I’m honored to bring you this Episode #45 of the Mother’s Quest Podcast, a conversation I shared first a little over a year ago, when my own son Ryan marked a big milestone in his life, his 13th birthday and the approach of his bar mitzvah.

Recently, Ryan crossed another threshold, his middle school graduation, and in the weeks before this new milestone, he wrote a speech to capture the experiences and lessons learned from a challenging spring semester. 

Though Ryan didn’t have the opportunity to address his class at graduation, I believe the messages of his speech, about moving from feelings of depression and isolation to curiosity and connection, could impact an even bigger audience through the power of podcasting.

So, I decided to bring you his speech, in his voice, followed by our original podcast conversation from a year ago. I’m thankful to Ryan for giving me permission to share his speech with this community and for the gift of the conversation we had on the podcast a year ago.

I hope the common themes and the honest messages from last year to now, of overcoming challenges, building trust, finding connection, and not letting fear stop you from living a YOLO life, reach all who need it.

This episode dedicated by Monisha Vasa:

This Milestone Reflections Revisited Episode also warranted, in my mind, a new dedication, from someone with a unique perspective on the topics Ryan explores. I found who I was looking for in Monisha Vasa, a psychiatrist, mother, and writer who dedicated the episode to her courageous patients.

Learn more about Monisha’s work at www.monishavasa.com and www.mindful-healing.com.

YOLO (You Only Live Once) and other Milestone Reflections with Ryan Neale Original Episode Show Notes

As Ryan approached his bar mitzvah, a year ago in April 2017, becoming a “Jewish adult” and entering his teens, we decided we would spend his thirteenth birthday together, going on a “milestone hike” ‘and then recording an episode of the podcast at a recording studio in San Francisco.

It was a magical day of reflection, revelations for both of us, and a lot of laughter. I’m honored to bring highlights of all of that to you through this episode.

You’ll hear Ryan share eloquently and honestly about his appreciation for the support that helped him conquer his developmental delays, how his own fears manifest in his life today, and how, in his next chapter, he wants to trust more and move through his fear. Because, he says, he wants to live with a YOLO (You Only Live Once) mindset.

Ryan reflects on snapshot moments from his life, about his deep love for his younger brother, his experience finding a group of friends and a school program where he could thrive, receiving the academic achievement award, and the moments he hopes he’ll be able to look back on with pride at the next milestone.

Ryan also gets a turn to ask me his own questions and give me feedback. I had an opportunity to share the biggest lesson my mother gave me, to always appreciate every stage of life you’re in when you’re in it, and acknowledge what I wish I could change about myself.  

I also heard Ryan reflect back that in being “a little selfish” in creating Mother’s Quest I’ve given him so much more than if I only focused on my children.

There’s a game we play with Erik Newton (whose studio we recorded in) as our game show host, a lot of laughter and some comical out-takes that you’ll want to stick around for at the very end.

I felt so blessed to create this experience with Ryan and to share it with you. I take with me the importance of marking these rites of passage thoughtfully with our children, what a privilege it is to be witness to the development of another human being as a mother, a reminder of how powerfully our children see and know us and help us grow, and what fun it can be to create new experiences together.

Ryan and I will never forget how we spent his thirteenth birthday together. We hope you’ll leave this episode inspired to mark a milestone in your life, with your children, and make some life-long memories of your own.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Our meaningful and magical milestone hike through Laurelwood Park

  • How you cannot see yourself fully through the mirror but can through your loved ones

  • Life happens fast, appreciate every aspect of your life as you’re in it because before you know it you’ll be on to the next

  • Take life in small steps and the snapshot moments that Ryan most remembers from his 13 years

  • Ryan’s love for his brother Jacob and what Ryan said the day Jacob was born

  • The impact living my E.P.I.C. life has had on Ryan

  • How things that are scary can at the same time be beautiful and Ryan’s commitment not to let his fears stop him from living his YOLO (You Only Live Once) life

  • The pact Ryan and I made to help us with our biggest area of growth, our management of time

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Headstart, a special program for preschool aged children from low-income communities that provides access to early childhood education
  • The GATE Program (Gifted And Talented Education Program) national links and background information. Ryan participates in our local school district’s program.

  • Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

  • Erik Newton, The Together Show

  • Sports Illustrated Kid Reporter, a unique program Ryan has applied to which gives selected children ages 10 – 14 an opportunity to write and broadcast about sports

  • UCLA Bruin Woods where I was a counselor in college and where we all go to “camp” each summer as a family


Milestone Rite of Passage Coaching Session

The focus of today’s episode is about honoring the milestones in our lives. I’ve learned that when we’re moving through these periods of transition, it can be so powerful to slow down and reflect on our experience. If you’re on the verge of a new chapter and would like coaching to cross the threshold thoughtfully, email me at julie@mothersquest.com to find out more about my Milestone Rite of Passage Coaching Session. I’d love to help you gather your lessons learned and clarify your vision for what’s ahead.

Click here to book a Strategy Session

Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life

Join me for the first “Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life” Pilot! Four consecutive weeks of one-on-one coaching using a signature process I’ve been facilitating in my circles this spring 🍃

I have space for three clients to experience an intensive, one-one-one, four-week coaching process this summer. Could this be you?

✨Do you feel like you’re on the threshold of a powerful shift in your life?

✨Are you ready to spark new perspectives, new ways of being, and some E.P.I.C. action of your own?

✨Have you wanted to participate in the Mother’s Quest Circle but the timing wasn’t right or you prefer to work one-on-one?

We’ve been having an amazing experience in the Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle and I want to bring the same practices and flow to work one-on-one in a more focused period of time…over one month instead of three.

Interested? I’d love to schedule a time to check-in about what’s happening in your life and how this could support you.

✏Sign up for a discovery session at this link or message me some times that could work for you if you don’t see something that fits your schedule. https://mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession

Launched on Mother’s Day, my guest on the podcast, Graham Seabrook, and I invite you to create your own One Minute Mom Manifesto about what you want to claim or reclaim in your motherhood.

Use video, photos, poetry or any other form of your choice to express what matters most to you and share on social media using the hashtag#OneMinuteMomManifesto.

For more on the inspiration behind this idea, and why it’s so important that we claim and reclaim our whole selves in motherhood, tune into our episode on the podcast, link in the comments and at mothersquest.com/ep41-graemeseabrook

The Podcast has Reached a Milestone

Help us reach our next milestone by forwarding along your favorite episode to a friend. Thank you for your support!

Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot

I’m excited to announce that the first founding Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle has been filled. If you’re interested in a future circle, and want to receive notice when the applications open again, please add your name to this wait list. julie@mothersquest.com

Click here to Apply

Help us Grow the Mother’s Quest Community

If you’re finding value from the Mother’s Quest Podcast and would like to get more involved, please join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, help us find more like-minded mothers on a quest by spreading the word and sharing your favorite episodes, and make a donation or apply to dedicate an episode. You can also share your story on the Mother’s Quest Blog.


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Monisha Vasa
  • Celia Ward-Wallace
  • Vanessa Couto
  • Desiree Adaway
  • Rachel Steinman
  • Katie Hanus
  • Denise Barreto 
  • Sage B. Hobbs 
  • Samantha Nolan-Smith
  • Jody Smith
  • Emily Cretella
  • Collette Flanagan
  • Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
  • Carly Magnus Hurt
  • Lizzy Russinko 
  • Suzanne Brown
  • Mara Berns Langer
  • Mallory Schlabach 
  • Katharine Earhart
  • Jessica Kupferman
  • Jen Jenkins Dohner
  • Genese Harris
  • Tonya Rineer
  • Liane Louie-Badua
  • Cristin Downs 
  • Erin Kendall 
  • Niko Osoteo 
  • Erik Newton 
  • Claire Fry
  • Divya Silbermann
  • Rachel Winter
  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman
  • Cameron Miranda
  • Fran and David Lieberman
  • Debbie and Alan Goore
  • The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/