[00:00:00] Lisa Grunden: Hi, welcome to your second act. I am your host, Lisa. Grunden the fun at crazy redhead. Yes. I talk really fast. I get really excited because this is your life. And we’re talking about here, whether it’s sex or career or money or whatever else, we’re going to cover it here. Are you ready? Let’s get started.
Hello, everybody. Thanks for joining us today for this edition of your second act on your host. Lisa and I am so thrilled because today in the studio we have the marvelous, the magnificent Michelle Robbe’. And just to give you a little bit of her background, you know, she was born in South Africa. She grew up there at some point in her life.
She moved to Australia, she’s got all these degrees, she’s got five different degrees she’s played in corporate. She’s played in woo-hoo and she’s played [00:01:00] everywhere in between. She’s been married a couple of times. She’s got such an interesting story. She has a grown son. She’s traveled so much of this planet and she’s gone to a lot of mountain ranges that are still on my bucket list.
I am so excited to introduce, yes, she’s got an accent. Remember she was born in South Africa and she grew and she grew up and went away. She grew up in Australia as well. So welcome. I’m so glad to have you.
Michelle Robe’: Hello. Wow. What an exciting introduction
Lisa Grunden: Nothing lasts for an exciting individual muscle. When I was checking out some of your bio, I was just like, wow, I have no idea where to start. I want to start very simply because this is your second act. And a lot of people are wondering, gosh, what do they do with this next aspect of their lives? And you have had, I don’t even know how many second [00:02:00] acts and a lot of your second acts. Have involved some pretty significant college education you have no less than five degrees.
Tell me about that from nursing to computer science. Tell me about that.
Michelle Robe’: Well, I’d say first of all, if the pieces of paper, I just pieces of paper, it’s more the doors that they opened. My first degree, the. nursing and midwifery, bachelor of science honors degree finished that when I was 21. Then I used it to open the door to become a systems analyst at IBM, as you do with the nursing degree, exactly.
With a nursing degree, then did a master’s in business administration in my late twenties. And that was in the eighties, by the way, which most people didn’t do an MBA until their mid to late thirties. I was very young in the class. So that was kind of fun too [00:03:00] well. And as a woman, of course,
Lisa Grunden: There was more, that was even more of a thing.
Michelle Robe’: then fast forward to the two thousand when I was 44 and work up one day and decided I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up.
Lisa Grunden: Because everybody does that. They wake up one day.
Finally, I figured it out. So assault and a whole new adventure began. I had a four-year-old son at the time.
Michelle Robe’: Well, it’s just about to be diagnosed as autistic. So, that was an eight-year journey doing my psychology studies. And there were three degrees that along the way, you first have to do your undergrad and then your honors, and then your master’s thinking I was going to do clinical and I wound up doing organizational psychology or workplace psychology, building on my corporate career, after valuing that I never go back to the corporate sector again.
So never say never. I don’t know what else you want to know. I guess the other thing too, is that [00:04:00] we haven’t mentioned is that in-between I’ve in my thirties I started doing a lot of, esoteric, spiritual work. And so I’m finding that things like positive psychology and coaching psychology have a fantastic bridge between sort of corporate speak and that we, we world, if you like, And so those pieces of paper, open doors for me.
Lisa Grunden: I like that because what I find so interesting is not only how young you were, how, you know, you woke up one morning basically and said, you know, this really doesn’t interest me. There’s something else for me. And with that mindset and belief that, that you must have carried with you for all of these years, you’ve had lots of doors open for you almost as if by magic.
And that’s what I’d like to talk about here because you combined corporates. And you combined woo-hoo because back when you started studying this, it did not belong in corporate and corporate at all and [00:05:00] personal development. At that time, when studied by a woman, it wasn’t considered a business development.
It basically meant she wanted to get married and she felt like a victim and she didn’t feel very good about herself. That’s what it meant least wise here in the us. That was the. The stigma that was attached to it. And somehow you have married these few things together, even in what you do. Now, I have psychology.
You’re teaching executive clients are doing executive coaching. You bring in the positivity mindset, the neuroscience that goes with it, you do all of that. And what I really love is, you know, Michelle has shared with us, she’s had so many different, so many different careers. She’s had so many different acts.
I know we’re kind of all over the place here. I’m all over the place here because there’s just so much to get from her. And what I really. Gosh, what I really love. I [00:06:00] love everything about you, Michelle. And what I really love is that, you know, at some point I’m, you know, I’m post-menopausal too. , the culture at large has led us to believe that certain aspects of our life are kind of over when we’re done bearing with our childbearing years.
There’re some things that are just over and yeah.
Michelle Robe’: just going numb from the belly button down.
Lisa Grunden: Right. But isn’t that what happens with everybody, but if we don’t want to, Mom and wrinkly, numb and dry and wrinkly. Why don’t you just love that combination? Because you know what, that sounds like a challenge to a lot of judgments and conclusions that people put upon us.
You know, how we can’t let those women get too powerful because there’s this fascinating thing about it. Age as we grow. What I thought was really cool is all of a sudden, one day she’s had two marriages. She has one child and all of a sudden one day, I don’t know if it’s he woke up to it because that’s how a lot of things happen.
You were there for the magic. You were there for the [00:07:00] unfolding, all of a sudden, your relationship with your son’s father, all of a sudden picked right up again, and a whole new life unfolded for you. What was that like?
Michelle Robe’: Well, I don’t know if it’s worth putting a little bit of context that we, that we’d had a 10-year separate gap, like a left him 10 years apart, divorced the whole works.
however, we’d always stayed friends and co-parented, I think we’ve done a brilliant job of parenting our son and. I was absolutely sure that, you know, things that shut down sexually, of course, before I left, as often happens as a relationship breaks down. So, you know, it would have been a good 12, 13 years that I sort of shut down sexually, full stop, little onto him, actually.
[00:08:00] And I’m also say even the bigger picture, the way I was raised. I can see now that I was shut down sexually all my life, really. I had sex, but I can remember, at some point, a few years ago sort of going, you know, I don’t know that I’ve had real sex, like, well, when is the real sex? I mean, where the energy is flowing and it’s not just a physical putting body parts together.
There’s a whole energetic thing, and I’m not talking about the emotional aspects, but it was like, wow. I wonder if I’ve actually had real sex. and trust me, I’ve had a lot of sex in my life. That’s not, not the thing. and so. And then sort of going, yeah, but it’s just not happening. I’ve tried dating a few guys, but I didn’t even get to a kiss, let alone sex.
It was like, Oh, not interested body just going. No thanks. I actually come to terms with, well, I guess it’s just not going to happen. [00:09:00] I discovered self-pleasuring, and you know, had a trustee. Toy that was very reliable and they went to one of them and, yeah. And okay, I’ve come to terms with that is you know, if that’s the way it is for the rest of my life.
I’d say about four months ago, it was literally, it was a really weird story out if it’s worth the story. But anyway, I was like, so his name is bill was going to come over. He wanted to come over to discuss a text situation, because we were really good friends. We help each other with finances and all sorts of stuff in our lives.
And when I woke up that morning, when, oh my gosh, let’s have a wedding anniversary would have been 24 years. and it was kind of like, Oh, I’m getting goosebumps. As I talk about it. It’s like this whole space opened up and this sort of popped into my head of. What if we got remarried, don’t have 25th anniversary.
[00:10:00] It was really so random. Like I was, and then I looked at it. The energy of the timeline of going well, actually we’ve had a 33-year relationship and it’s not over. We were first colleagues for five years. Then we became lovers and we were lovers for 20 years. And then, we started doing spiritual work together.
We got, we bought a house, we got married, we had a child, Lola, marriage fell apart. We got divorced and we’ve been divorced for 10 years and we’ve stayed good friends. Oh, my gosh. We’ve never been out of relationship. Oh, what’s next. What’s sort of, it was, I’m still, I mean, that was four months ago and I’m still in a state of like what the heck happened.
I can’t tell you rationally what happened. He came and we’re sitting on the couch. It’s actually quite a funny story. We’re talking taxes, of course. And somehow the topic came up of like, [00:11:00] it’s not anniversary. And I’d I had this weird, random thought, like we were close enough to share it, stuff like that.
he said, well, I really like to talk about that. And I was like I said, nah, nah, nah, I mean, we can talk about it, but I just have to be really clear that sex is off the table. I’m doing a lot of work on the fact that I’m very blocked sexually and I’m working on my sexual energy too. Channel it into creative pursuits.
he just held the space. One of the most beautiful, he just held it and his heart just expanded and he just let me run. And he really held my vulnerability in talking about, I got a very deep, vulnerable space around how painful actually being that block to something like that is, and he just held the space [00:12:00] and heard me out and really honored my vulnerability.
And he said at the end, he was very vulnerable and he said, look, Michelle, right now, all I’d love to do is race. You’re off to bed. I’ve never changed in the 10 years. I’ve always wanted that. Or then we then discovered that neither of us had been with anyone else for 10 years. And he said, I would, I just can’t imagine going forward without sex in the relationship.
I said, okay, well, I guess. No good talk kind of thing, but it was very deep. I’m making it flippant, but it was really, really deep.
Lisa Grunden: You’re not making a flip so I can feel it.
Michelle Robe’: Okay, we then carried on with that.
Lisa Grunden: That’s so beautiful.
Michelle Robe’: And he went home and we’d always given each other heads and stuff when we met. It was a very platonic hug when he left the next morning, our workup. My whole body was [00:13:00] turned on. I mean, it’s just sliding up right now. It’s just like, Oh my gosh. I was just feeling sexual energy flowing.
I was feeling really flirty. It was just like, Okay, what’s going on here. Couldn’t get him out of my mind. I’ve had like a 16-year-old, you know, and you sort of have that crushed and it was like, so I started sending him flirty texts, sort of going, I don’t know what you’ve done to me, but blah, blah, blah.
And it’s really hilarious hearing his side of the story because he was really, really busy with work and we never used to send each other texts. So he was getting texts. He’s working day from a woman who swore that she wasn’t, you know, she was all shut down. And so kind of long story short, we sort of agree.
So I said, well, okay, well, how about we agree to get together the following weekend and just play with it? No expectations. You know, and [00:14:00] he was so gorgeous. He arrived with this bunch of beautiful white roses, which actually lasted two weeks. It was like the roses just knew that were symbolic of something amazing.
. He bought strawberries and chocolate. And he said, I’ve always wanted to feed your strawberries and chocolate. I don’t care if we do nothing else. I just want to feed your strawberries and chocolate. And he’d never done stuff like that. and or together. It was like, okay. He was very respectful and honoring and, and it was like, Oh, and of course we was, that’s another whole topic that we’re both, in the sort of stage of life of what’s now called elder sex.
That was the other thing I talked about when I was vulnerable. I forgotten there that I was really worried about a getting naked because I’m over overweight. and B. Had no idea what to expect in terms of elder sex. So [00:15:00] erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness.
Lisa Grunden: All that good stuff.
Michelle Robe’: Just like I found that all really terrifying, we just, we just said, we’d go with it. And it was like, okay. All that stuff happened, especially as the first encounter. And it was like, it was so beautiful because we both just held the space.
Is that it built the most amazing sense of intimacy to go through something so confronting. And yet it wasn’t confronting because I was with, we were with, we were each with someone we totally trusted, and it was our, both for both of us, our first sexual encounter in like more than 10 years. And it was just so beautiful and.
Like the familiarity of being with each other’s bodies and yet it was all different because of, yeah. They’re just functioned differently and, and discovering just that it’s more than putting body parts together. There’s this whole other aspect, [00:16:00] which I always knew and hadn’t experienced. It was across such a gift that we had to navigate. That’s it.
I will put on the table that we don’t have those issues anymore. two or three weeks, and then it was all happening. And one tip for those of, with older guys is zinc and pepitas, which are full of zinc.
Lisa Grunden: Can I go back? Can I backtrack this a little bit here? I really like how you began this conversation with.
You know, maybe you never really had had like actual sex, sex, like the physical, intimate, you know, that experience of yourself because I can’t speak for Australia . Anyway, I know that there’s a lot of nonsense. I’d really rather use the F-word. However, not on this show. There’s surely a lot of nonsense about what good girls do, what bad girls do, what you must be able to do, what not.
And it [00:17:00] just, it can lock us up in so many ways, lock us into the goody two shoes, lock us into the promiscuous parts. And I really loved how you’re with someone that you so trust that. Not a lot of people do that when they divorce. There’s, you know, they have nothing but bitterness and all that kind of stuff.
Cause this was long before a conscious uncoupling and everything else that you were doing that you guys have both been creatures of corporate and woo. You guys are both really used to doing this.
Michelle Robe’: I come from very conservative background. So South Africa is conservative and he grew up in a small town in Ohio Catholic.
Lisa Grunden: Oh, okay. Yep. Yep. I grow Catholic, not in Ohio, but I grew up Catholic. So how did she even, gosh, I’m not even sure. My question here is that you had this moment of complete and total surrender and you weren’t angry [00:18:00] about it. You were just kind of like, you know what. just kind of closing the door on that end.
He had no more rightness or wrongness about it. You basically removed any kind of charge, positive, negative, good, bad. He basically removed any kind of charge. And then one day you just opened up. Because what I really like is that you said that you were opening your creative, your creativity, where you’re going forward with your life, with your business, all that kind of stuff.
And your body said, hello on fire. Koons Delaney. Here we go. Basically, that’s how you described it. I love that because there’s so much creative juice. We don’t have sex. Our bodies aren’t juicy just to give birth and have children. You’ve been the most corporate of the most corporate you’ve been the most granola.
You’ve been everything in [00:19:00] between. I just love it. That’s really exploration of your body. Because you’ve briefly mentioned toys and yeah, I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have one of those, at least one, two or three, however many are in her goodie drawer. I really like how you guys gave yourself permission and time to explore, because how many of us have that story about while our bodies look like this now with age and elder sex come, these other things.
That’s what we’ve been told anyway. And you kind of blew that all to heck. You really did.
Michelle Robe’: You know, the thing I’m grateful to myself for is that I was terrified about the whole eldest six stuff it was. And, but I acknowledged it. I spoke about it and somehow that dissipated it and then I made it my business before we got together to actually do some reading up on it.
And I think as an, as an ex nurse and midwife I’d know all that stuff, [00:20:00] but it was one of those I didn’t want to know and so an hour before he was due to arrive, I thought, oh my goodness, I better, I’m going to read up on this. And so I just Googled it and learned, you know, . What’s actually normal, whatever normal means.
I didn’t have, and I don’t know if it’s okay to talk about that here, but I didn’t know that men started having erectile dysfunction. A lot of them in there from their forties. I had no idea. and he’s 66. And so when I left, he was in his fifties, there was absolutely no, you know, nothing, no hint or anything like that happening.
So it was, it was just kind of like, Oh my gosh, there’s all this stuff. I went into it with complete curiosity. And that quick thing, like, you know, when you cram before an exam and it’s like, Oh, I’m going to get all this knowledge, so I know what to expect and what to do, or I can be prepared. And of course it [00:21:00] never turns out like it does in the readings.
All those stories and, you know, and, and I’m grateful that I not only was I willing to go there, but then I could hold the spikes. And when some of those things happened, it was like, Oh, Okay, this is happening now. Don’t quite know what to do so we could talk about it. We agreed that if we didn’t know what to do, we’d just talk about and say, okay, this is happening or not happening.
What should we do? And how, how do we want to handle it? And it was quite confronting, but it was also like, Oh, okay. That’s, that’s that thing.
Lisa Grunden: there’s a couple of things here. If you guys are really been paying attention. what she’s saying is that she really allowed she, and he actually, both of them really allowed themselves this space of vulnerability and underneath it all, they were friends. They could trust you. They had each other’s backs, they could trust each other.
They felt safe. They felt comfortable. And, you know, that’s [00:22:00] what it’s all about. I can remember way back when, when going to my yearly checkup, the, Patient assistant the physician’s assistant started asking the question, do you feel safe with your partner? And she had never asked the question before she started doing that because there were so many that weren’t feeling safe and I’m like, yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
I trust this guy and, and there’s so much to that when we feel ourselves to that. And Michelle and bill was his name heifer made themselves. Wrong. They’re open for the space and yes, it was confronting. Yes, it was challenging. And it just kind of leaned in and kept going because the one thing these guys had is they had each other’s backs.
And that’s what I really love about this story is like, yeah. Even how it started is, yeah, I think we’re going to have sex, however, maybe we’re not, and we’re going to be okay with whatever happens and he brings you talk, strawberries, dipped in chocolate. Because he’s always wanted to [00:23:00] feed those to you.
Michelle Robe’: There’s this beautiful thing with my body shape. and you’d know in the other work would do that I’ve had, I’ve talked about the shame and all that stuff of being overweight and. Well, that’s tough.
He’s just in such a Wanda that I’m letting him, like we won’t have the next morning. It was like, I can’t believe I’m lying here naked with you. Is it? This is just so amazing. And just, he’s, he’s just so in honor and all of that braking. Like just being naked together, which is very different things.
It’s just that level of, and. He loves touching my skin and he’s going, yeah. Okay. It was very matter of fact. He’s not trying to say, Oh, you’re okay. You’re thin enough. Cause he’s not lying. He’s saying, yeah, you’re carrying a bit of extra weight and your skin’s just so [00:24:00] smooth and he’s constantly wondered, has moved.
My skin is and, and how lovely it is to touch and. He makes a point of touching my belly is like a lot of the weights around that sort of Apple belly shape and he touches it and, and his. it’s a little bit like cognitive dissonance. Cause I I’ve been judging the heck out of it and yet he’s just going on, but it’s all just so yummy.
It’s such a gift. And so I’ve been discovering things like, okay, I can look in the mirror and say, wow, I’ve just got. Gorgeous legs. And, my hands are beautiful and yeah, my abdomen is the shape of those fertility dolls, , I’m 61 and I still have my natural hair color. Don’t dye my hair and that’s amazing.
Do you have gorgeous skin? You know, so it’s sort of like, I’m just owning [00:25:00] some of the gorgeousness of my body rather than only seeing, Oh my God, I move away, you know, kind of thing. And that’s been such a gift too. he has said, he said when he was younger, he couldn’t understand how men could find older rounder women, more attractive.
He just couldn’t get it. And he said, now that I’m here, I totally get it. It’s like, there’s all these yummy squidgy bits and it’s all soft and squishy and yummy.
I totally get it, man. He said, he’s even said, I’m not even sure I want you to lose weight. I don’t really, I’m enjoying,
it’s probably, it’s just blown my world. As well, so I’m, so for gift of a Tuesday, I’m getting more comfortable with how my body showing up.
Lisa Grunden: That’s a real major gift to being not at as high, your body’s showing up being so comfortable in your own skin. And I heard you praising, appreciating your irresistible illness, your [00:26:00] irresistible body.
That’s exactly how I teach it is exactly what you did. And it’s just so fabulous that. It was nice to have, if I could be so bold that it was nice to have that outside validation. It’s like really? And then of like, yeah, embodying that because Michelle, that’s what you have done. And I mean, my goodness, you see her hair, her hair hair’s gorgeous.
And that’s her natural color. Are you kidding me? This woman has got she’s. Got it all. She’s totally got it all. And then on top of that, she’s still open to the huh. I wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up next.
Michelle Robe’: Oh yes.
Lisa Grunden: I have no idea. No idea. Isn’t that fabulous. It’s such a delicious place that she’s been in one degree after another going and you weren’t bouncing, you were really following your intuition, your hearts, your curiosity, you really were, and [00:27:00] still are.
Michelle Robe’: You know, what’s interesting as you say that, Lisa, it’s sort of like, you know, how, when people reflect back and go really, is that me? And it’s kind of, you know, what I recognize is yes, I have been following intuition energy, very non-linear life. But at the time I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.
Right now, now I’m more aware of it. And now I’m wanting to do, I’m doing it quite consciously if you like. So for example, right now, I’m very aware that there’s something for me, 2021 from a business or what I do contribute to the world perspective that I can’t even imagine right now. It’s not for now it’ll unfold next year.
I don’t even know what I’ve got to be or do to. To have it unfold. And I’m cool with that. Now this is formers corporate who had everything planned and every [00:28:00] little space child.
Lisa Grunden: She has everything planned. She planned the birth of her child.
Michelle Robe’: Yup. Very conscious concept and all that. Yes. and yeah, so to be in the space of.
I don’t know. And that’s really, there’s a real potency in, it’s very different saying, Oh, I don’t know the universal provider. And I can just sit here kind of thing versus I don’t know. And it’s a void and there’s potency in this and there’s this magical adventure of not having projections and expectations, just letting it unfold.
And I know that, I mean, it’s been four months into this 33-year relationship. Five months ago. I had no freaking idea that was about to happen. So who knows what’s going to happen in five month’s time or whatever, .
Lisa Grunden: I just want to highlight something that you just said, [00:29:00] Michelle, because when I first started new agee, it was just the, the overall feeling was okay.
Just sit around and let the universe tell you what to do. And it’s not, that’s not all of it. That’s why so many people are just still sitting around doesn’t work and not consciously living where Michelle is like, okay. Yeah, I’m going to see what unfolds. I’m going to be curious. I’m going to follow my intuition.
I’m going to show up. I’m going to be, I’m going to, I’m going to explore. That’s really what you said is that yes. You put that out there because absolutely the universe has your back and you got the second piece of that. You’re being this, your energy, your contributions, that these are words that you used in this call to not to make something happen, to be there.
Center stage when it does. I mean, how else could you, way back in corporate with your nursing degree have shown up, decided you weren’t going to be a nurse anymore. [00:30:00] Maybe you’d check out computer programming and all of a sudden, IBM says, Hey, take this test. You have, you have the right aptitude. He got a degree come on in.
And by the way, we’re going to give you the best job starting out the gate. This is the things, these are the things this woman has done. And, and she will be the first one to tell you that you can do it too. It’d be the very first one to tell you she’s got your back. Michelle, oh man, I could talk to you the rest of the day I’ll have tomorrow.
And there’s only so much time that usually leads to podcasts. And I’d like to, I’d like to ask you one final question that for our listeners of all different ages. So whether they’re six, whether they’re 93, whether the male, female, transgender, whoever they are, if you could just get one piece of advice, what would you share with them?
What would you tell them?
Michelle Robe’: Okay. The thing that I wish I had really known when I was in my [00:31:00] teens is, or younger is just ditch the shirts and all the duties and the responsibilities, which is really challenging because we’re so conditioned to do all that. The thing to follow is what brings you joy, which may not always be logical and linear, and to really trust yourself and your awareness and your knowingness, which might also go against what the system will tell you to do, or the linear thing.
The other thing I’m really passionate about is. Knowing what your values are and know when you’re in integrity with your values, because we sure as heck all know how many of us actually do work that makes us happy and aligns with our values. And I don’t mean don’t, you don’t lie cheat steal. I mean, the values of what, [00:32:00] what brings you choose what, what your moral compass is for you, and it’s unique for everybody.
And if you can be in alignment with that, Yeah, that’s the advice I would give. And it’s, and it’s, it’s a bit of a journey to discover what those values are to be able to articulate them. That can be very fuzzy. yeah. And I’ll stop there. Cause there are all kinds of tools and techniques you can do to discover them, but it’s, it’s that knowing your own moral compass.
In the face of. What everyone else may say.
Lisa Grunden: the thing to do with rules, it has nothing to do with laws. And it has nothing to do with dogma, nothing to do with religion as a why it feels right for you. And I love how I love how you express that to ditch the shirts I love because I had, so when I was that age there, I had, I had sheds that, you know, circum.
Navigated the earth. I can’t even tell you how many times. And I just [00:33:00] love that piece of advice from you, Michelle.
Michelle Robe’: That’s fabulous. And if you’re having trouble ditching it, reframed should to could. I should do that degree to change, which is there’s no choice to, I could do that degree. And then it’s like, Oh, well that’s just a possibility.
What else? What else? And I’ve been using that tool for 20 years and I still. Catch myself and reframe.
Lisa Grunden: Yeah, exactly. I’m right there with you. That’s why it’s so nice to have people that got your back. You know, that you’re in your tribe, you’re in your community because our family, sometimes the family is the one that has your back.
However, in my case, that’s not quite true. And a lot of other people are in the same boat. So it’s surrounding yourself with those who have your back, you know, maybe their family, maybe they’re your friends for life, you know, whoever it is. So from sheds to codes, Find your moral compass find out what gives you that [00:34:00] spark that joy and sign on sparkle on.
So until next week, this has been the fabulous Michelle Roby. I’m. Lisa is so nice to see you guys again, and I’ll be back soon. So remember sparkle on.
So if you’d like more information on what we’re up to go to your second act with lisa.com. That’s your second act with lisa.com. You’ll find out what’s going on and you’ll get a special gift from me.
See you next time.