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New Year, New Chapter, Same Fabulous You!

From The Second Chapter, Season 11, Episode 1, released 17th January 2024

Kristin TSC: [00:00:00] Happy 2024 and welcome to the second chapter podcast. I'm your host, Kristin Duffy. I've got an amazing episode for you today. Welcome back Jen Zwinck, Kelli Dunham, and Amanda Cupcake.

I hope that you don't mind. Please indulge me. I would love to say Happy New Year to all my lovely listeners. Depending on when you're listening to this, you might be listening to it in a completely different month. But this is my first episode of 2024.

So I feel like the first time I see everyone in the new year, as long as it's maybe still January, I love to say happy new year and point being, happy new year to you. Um, toward the end of the year, I asked some of my favourite guests and yours of 2023 to share a little bit about what they've been up to since they've been on the podcast and maybe share a bit of wisdom or thoughts that they have about this year -the year ahead.

going to jump right in with Jen Zwink. As a reminder, Jen spoke to me about her life being widowed in a brutal fashion 35. She took some unusual steps to start her second chapter, steps that included moving with her two-year-old to a small Caribbean Island. Now, Jen has found her why through Widow 180 podcast and the Widow Squad, working with other widows to come together, learn new ways to travel the path through grief and uplift each other on the journey to rediscovering a new life after loss.

Jennifer: Hello, Kristin, and hello, listeners. This is Jen Zwinck from Widow 180. I was on the second chapter podcast back in March of this year. First, I love the concept of this episode, all about change and collecting perspectives from so many sources, because we can learn so much from each other. by having these brilliant conversations.

And I love talking about change and how the word change is used so negatively so much of the time because we as humans, we don't like it, right? We don't like change. We want consistency. We want reliability. We don't want an uncertain road in front of us. We don't want that discomfort of change, right? But, change also means growth.

And change means evolution. And both of those are positive moves forward. There's a quote by Socrates, and it goes, The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. And I love that quote. So at the beginning of every year, I always like to choose a word of the year, something that I can put on a little sticky note somewhere, something that I can look at every day if I need to, just to help me stay motivated.

And my word for next year is growth. And I don't just mean business growth, but actually personal and spiritual growth as well. So growth in every aspect of my life, and I'm getting so excited about it all. So opening up to change is opening up to new possibilities and new opportunities. Committing to growth means even more uncomfortable change.

But I am trusting the process and so looking forward to 2024. My advice to you is embrace change. Welcome it. Say yes to things you've never done before. Make some big bold moves and have some adventures. So Happy New Year to all of you and take care.

Kristin TSC: Thanks, Jen. I love this. While I try not to pressure myself with resolutions in the new year, I feel like you can keep your goals, but for whatever reason, resolutions to me seem like a different story. Um, regardless, I do like to think of this time as a reset. another friend just reminded me about the concept of choosing a word for this year as well.

 when I think of this, I tend to think of more sparkly words, like fabulous. But the more I've pondered it for myself this year, the more I think my word will be follow through. I'm hyphenating that. So, uh, Let me say one word. It sounds really boring, but none of you will be surprised that I get really, really excited about ideas and change.

And that sometimes it's hard for me to stick with something. So, I guess I'm like a magpie, as some people say, I feel like I'm distracted by something shiny. So what I really like for this year for myself is, um, I'd like to be about finishing things I start and finding that excitement. in growing and getting better at what I'm doing versus always skipping to the next thing.

So, fabulous follow through it is for me. Next up, we're going to hear from Kelli Dunham. As [00:05:00] you might remember, Kelli is a standup comic, a registered nurse, an author, a teacher, a storyteller, and an ex-nun. When I spoke to Kelli, they were headed up to Edinburgh to present Second Helping, a standup and storytelling show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

 After Edinburgh, Kelli's made some exciting revelations and started some next steps. So let's hear from Kelli.

Kelli: So when last I talked to the folks at Second Chapter and Kristin I was on my way to Edinburgh and I was going to do this show called Second Helping, Two Dead Lovers, Dead Funny. So I spent a month trying to convince strangers on the street that they should come see a show that has the word dead in it twice when I was competing with 3, 400.

other the shows that were like a drag queen on roller skates juggling chainsaws and other more lighthearted things. But it was really a fantastic experience. Had some lovely things including, a teenager is demanding that her mom have a conversation about end of life wishes.

Okay, my, my job here is done. So got some, good publicity with BBC Four and BBC Scotland and on the Radio and Culture Hour, no less actually made the host of BBC Scotland's Radio Religion and Culture Hour do a spit take. So I feel awesome. My work here is done, right? And one of the really amazing things is, I Um, was finished up with my job at Department of Education, New York City Public School System on June 27th, and then I've been freelancing since then.

And I have freelanced full time before, I'm a nurse, so I always have this option of picking up shifts, which of course I'm doing. And by the way, if you are at all interested in the arts and have a science proclivity, I definitely highly recommend going to nursing school because it's the best day job.

Because you can always pick up shifts, right? Anyway, so I'm doing that, but I am not doing the full time, much more than full time job that I had, and I have freelanced in the past, and there were some things that I remember from that, in, in my late 30s and early 40s, and all those things that were present then, I realized.

Now that I've been at it, about six months are not a problem in the same way. For example, I'm so much better at self-management. I can give myself a structure, I can figure out ways to not be isolated. And also I can be much more realistic about the bad decisions that I've made. In the past, because I'm not as mad at myself, there's actually something at the ending of the show that talks about the Venn diagram of, we can forgive ourselves for who we were, and sometimes we can forgive ourselves for who we are, but forgiving ourselves for where that overlaps is really hard.

And figuring out a way to not let myself off the hook, that's not it, to try and be better, but also to have compassion for the badness, for the bad decisions I've made in the past, things that were counterproductive takes. So yeah, so it's just kind of interesting, I feel like I'm just getting to know myself again.

I started a sub stack, which is called, also called Second Helping, but the subtitle is Helping Helpers Help. Which is kind of a tongue twister now that I say it out loud, but the idea is, okay, I've spent, this entire, I had a whole long career of, doing direct service as a nurse and working in a school and.

So I do have something, I have some things to say that can actually be supportive of folks who are, doing this direct service, full time, much more than full time. I have some support, some, not wisdom, it's just, I can be supportive in that way. And that's, as I do speaking to people, folks who are, have very intense jobs and, trying to have conversations with them about using humour.

Yeah, okay. Maybe, maybe that's true. Maybe I am helping. Helpers help. Even though it's hard to say, I feel like, oh, it might be hard to say but I'm capable of doing it. And that feels really exciting.


Kristin TSC: Yay to Next Steps. Though I'm sticking with fabulous follow through, but congrats, Kelly. And thank you so much. Finally, for our special guests for this new year's 2024 episode, I'd like to welcome Amanda Cupcake.

As a reminder, Amanda Cupcake. AKA Amanda Rudd started out in fashion, but the fast pace and stress led to anxiety and health problems. Through the second chapter in her life, she's discovered that sometimes the best fashion model is a cupcake and success.

Isn't always what we think. I put on my pink wig in 2023 to chat with Amanda and she really sparkled up my day. Here's some words from Amanda.

Amanda: Hi, it's Amanda Cupcake with my sparkly voice on your podcast. When we talked we talked a lot about how Amanda Cupcake is so much deeper than the glitter and the cupcakes and how I have evolved into wearing. The pink Amanda Cupcake wig, and there is a real deep sensitive person underneath all of that.

When I listened to my time as a guest on your podcast, [00:10:00] I noticed that there were things that I said that I have never said before, and there is a quote that I said , and I invented it that day, and it is, find your wisdom in your wild side. I've always been great. at finding my wild side and embracing it.

But now that I've said it out loud, I want to explore that wild side and make sure that I keep taking it with me. I'm in midlife right now and I want to make sure I don't lose that wild side. And what does that mean for me going forward as Amanda?

Up until I talked about how I could find wisdom and be wild at the same time in your podcast, I think there had been some shame in my past about being the wild girl. And so it felt really freeing to talk to another woman and talk about how it is so not boring to embrace your wild side. And you can still be so incredibly wise and smart and wild and free.

When I was a guest , you gave something a brand name for me. The Cosmic Cupcake. So Cosmic Cupcake is based on my intuitive gift that I use in everything that I do. One of them being the cupcakes that I make in Amanda Cupcake. What happens is I will make a cupcake for somebody and whether it's based on the taste, or the story, or the theme, or the colour, or the flavour, the texture, anything, or the bedazzly gems on the cupcake, so many times people will come to me and they will say, How did you know that is exactly what I needed? And that is Me, using my intuitive gifts, that is the cosmic cupcake.

I don't know what I'm going to do with combining Amanda Cupcake and the cosmic cupcake yet. But, when I came on your podcast, we came up with that name, and we gave that intuitive gift that I have a name, Cosmic Cupcake. And I do feel like this chapter of my life, I am Amanda Cupcake, Cosmic Cupcake, more than ever.

About a year ago, my mom passed away from Parkinson's disease. She had been sick for About 10 years and it had been just a really difficult journey and I was there with her when she passed away. I was holding her hand at the very, up until the very end. She was there for the beginning of my life and I was there for the end of hers.

And in that moment, I really felt that I had That gift of intuition and even though I had to say goodbye to my mom here, I do feel my mom around more now as a guide than she was able to be in the past 10 years because she was so sick. And so I do feel that you talking about Cosmic Cupcake wasn't a mistake and I am meant to grow that intuitive side of myself.

That Amanda Cupcake cosmic cupcake side. So, we'll see where it goes.

Kristin TSC: Brilliant, Amanda. Thanks so much. I don't think it was a mistake either. I just want to say that I feel so lucky that my guests come and share so much of themselves with us. It's a real honour to me when something comes out where they've learned something themselves along the way. And of course we've gotten the, the, amazing chance to learn a lot about them.

 I don't feel like I'm ever shy about saying it on the podcast, but I do feel like I've learned something from every guest about myself and not just about their second chapters.

I'm wondering from all my listeners, what did you learn about yourself last year? Has it led to a new chapter? My favorite subject. Do you make resolutions? Is it something that it's just me, that that word kind of turns you off? Um, or do you have fresh start? Goals for this year.

I'd love to hear more. I'm at Kristin, K R I S T I N at slacklineproductions. co. uk. Or go to and leave me a message in the chat. yeah, let me know what you're up to. Let me know about your 2024. Do you have a big word? I'd love to hear it.

 Of course, my big [00:15:00] undertaking of 2023 was starting my master's degree in filmmaking. As it's a one-year course, it's one of the fabulous things I get to follow through on this year.

 I'm pretty sure based on my experiences so far, I could do a whole episode on the crazy things you notice and experience when you go back to school as a very non-traditional student. This is another, uh, shout out. If anybody wants to come on and chat about that, let me know. I think, um, that's a great topic that a lot of people would love to hear about.

I know what I was considering going for my degree. I had a lot of questions kind of around what it was going to be like. I knew I'd like going back into education, just, you know, how's it work? So yeah, if you want to come in and chat about that, let me know. And if you'd like to hear more from Jen, Kelli,

or Amanda, I'll put a link to their episodes, their former episodes in this week's show notes, so you can find them.

 The last thing I want to say is that I really wish you a wonderful 2024, whether it's about something new, something that you're following through on, or just embracing the fabulous wild you. And as always, thanks for listening.

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