interesting. And I love it and all the different women that I get to meet and the stories that I hear. And also the amazing team that I get to work with. It's been really incredible. And my fellow always says, “What are we going to do when we retire?” I'm like, “I'm not retiring, I got to keep doing this, it’s amazing.”

Ashley: Yes.

Jane: I get to help women feel good. It's the best job I have ever had.

Ashley: I love that. I love that you're doing the online. Because this is something that was brought up when I was in the fitting room. And in my mind at the time I was like, “I don't think I can really do this online.”

Jane: It actually works really well. So when I first started, I didn't fit a bra on a real live body for about five months because we were in lockdown. So it was all online. So I have the tape measure and they’ve got a tape measure. Although I did measure a woman the other day, she just had some ribbon that you would tie around a present and a ruler, and we got it right.

Ashley: You nailed it.

Jane: She got her order and it fitted, it was amazing. So I strip off. So I've got a cami bra on or a bra and then I show them how to measure. We do three measurements, and I'm looking at them so it's over Zoom or FaceTime. I'm looking at them and I'm getting pretty good now, I can look at a woman and go, “36 D, maybe a double D.”

Ashley: That’s how I am.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: Yeah, I can just look and size, it’s great.

Jane: Yeah. And so then we just do the measurement. And then I just share the screen, bring up the website. I've got a bra filter, it brings up all the bras in their size. And then we just go through and work out what's going to be best for them and their shape.

And then when they get their order we meet up for a fit check just for 10 minutes so I can just make sure that it's all okay. And that's it. So it works so well. No one needs to leave home, you don't need to check in, you don't need to wear a mask, you don't need to get in your car. Because I do group bookings as well, so you don't need to have people over, clean your house. It's all super easy.

Ashley: It’s almost like the pandemic is very suited for it. It's made it even probably accelerated to be able to do it online and make it better and more efficient.
Jane: Yeah, yeah. And I get to spend, an appointment is scheduled for 30 minutes, but usually it's 45, maybe an hour because there's always chitchat and I'm getting to know them. And yeah, you build this relationship.

So Maz has got clients that she fitted when they were late teens, then they're pregnant, then they're breastfeeding. And then there's after that. So it's this relationship that just continues. And it's amazing, really great.

Ashley: That's so great. I love it. What I loved is watching your videos on Bravo, Jane.

Jane: Oh, thanks.

Ashley: Yeah, just watching you do that, because it really is so empowering for other people. Again, so many women feel so self-conscious. And we're living in a time where we’re seeing more bodies in swimsuits and bras and lingerie. So it's not like this sexualized thing going on in front of us and we’re women. But seeing you do it and talk about the fit and educating is fantastic.

Jane: Yeah, it's been great, I can't wait. We're just Australia and New Zealand based at the moment. Global is coming, I'm just not sure when. They're just dealing with everything else with the pandemic at the moment. But yeah, there will come a point where we're going to expand. And you never know, I might come to Texas.

Ashley: Listen, what might be better is I meet him in Paris at the show.

Jane: Yeah, let’s do that. Absolutely, let's do that.

Ashley: I was in Paris, I think it was The Salon in 2014. I've been several times, but this time, specifically, I somehow was introduced to three or four shopkeepers from Australia. And we all sold a brand called PrimaDonna and they took us to Belgium.

And then we went back to Paris and I just ended up spending days walking with these different women and meeting their Australian friends who had moved to Paris. And it was three or four women and they were all in their 60s. And I was going through a terrible heartbreak. I just was so down and out, and then being in a country where I didn't speak the language.
But they just invited me out and I literally just like walked and talked and listened to their stories and then went to these dinners. And it was there, you seem to be such cheery and happy people.

Jane: We’re very relaxed down here. We've got a very relaxed sort of culture. I think that's because we're surrounded by water. And we all gravitate to the coast here. You know, your whole life is spent at the beach or going on holidays to the beach. And the weather as well. So yeah, we do, we’re quite chilled out.

Ashley: Yeah, it was one of the loveliest experiences to be in the presence of these women and their attitudes. And I guess the culture that they brought to my experience in Paris, it was really great.

Jane: Beautiful, and how amazing is Paris? When you get there it's just like, “Wow. Wow, amazing.”

Ashley: Yeah. So when you say ambassador, would it be more like reps as well? Like, would you be able to brand into stores?

Jane: No, so the whole idea – What's great about it, so it enables women to work from home and run the business absolutely the way you want to.
So I've chosen to do it full time. Some people have other jobs and they just do it on the side, or their full time parenting, or maybe they just want to do it one or two nights a week. So you can scale it to how it suits you. Which is amazing.

So there's a woman on my team, she's got another business. She's got two young kids she's homeschooling. So she dips in and out when it suits her. And that's the joy of it. So you don't need to have a retail space. You're not paying rent. When we're in lockdown you're not having to pay rent, which is amazing. There's no targets or anything like that, that you need to meet. You can absolutely run it just to suit your life. It's great.

Ashley: That’s such a great opportunity for people.

Jane: Yeah. So eventually when we do go global it will be the same sort of thing. So women in Texas will be able to fit people at home or online or just run it absolutely the way they want to. It's the best business, it’s great.

Ashley: That’s a great model.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: I love that. That's so great.

Okay, so what advice would you give women who are entering into their 40s and sort of feeling this age coming on and embracing it? Is there advice that you would give?
Jane: I would say, look for the joy. There's joy in it, there's joy in aging. We're not taught that. We’re taught, especially for women, that you're not going to be useful anymore or you're going to disappear.

I constantly hear our women aren’t visible on social media our age. And I'm just like, “Yeah, actually, we are. We're not invisible.” I don't feel invisible. I feel more sane than ever before, and not just because I'm on Instagram.

But I guess the vibe I have is just keep coming back to the word joy. Because I've realized it's not the big things in life, it's the accumulation and small things that make me happy and bring me love and light and joy in my life.

Yeah, don't give up. And also look for the resources that are going to make you feel better. They're out there. Find the women in your life that make you feel good. And even if it's just one thing a day, like for me, it's getting in the ocean.

I swim all year round. I live in Melbourne, so I'm in southern part of Australia. So we're in winter at the moment, it's cold. But I get in the cold water every day. I have a great coffee every day. It's just those little things that keep me living above the line and not sinking down below it.

And yeah, just trust that if you're starting your menopause journey now, and I'm not saying say no to HRT. Whatever gets you through, but on the other side is just this beautiful wave of acceptance that I've never felt about myself ever before.

Ashley: That gives me hope for sure. Getting into my 40s I was like, “Oh, I'm excited.” I was never more excited to actually enter into a stage, or a decade rather. Because I was like, there's no way in hell I would ever want to have, you know, God bless the 20s. But I would never want to be in that mindset again. Just because I didn't have much awareness and I was just doing what I'd been told to do.

30s I was reconciling all the shit that I was told to do that wasn't really who I was. I was like I've been divorced twice and I'm 31. Maybe marriage isn't what I want, why am I getting married? And what is that? And going through that.

So by the time I was in my 40s, I was like, I think I'm finally figuring out who I am and for me and the things I want and what my beliefs are and the choices I want to make from my life, not that life.

And so there was a huge freedom in that for me, in my mindset of going into it and thinking, I get it. When they're like it gets better, I'm like, I think they're right. I don't think they're just saying that. This is the truth.

Jane: Yeah, it does, it gets better. And even if you are partnered up and your kids are older and leaving home, it's almost like this new life that you're handed. Okay, so what are we going to do now?

I've got a friend, she's just taken off around Australia where she can get because of lockdown with her husband and her caravan doing the great Nomad thing. Fuck yeah, good on you. Like, you've done all that mothering and nurturing and now it's time to do that for yourself and your relationship.

Absolutely, there's stuff about aging that's difficult, arthritis, aching bones. I fell over and broke a bone a couple of weeks. You start to become a little more fragile.

Ashley: I’m not laughing at you, but you just smiled when you said it and I'm just like, it's such a relief. You're like, “Yeah, I broke my ribs.” Most people would be like, “I don't want to say that.” Like yeah, that shit happens.

Jane: Yeah, there's a whole lot of life out there. I'm excited about it.

Ashley: Yeah, I've been reading Goddesses Never Age by Dr. Northrup. I'm not sure if you're familiar with her.
Jane: Yeah, I know who she is.

Ashley: Yeah, she's great. And part of it she's like, as you begin to age, when you're making these references of being old or I'm too old to do that, she's like a majority of your wellbeing is your thoughts. What you are thinking affects your body on a physical level. So you don’t want to talk about aging in that way. And by the way, it's one of the most amazing experiences that you will have if you embrace it.

Jane: Yeah. And I wake up every morning, so my sister passed away. She was 57, she passed away from breast cancer. And she said to me once as I was moaning about getting older, she said, “Every birthday is a blessing, Jane. It's just the greatest gift.” And I was like, “Yeah, shut up, Jane. Yeah, it absolutely is.”

And I say to people now, my spiritual practice, I wake up in the morning, I open my eyes. And I said, “Thank you.” Thank you, because I'm grateful to be here. Because so many of our sisters and our mothers didn't get to experience old age. So yeah, every morning I say thank you. And at night, when I close my eyes, I say thank you again. That's my daily spiritual practice.

Ashley: It's a beautiful one.

Jane: Yeah.

Ashley: Yeah, the gratitude of being able to just be here.

Jane: Yeah. You know, some people write gratitude lists and all that kind of thing. I’m just too lazy to do that, so I figured that thank you just covers at all.

Ashley: Yeah, I'm with you. I do a similar, and at night I lay there and what used to be saying your prayers. I guess it's a meditation or a prayer and it's a thank you for this day and the things. And I'll go through what happened, and even on the days where it seems like nothing happened, even that was a beautiful day, the peace within that and the highlights of it. And sometimes I'm like, yeah, that part kind of sucked but here we are.

Jane: Exactly.

Ashley: We haven't a day tomorrow, let's do it. And I'll be grateful for it.

Jane: So true.

Ashley: Yeah. You're so much fun. I'm so grateful that I found you and that you had time for this conversation. Because of Zoom and all these other things that I get to connect with people like yourself all the way in Australia and hear your message and follow you. So for people listening, I'm going to put it in the show notes, but why don't you tell us where everyone else can tune in and turn on every day to you?

Jane: So yeah, you can follow along on Instagram. It's @themiddleagedgoddess, or my bra page, which is @Bravowithjane. So I'm sort of on both, that's my preferred platform. I'm not much on Facebook. I mean, I am, but yeah Insta is my kind of happy place. So come and find me there.

Ashley: No, you look happy on there. You're jamming, you're dancing. It’s a delight, it’s a delight for sure. Well, thank you again. I hope that we'll have another conversation in the future.

Jane: Yeah, I'd like to do that. I just want to say I just started listening to your episode about sex life. I'm not finished yet, but I just have to say I got three episodes in and just went, “What's with the white nightie? Why is it that every time she's with her kids, she's wearing that daggy white nightie? But when she's going out, she's dressed up and in the purple jacket, the pink jacket. Like what is that?” So I actually skipped to the last episode just to find out what happened. But yeah.

Ashley: That nightie, I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Yeah, the representation, and I didn't point any of that out in my episode. But it was something that crossed my mind because I was like, this is so typical of what a virgin like mother would look like in her white cotton. And I’m sure it’s a highly overpriced linen or something. But that display was, yeah, I was like, “This is just not. This is disgusting, they had a really great opportunity and they destroyed that.”

Jane: Yeah, and there is no woman on earth that I know of that has just given birth that wants to have as much sex as she did.

Ashley: Right? I was like, “Wow.” I don’t remember nursing, I remember pregnant and wanting to go crazy. My hormones were raging at one point, I was like, “Anybody? Anything?”

Jane: My husband would get home and I'd go, “Too late, sorry.”

Ashley: Yeah, I actually discovered sex toys during my first pregnancy. I hadn't had them before. I was in my I was 20, so I was young. But yeah, I was like, “Oh my God, thank God for this because my drive is a whole nother level and there's no way that he's going to keep up with that.”

But after, between the nursing, and the exhaustion, and my body, and the milk, and the things it was just like, “There's a lot of touching and a lot going on here. And I'm not, that's not the vibes I'm feeling at all. Actually, if ever now.” For a long time.

Jane: Yeah, I was the same and most women I know were the same as well. So yeah, watching that I'm just like, “God, who is this woman?”

Ashley: Right? I'm like, Okay. Yeah, well I hope you enjoyed listening to it. Yeah, I don't think there's any reason to finish the series.

Jane: No, just watch the first episode and the last episode.

Ashley: That's all you need, yeah.

Jane: That's all you need to know.

Ashley: I love it. That makes me happy to hear that you tuned in, thank you.

Jane: Right. Thanks, Ashley. So good to talk to you today.

Ashley: You too. Have a great rest of your day. I'm going to wind it up over here.

Jane: I will. All right, thanks babe.

Ashley: All right, take care.

Renegades, thank you for tuning in and turning on each week. In addition to subscribe to this podcast on Apple or Spotify, I want to invite you to join me on another journey.
I've created a space called The House of Other, it's an unedited guide to finding pleasure. People assume I know good sex, where to go for a date, what hotel to meet your lover at, what to wear, what toy will make you orgasm. They're not wrong. This has literally been my life's work from running a lingerie store for 10 years and curating the best lingerie and wellbeing products, as well as recommending new ideas and places and experiences that might enhance the energy between people sexually, evoke eroticism, to working with and coaching people on their dating and love lives, and writing about it.

House of Others is a space where you will find my ratings and reviews on my experiences, opinions, and recommendations of products, places, and spaces I'm indulging in. I'll be here to tell you just how orgasmic the latest object is. How pleasurable the product feels. If the shower was really doable, and the hotel a portal for you and your lover to escape. Safe to say, I'm not looking for rooms with Pelatons.

You'll also find conversations and essays addressing all things cliteracy. I love connecting. I love an orgasm a day. I love the process of going out. And I love the process of trying to figure out new ways to make the ordinary, unordinary. And I really love talking about it.

Think of House of Other like a travel or food blog. The difference being I'm writing it with an O factor. I'm taking my tune in and turn on to another level. Join me by subscribing to houseofother.blog. Again, just go onto the internet, houseofother.blog, and you can subscribe on the homepage. I'll see you there.

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2 comments

  1. Ladies —having face work does not have to be tight and fake looking it’s like putting lotion on why do we stop putting lotion on your skin after a certain age?
    Educating is one self On non-invasive modern procedures and active skin care is almost the responsibility of a human being -skin is one of your biggest organs protect yourself from cancer and ageism is real women can ignore that. A smart woman who gets skin improvement isn’t insecure about her aging she’s giving yourself the best opportunity especially if she’s working

    let’s have a podcast about multi generational work forces and how we as a society can now address ageism as part of the diversity and inclusion efforts. See next tribe, women aging boldly; and the invisibility project for more modern renegades. 😉 Thanks

    Jane westfall

    1. You are absolutely right, Jane! I was just telling my child that I’ve been moisturizing and taking care of my skin since junior high. My grandmother was always applying Oil of Olay leading me to follow her footsteps. That and hats.
      This conversation was less focused on the natural preventive care that we can do and more about the mindset (Jane’s specifically) to have.
      I’m excited to tell you I will be having a conversation in the near future with someone whose career is in maintaining and caring for our skin with new techniques that are non-invasive.
      I personally am on this path to educate myself and raise awareness I regards to how society treats aging women. Thank you for sharing your resources! I’ll be looking into them.

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