148. Someday Is Not a Day On the Calendar with Noemi Beres

Your life is a collage of all the experiences you have, people you meet, and what you learn along the way.

Like many collages, even if they begin with a concept or a plan, as you bring them together they may take directions you hadn’t anticipated and show you things even more interesting than what you originally expected.

This was the case for Noemi Beres, whose professional work owning and managing a podcast booking agency involves helping people tell their stories and connecting them to hosts who provide the canvas for their verbal collage.

Growing up as an only child in a small town in Hungary, Noemi had loving, supportive parents as well as an extended family who nurtured her spirit, helped her fulfill her dreams, and saw things in her that she could not see in herself.

When Noemi started school, she was bullied by her classmates. Seeing that Noemi needed something bigger than that little school and town, her parents encouraged her to study abroad for a year in Denmark. After she came back to Hungary, locals barely recognized Noemi – she had become a different person.

The foundation was a level of confidence and clarity far beyond most young women her age. As she began her university studies, she fell in love with and quickly married a young man from her hometown. All these years later, they’re still married and going strong, so everything looks fine in that department.

Noemi finished college, moved to Ireland, and started her career and her family. She and her husband discovered their love of entrepreneurship and built a business together. They built a family when their son was born. And when they decided they preferred a Mediterranean climate, they moved to Cyprus and started their life there. Yep, everything’s fine there too.

But that word… “fine”… Fine is a 4-Letter Word.

Just when everything seemed to be going well, Noemi’s father was diagnosed with cancer. He was given a six-month prognosis, but beat the odds and lived two years, passing away in 2019. A few months after that, her paternal grandmother suffered an injury and died as a result. A few months after that, the pandemic hit and Noemi and her husband lost their business and found themselves starting over professionally.

In the midst of all this grief, Noemi reconnected with her flair for art. She had begun weaving collages while sitting with her sick father. This passion took on a life of its own and she now incorporates her love of photography, as she creates collages using family photos with pictures she takes.

In a moment, when you meet Noemi, you’ll see how all the threads of her life experience come together as she plans to publish a book of collages and participate in a very unique pilgrimage!

Noemi’s hype song is “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters.

Resources:

Invitation from Lori:

Now, let me mention that in my special guide, 5 Easy Ways to Start Living the Sabbatical Life, you can discover, step-by-step, how you can stop settling for “fine” and look at your life with a fresh set of eyes. Even if, like many people in today’s high-speed world, you’re not in a position to take a month or year-long sabbatical.

You know how you normally hear the disclaimer “Don’t try this at home!” In this case, you CAN try this at home. And not just “try,” DO.

Once you read it, you’ll

✅ Discover a counter-intuitive approach to making intentional changes in mindset and lifestyle.

✅ Learn how to own your feelings and your struggles so you can address them.

✅ Find out how to face fears, step out of your comfort zone, and rewire your beliefs.

It’s only 7 pages, so it won’t take you long to get through. When you’re ready to say F*ck Being Fine, this guide is the place to start and it will give you new perspectives that could change your life starting today!

Go to https://zenrabbit.com right now to download it for free.

Now, let’s meet Noemi. It looks like she’s weaving something while speaking into a microphone. Come with me, I’ll get her attention!

Transcript

Lori: Hello, and welcome to FINE is a 4-Letter Word. My guest today is Noémi Beres. Welcome to the show.

Noémi: Thank you so much for having me today, Lori.

Lori: It’s my pleasure. I can’t remember how we met, because it’s been a while. I think we met through LinkedIn.

Noémi: I think I reached out to you then we just started a conversation. That’s how it all started.

Lori: Exactly. We just continued the conversation and here we are bringing it to the world.

Noémi: We do, for sure.

Lori: Well, I like to start all of my shows with the question of what were the values and beliefs that you were raised with that contributed to you becoming who you’ve become?

Noémi: That’s a very deep and very complex question to start with, for sure.

Lori: Yes, it is.

Noémi: I was born and raised in Hungary, in a small town. I was the only child in the family. My parents loved me. I got all the attention I could get in my family. I was always in the center of attention with my grandparents, my parents. It was a very loving, nurturing, caring environment. So I can’t complain. Now I’m listening to podcasts and listening to other people’s stories and I’m, “Oh my gosh, I was just so lucky to grow up like that.” It’s just like an ideal place, running around, huge garden, fresh air, fresh fruits and veggies. It was a nice environment. So I’m the lucky one. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Maybe I was in my own bubble too because I was raised like that. But then obviously, there’s so many things happen in life and I got bullied at school. Nothing was perfect. Things changed in the meantime, especially when I started school. But I think my parents really helped me to become the person I am and to have that kind of self-esteem. They worked hard on me, especially my mom, because she was a kindergarten teacher for 40 years. She studied psychology. She knew that I lacked self-esteem. So she really helped me to pull it through.

Because I was an exchange student when I was 16, 17, I lived in Denmark and I studied Danish there, I went to local school, I lived with the local family. It was a very, very interesting experience. But it also helped me to grow up and to open up the world for me. This girl from a small town in Hungary, getting out there in the world, and living all by myself with this completely strange family in a foreign country for a whole year. It’s really formed me too, who I became. It really helped me to grow up very quickly. When I got back to my small town, nobody really recognized me who I am. Inside or outside too, because I got piercing and I got short hair, whatever. I changed inside and outside, but mostly inside. I changed a lot and I grew up so fast compared to, for example, my classmates. I think my parents, how they raised me and this experience, spending a whole year in a foreign country and learning a couple of different languages, and having friends worldwide really helped me to form and to become who I am today.

Lori: Danish is no joke. I don’t know that you and I talked about this before. When I was in college, I did my semester abroad in Denmark.

Noémi: No way. We didn’t. We didn’t talk about that.

Lori: I lived with a family too. But I was only there for about five months. I did not do a very good job of learning Danish because it’s hard.

Noémi: It is hard. It is hard. I had a master’s degree in Danish linguistics. I continued that because I fell in love with Danish. So when I went home, I graduated from high school, and then I continued my studies and I got the master’s degree in Danish. I love the language. It’s a very weird language. No offense, Denmark, but it is a weird language.

Lori: It is. We’ll talk more about that offline. But how did they choose to send you to Denmark?

Noémi: There are two options. Actually, my dad found me this whole opportunity. Because I think I applied to another program. It was something organized by the Rotary, but I didn’t get in. Then there was another option. It was the American Field Service, AFS. There were two options left. There were too many applicants from Hungary. There was Canada and there was Denmark. And my mom told me, “You’re not going overseas. You’re not going overseas. You’re my only daughter. Just stay in Europe.” We didn’t even have mobile phones back then. We just have the normal phones, landlines. There was no Internet, we didn’t really use it. So it was like you went there and you were in touch only by phone, and that was it, maybe once a week. They didn’t want me to be so far away. That’s why I ended up in Denmark.

Lori: Okay. All right. You came home, you were totally different from everybody else, you were a changed person. What happened after that? What direction did your life go?

Noémi: It was a very interesting time, actually. Because I graduated from high school and I got married before I started university. Everybody was just—even my parents were like, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on? Why are you doing this?” But that happened. I fell in love, basically. We fell in love and we got married. And that was it. I was 19 when I got married and just getting ready for my first year at university. That was a big change. And now looking back, my life is like, “Wow, yes, it was a big thing, for sure.”

Lori: Where did you meet him? Was it in Hungary or in Denmark?

Noémi: In Hungary. We live locally and we just met through our families and everything.

Lori: Then of course I have to ask if this is the person you’re still married to.

Noémi: Yes, I am.

Lori: Wow. That is so unusual, but it happens. When you know who you are and you know who the person you want to be with is, as a general, you know the kind of person, it’s very unusual to happen at such a young age.

Noémi: Yes, I know. Everybody just looked at me, “Are you sure?” My parents, they were shocked. But that was it. My university years were different than other people, because obviously, I was married. We went to concerts or gigs or other places. We were always together. Then when I finished university, I just couldn’t find any job in Hungary. The ones I found, I didn’t like them. So we moved abroad, and that was it. We moved first to Denmark, but that was a fiasco. I didn’t want to be going that far this time.

It wasn’t a good idea. They’re speaking Danish so they’re not really interested in you so much because you speak Danish too. I got a job offer. I sent two applications to Ireland and then I was accepted to both places. I picked one, then we moved to Ireland just with two suitcases. We packed up our stuff and we moved to Ireland. I was young and it was very happy times because just experiencing life for the first time. I started to work in a call center, which isn’t top job or whatever. But because everybody just finished their university studies, so it was a great group of young people from Europe. It was fun. We had parties and I had made great, great friendships during that time in Ireland. So it was kind of a fun job.

But after three years, I told my husband, I was like, “I don’t know, I don’t want to do this. I’m fed up. I want to be an entrepreneur. Let’s do it.” My parents are like, “Are you sure? You never even tried.” Nobody was an entrepreneur in our family. There’s nothing like that. No, I want to do this. I’m a Scorpio. I don’t want to have any boss in my life. I want to be my own boss. Let’s do it. I had no clue what’s involving an entrepreneur, obviously, in your late 20s. I didn’t know.

Lori: What was your husband doing at this time for his career?

Noémi: We went to Ireland, but he didn’t speak English. I spoke English, obviously, because I lived in Denmark.

Lori: That must have been so difficult.

Noémi: It was because I taught him English. I helped him to prepare job interviews and everything. Now he’s the founder of the podcast booking agency that we run together. But he started working at a McDonald’s. That was it. Actually, he started to work at the place where I worked. That was a promotional product company. They made imprints on the promotional products. He worked there for a while. That was for many, many years before we started to work together.

Lori: Okay. I can see why he would be all in on the entrepreneurship thing. It was an opportunity.

Noémi: Actually, I was the first one that became entrepreneur. He just joined me two years later. Obviously, because of financial stuff and everything. Because when you start as an entrepreneur, you don’t have money.

Lori: Right. Because the show is called Fine is a 4-Letter Word, let’s go to the part of your life—because everything was going great. Where was it that you got to where it was fine but it wasn’t fine? Where you were telling people it was fine and it was not fine. Because you had a couple of places you wanted to share.

Noémi: Yes, absolutely. It all started when my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. That was end of the world for me because he was my dad, he was the strong guy. He was always the one to protect me. And then he was diagnosed with cancer. He had two years left with us, with a lot of struggles and a lot of surgeries and horrible stuff happening. That was a big, big turning point in my life. Up until that time, I thought my life is ideal. I’m traveling, I’m doing this, I’m doing that, and everything. I’m just so happy. I had my son in 2012. Everything going amazingly.

Then it’s like when you get this ice-cold shower, it’s like… That was a lot to take in. Especially that you have to still be a mom, to still run the business and look after your father. Even if I wasn’t there all the time with him, I have to travel back and forth between Hungary and Cyprus during that time. I told people, “Yeah, it’s fine.” I was trying to cope with things. But no, I wasn’t fine at all.

Lori: Backing up, because you just mentioned you were coming from Cyprus, because you were in Ireland, and then now you’re in Cyprus, were there other moves in between there?

Noémi: No. We’re seven years in Ireland, and then I got fed up with the weather. I always wanted to try the Mediterranean lifestyle. Now I’m so happy that I can see the Mediterranean Sea from here where I’m sitting. Now it’s 13 years. I’ve been living 13 years in Cyprus and counting. That was a big change as well. There are so many big changes in my life, even locally. When you just switch from one country to another, from language to language, from culture to culture, it’s been big changes. And they always made an impact on you, for sure, and on my life.

Lori: All right. Your dad is diagnosed. You said you had two years? Did you know that at the outset or did you think that treatment was going to work? Did doctors say at the beginning like, “You only have two years”?

Noémi: They said even less than two years. I think he got six months or something like that. They didn’t even know that he will survive one more year. But I think all the love that’s surrounding him and he really wanted to live and continue his life with us. He had just said his grandson. He loved his grandson, my son. It really kept him going. But then cancer was stronger than him in the end. We still celebrated two more Christmas, two more birthdays, two more everything, then he couldn’t cope with it anymore.

Lori: That will to live, though, I don’t think doctors take that into account enough. At least not Western medicine doctors. I don’t know. I’m not a medical person, but I would never give somebody an amount of time. I wouldn’t set it and say, “You only have six months.” It seems limiting.

Noémi: It is, absolutely. Actually, they didn’t tell my dad. Because we had that conversation with the surgeon, me and my mom. That was probably the most horrible time of my life when I got that message. I still remember so clearly sitting in that office, I didn’t know you’re getting that message. Then you go back to your dad to the hospital room and it’s like... You didn’t really want to tell that to him. It’s like, “They just told me that you had six months left.” No. I mean, obviously, he knew that everything is very bad. But he had a very strong will to live and he wanted to survive this. He was planning ahead. I think that was the thing that kept him going. He never gave it up. I really admired him for that because so many people wouldn’t have done that.

Lori: It’s an interesting point too, because having the plans... You can have a will to live but if you have no purpose, then it makes it a lot more difficult.

Noémi: For sure.

Lori: Whether you’ve been diagnosed with something serious like that or not, everybody needs to have some kind of plan for what they want to do, what they want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be build a business. It could be, like you said, see your grandson grow up.

Noémi: Exactly. So true. And the love that surrounded him. I think that love really helps people to cope with anything. Obviously, you can’t cure them, but it can definitely help them to live maybe a little bit longer. If that wasn’t enough for me, that continued with my grandma. Because my dad passed away on my son’s 7th birthday. For me, my son’s birthday, we celebrate it, but there’s always this sadness around it. We always go to the cemetery and bring him flowers and everything because it’s the same day. Then my grandma had an accident. In a month’s time, she just passed away just before Christmas in 2019. Just one day before Christmas. And it was like, “What’s going on in the world?”

Lori: That happened both the same year?

Noémi: Same year. She was my dad’s mother. It was horrible because we just went through one grief and death. Something horrible happened. And then we ended up in the same situation again and organizing another funeral. Oh my gosh, it was a horrible time. But I didn’t really think it through. Everything was just fine, fine, and just kept me going on autopilot, because still business to run, look after my mom who was grieving. I was grieving. I had my son. It was a really lot going on in that year. I just kept going. And then the pandemic hit.

Lori: One thing after another. What did you do during that time to help you move forward? Were you in therapy? Did you practice meditation? What tools did you find helped you to stay grounded, if you were, and helped you move from that place to where you are today? I mean, obviously, you don’t forget what happened, but you need to move forward.

Noémi: First, I didn’t do anything. Actually, when my dad was in transition, I started to work my digital collages. I was with him. I was sitting with him. It really helped me. Even these dark collages really helped me too. No matter how disturbing they were—and I showed it to my friends and they just looked at me. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on there?” But I really needed to get it out of my system. So I started to work on my collages more and more. I was taking nature photographs in my mom’s garden when I was at home with my dad. Art really always helped me to release stress from my body.

But because the pandemic hit and everything, I just really didn’t really have time to concentrate on my self-care. There’s a story too after this. Our business stopped operating because it was travel-related business. Because of the pandemic, it stopped. So we lost the business. I lost half of my family. Then now what? Then we started a new business. Then I started doing online school and everything. It was a mess at home. My mom stranded in Cyprus with us because there were no flights back. She was visiting us. My mom was there.

Lori: In a way, I have to imagine that might have been better. She was with you and not alone.

Noémi: It was. Exactly. I knew that she’s fine with us. She couldn’t watch the news because that wasn’t available here in Cyprus. Plus, I was like, “No, you can’t do that because it will just freak you out.” I was there, my son in online school. Everything was just a complete mess. I told myself, “Okay, I need to do something.”

I started to work on my hands-on collages. I didn’t even have any supply because all the shops were closed. Online shopping, it wasn’t a thing when COVID started in Cyprus. We improved a lot. But it was nothing. We didn’t have the stuff like that. So I started to repurpose my old collages or paintings and I started to work on them. Every single evening, I sat in bed. I started to sew these collages and just worked on these collages, listening to music or my audio book. And it was such an amazing meditative state. I didn’t meditate. I didn’t even know how to do that back then. When I started to journal, it was a gratitude journal. I was reading about it. I’m like, “Let’s do that.” I need something to keep me going. The collages and the art, I discovered it was so therapeutic and so amazing. I really lost myself in it. I was in the zone, I was relaxed, and it was heaven.

Lori: That’s, that’s another important point of finding something that you’re able to completely lose yourself in. Let go of all the outside thoughts and things going on and be totally immersed in a creative endeavor or some kind of—we’ll call it “another world”. What are you using? What kind of materials have you used for your collages?

Noémi: It’s quite unique. Because I don’t think there’s another crazy person out there who’s actually sewing things on a canvas because it’s really hard. It’s on your hands as well, physically.

You can see a couple of those behind me. I use photographs, all postcards, textiles, buttons, lace. Anything I can get my hands on. Because they have a very vintage vibe. When I collect things, I’m not a hoarder, just on the side note, but I love to keep things because I never know when I can use those for my collages, or old books or old magazines or anything. Basically, I sew paper on canvas and the textile and everything. It’s very delicate and very time-consuming process, but I love it because it’s like you’re putting a puzzle together. My family’s history and all my memories putting together. My travels with my parents and my grandparents, different relatives, their wedding pictures or when they were kids. Anything I could get my hands on, I just incorporate them, sew it on a canvas.

Lori: You’re not selling these because they’re very personal?

Noémi: They are personal. Maybe in the future, I would love to work for people. If they send me materials or something that they would like to—just to keep it as a memory for their families. But these ones are—I would love to have. That’s my goal. I had a couple of group exhibitions, but I never had a solo exhibition before. So I would love to have a solo exhibition based on my collages. Also the big plan is to make a coffee table book, beautifully photographed. I would love to tell the story behind each and every collage. There’s always a story there to share. Every collage has a story as well. So I would love to do that one day.

Lori: Okay. When is that happening? We can’t just leave it out there as like, “Well, maybe one day.” Because someday is not a day on the calendar.

Noémi: I know. I’m big into gratitude and law of attraction and stuff like that. I have to put a date on that too. I mean, at the moment, I’m training for the El Camino for next year, 2025 spring or autumn. I still have to decide which is the best time to do that. That’s my first goal right now. There’s a date there. About the coffee table book, because we have a lot of work with scaling our agency at the moment, so it’s a lot of work with that. But yes, I will put a date on that too, for sure.

Lori: You are the fourth or fifth or I don’t even know person to mention El Camino. I have a couple of friends that did it in September, October. Somebody who interviewed me for her podcast, she had partially done it. She was planning to go back and finish it. I never even heard of it before last year.

Noémi: It’s actually going on for a while. Especially in Europe, it’s really popular. Many of my friends did it before. It is a pilgrimage, for sure. But it’s a beautiful place to discover as well. Because I’m a walker, I love it.

Lori: For the people who don’t know, what is it?

Noémi: It was an ancient pilgrimage in Spain, from one point to another, from A to B. I think the whole length—I can’t really know the very details of it, but it’s 700 miles or something, I think. But maybe I’m wrong. Don’t quote me on it. It’s a very long walk, for sure. You can split it up. But we’ll do that because I would love to experience the journey. My goal is not to rush from point A to B. I would do it or whatever. I would love to take photographs. I would love to enjoy every moment of it and not just concentrating on just the goal. Because that’s not a race. It’s a spiritual journey too.

Lori: Right. I just looked it up. It’s 500 miles.

Noémi: It’s a lot to walk, for sure.

Lori: It’s a lot. For a prepared and experienced hiker, this route takes about 30 days from start to finish.

Noémi: You have to be really experienced for that.

Lori: Which is what my friend, Melinda, did is the 30 days.

Noémi: That’s nice.

Lori: But I understand, it does have an element of spirituality to it in this pilgrimage and allowing yourself the time to experience that. I would imagine you’ll be able to get some amazing pictures for your collages.

Noémi: Absolutely. I would love that. I love taking photographs and I love to share them, especially nature photographs. That’s a beautiful place to take those photos.

Lori: Are you going to do it by yourself or is your husband coming?

Noémi: My plan is that actually one of my clients is part of a group. It’s a group of approximately 10 people. They walk together from different parts of the world. From Canada, from the U.S., from Europe. I haven’t decided yet, but I really like that idea. And I wouldn’t like to go on the traditional route. Like you stay in these hostels in different places with bunk beds and stuff like that. This is a bit more the posh version of the El Camino. Just a normal place and a bed and your own bathroom to do that. It’s not the rates you’re staying, anything like that. You know, I’m 44. I don’t like doing camping and stuff like that.

Lori: I’m with you on that.

Noémi: I enjoy that part of it like this is my bed, this is my bathroom. I don’t need luxury. I just need those two things.

Lori: Right. Some hot running water.

Noémi: Exactly. And not sharing that with other people in the same room. That’s my plan and that’s my goal. I would love to join that group for sure.

Lori: Okay. Excellent. What else have you learned through this journey?

Noémi: My motto in life is just keep going. That’s what keeps me going all the time. Whatever bad happens, you just have to keep going. I had times when I was really low, it was really dark. I was trying to cope with stress, anxiety, panic attacks, grief. It was a lot going on at the same time. But I pulled this through. I didn’t have any mentor or I didn’t have any therapist back then. I don’t know. My mom helped me a lot because she’s my rock. We always communicate. We talk every day. I think that was really important for both of us to support each other. At time of the recording right now actually is my dad’s fifth death anniversary coming up very soon. That’s always a tricky time for me because it’s five years, but it seems like it was yesterday. I think anybody who lost a close loved one, that’s a tough time. But when you have someone to talk to, like I had always my mom to talk to, I think that’s really important.

Lori: I’m completely on board with you there. Because we are three days away from the 10-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. It’s weird because it’s like, “How can it be 10 years already?” Maybe it seems like five, maybe. Then in other ways, it feels like it was a really long time ago. They say time is an illusion, if we want to get all metaphysical and everything. But it really is. It’s like there’s this distortion of time.

Noémi: I agree with you 100%. It definitely feels like a couple of years or one or two years. And now we’re five.

Lori: Cool. What is the song that you go to when you need an extra boost of energy? Let’s just switch the energy here right now.

Noémi: We need that. I’m a music nerd. I have to tell you that up front. I love everything. I have different playlist for different moods, for different times. Exercise music, happy vibes music. I’m a nerd when it comes to that. Especially, I need that kind of extra energy when I walk. I live in a hilly area so it’s always up and down, up and down. When you’re really tired and you go uphill, there’s definitely Foo Fighters’ Pretender. That’s my go-to song because I need something... anything from the Foo Fighters, but especially that song. My Hero, I love that too. Anything from Foo Fighters. But it changes too, because I can’t stick to one band. I always love Red Hot Chili Peppers or I love French Rap or I like Macklemore. I’m listening to Macklemore right now, which is crazy.

Lori: It’s so good.

Noémi: I have a lot of favorite music.

Lori: That’s so cool. Speaking of Foo Fighters, did you read Dave Grohl’s book?

Noémi: Not yet but I would like to.

Lori: It was really good.

Noémi: I would love to do that. I heard about it. Luckily, a couple of years ago, there was a music festival in Hungary. It’s a very famous one. Dave was there and the Foo Fighters were there. I watched them live and it’s like, “Yes, finally.”

Lori: He seems like such a good guy. When you read the book, you learn even more about who he is as a human.

Noémi: He’s really humble on stage as well. There’s no pretending on the stage. It was great. I really enjoyed that concert.

Lori: Very cool. Well, the last question I have for you is if someone wants to continue a conversation with you, where is the best place for them to find you?

Noémi: You will find me on LinkedIn. I’m there all the time. You just search for my name, Noémi Beres. Or if you visit our website, podcastconnections.com, you’ll find me there and you can connect me through our website. I’m happy to chat, happy to connect.

Lori: Okay, fantastic. I will put links to all of that in the show notes. We will make it really easy for listeners to find you. Noémi, thank you so much for joining me today on Fine is a 4-Letter Word.

Noémi: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed our conversation, Lori.

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