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#TabooSmasher Spotlight: Tamsen Fadal

Tamsen Fadal is an evening news anchor at WPIX-TV, a wife, mom of two, author, and podcast host. Her career is shaped by her commitment to make a difference in the lives of other women. In her podcast, Coming Up Next, Fadal interviews aging, menopause, relationships, and beauty experts on aging boldly. Her book, The New Single, delivers tools, insights and hope to other women in the midst of their own divorce experience. Fadal has appeared on HLN, The Insider, The Talk, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Lifetime, A&E, and the CBS Early Show.

When did you understand that you were beginning your menopausal journey, and how did it make you feel?

I landed on the bathroom floor during a live newscast two and a half years ago, and that is when I realized something was wrong. I was put on antidepressants, but that was not helpful and didn’t solve the brain fog, the hot flashes, nor the fact I could not sleep and was having heart palpitations–so I went from doctor to doctor for some answers.

After a panel of tests from my gyno, the results arrived in my patient portal alongside the message, “In menopause. Any questions…?”

I remember thinking, “I’m not even old enough for menopause.”  It was a mix of a lot of different emotions and a lot of confusion. And sadness – because I felt some part of my life was over.

It is quite the change from how I think about menopause today: A new, bold beginning!

I remember thinking, “I’m not even old enough for menopause.”

We know menopause can be challenging, but it can also be funny, enlightening, liberating, energizing, and more. Do you have a reflection that shows another side of menopause, beyond what we’re conditioned to “fear” as women?

I feel like these are my BOLDen years, not my golden years!

I am enlightened. I am empowered. I am encouraged by the conversation and determined to make sure no woman who enters this life stage after me ever feels confused again. I want that woman to feel like this is a time of positive change and the beginning of whatever they want next in life.

If you could put 5 objects in your “menopause tool kit,” what would you choose (doesn’t have to be physical objects!)
  1. My neck fan. I cannot live without it!
  2. The strength I have drawn from the group of women I have met working tirelessly to change the narrative to shatter the taboo of menopause!
  3. SLEEP!
  4. My journal.
  5. My ongoing stash of incredible products by women-owned companies helping with hot flashes, dry skin, keeping cool, and staying healthy!

I feel like these are my BOLDen years, not my golden years!

On your podcast, Coming Up Next, you talk with guests about how to approach the next stage of life boldly. Is there a particularly resonant piece of advice or wisdom from a guest you find yourself referring to?

I just love the inspiration that comes with storytelling and so I find myself often referring back to advice from the guests I’ve interviewed. Martha Beck told me that if I want to stop living with fear, I need to live with integrity. In fact, she did an exercise with me during the interview. I often go back and listen to it–it can truly change the day for me when I need a pick-me-up.

Another is Joan Lunden (a fellow journalist), someone who I have looked up to for years. Her mission in life is to help women understand their bodies better, and she opened my heart to let me know that it’s OK to talk about things that are taboo. Joan may be the reason I have no fear when it comes being open and honest about my age, menopause, and finding meaning in life.

In both your podcast and new book, you speak a lot about living boldly. What does a bold life look like to you?

A bold life does not mean a fearless life. It means being afraid and doing it anyway.

I lost my mother at the age I am today, 51, so a bold life means living your someday, today. A bold life begins with taking care of yourself and your health and really listening to what you want versus what you are told to want. I have learned to unlock my bold in so many ways when it comes to health, aging, career, relationships, and spirit, and I have never felt more fulfilled.

You got married this past fall at age 50 (congratulations!). What’s one piece of love or marriage advice you would give your younger self?

Thank you! I would tell my younger self to fall in love with yourself first so that you know who you are before you decide who is best for you.

I had a very public divorce. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed and where I could not envision a future or what it would look like. After my divorce, I learned who I was and what I really wanted versus what I thought I was supposed to do or what others wanted for me.

Today, I cannot imagine another life I would want other than my own. Stop and listen to what you really want. Stop comparing. Stop trying to make your life perfect. And live for today. That special person will appear when it’s time. And you just need to be ready, if that is what you want.