10 Life Lessons I Learned Listening To An FM Radio Show

Photo by Gabe Pierce, Unsplash

Let me explain…

I’m not talking a podcast. I’m talking a regular FM music station based out of Atlanta with a morning show called, The Bert Show.

They’ve been on the air, bantering for 20 years, and I stumbled upon them a couple years after they started, when I was post-my-divorce.

They are real and they are funny, as their tagline says, and that’s what’s kept me listening all these years. Their open-book nature, which is the cornerstone of their success, grabbed me all those years ago, probably because their brand of honesty and vulnerability had been missing from my world.

It was refreshing.

They along with their caller’s stories, predicaments, experience, and advice have given me perspective and an understanding of things in life I never knew before.

If I had had this radio show when I was in college, teaching me about how life and love works, then I would go so far as to boldly say that I wouldn’t be divorced right now. I would’ve married “right” the first time.

To this day I wonder how I could have known better back then. Where was anybody to tell me such things as to give me the perspective I needed? I lacked close friendships of those who could’ve told me I was missing red flags. And I lacked the self-awareness that could’ve saved me from myself. I married young and dumb.

The Bert Show people feel like my friends.

When you spend your time daily with a certain set of people, enjoying their company, you become invested in their stories, their lives, somehow connecting across the vast chasm between their shared medium and your own life.

So silly as it is, The Bert Show people feel like my friends. I know I’m getting real life and real feelings when I tune in, and their unfiltered, objective words really do help you see a path if you need one, shed light when you seek clarity, and offer comfort and inspiration when you struggle.

I’ve learned a lot of things from The Bert show, but here are some that stick out to me the most.

10 lessons I learned from The Bert Show

Lesson #1- There ARE signs he’s not Mr. Right.

And you need to pay attention. Don’t glom onto someone, ignoring the signs he’s not really the one. Does he behave like he loves you? Really? Cause it’s not about what he says, it’s about what he does. There really ARE red flags. Be smart. Deciding to marry someone is a bigger decision than you can even know. Pay attention, dammit.

Lesson #2- There ARE “deal breakers” in relationships.

Most deal breakers fall in the realm of dishonesty, be it cheating, hiding information, or just plain lying. Don’t gloss it over. Dishonesty is usually a character-trait that doesn’t go away, and neither will the behavior. There really are red flags. See Lesson #1.

Lesson #3- Have a dating cut off mark in your head.

Don’t waste all your 20’s on someone you’re not gonna marry by dating them for 5, 6 or 7 years waiting on a proposal that isn’t going to happen. That’s also a red flag. Remember, they do exist…see Lesson #1 and #2.

Lesson #4- Don’t get married until you’re 30.

You’re still evolving into you in your 20’s, and you’re not ready to be married. You don’t know that yet because you’re too young to know. If you don’t want to be divorced then don’t marry young. Yes, you’re in love, but marriage takes more than love, and you don’t understand that yet because you’re in the 20’s Big Circle of Unknowing (Yes, I’m naming that decade!).

Lesson #5- Only be about 98% honest.

100% honesty is 2–3% too much. We’re talking white-lies. The little stuff. Sometimes in your relationship it is better to hold back a fraction. Does my butt look big in this dress? I rest my case.

Lesson #6-Meet your kids where they’re at.

Tune in. Let your kids have their likes and dislikes, and help them live their own passions. If they’d rather be in drama club than play baseball then let them. It’s not about what you like. You’re helping them grow up to be themselves.

Lesson #7- Hurt people, hurt people.

Understand that, and you’ll begin to understand why people treat people the way they do. You’ll start to connect the dots of people’s behavior towards you and others. Maybe from there you can find empathy and move forward.

Lesson #8- There’s no such thing as emotional perfection.

There’s a lot of emotional stuff in life, and you’ll never perfect all your feelings about everything. Everything doesn’t fit nice and tidy in a box. You can tackle the big dragons in your head, but there will always be little dragons around, and that’s okay. You can manage them. And if you need help, then get therapy. It really is okay. We all really do need it.

Lesson #9- Don’t abandon your self, and your needs.

When you don’t speak up, your hurt feelings and resentments fester. To say nothing is to engage in self-abandonment which is like saying that your feelings aren’t worth anything. And we all know that’s not true.

Lesson #10- Manscaping is a thing.

Real, I tell ya. I went decades in my world not knowing men did this. Just showed me that there are people out there doing things you may not even know were a thing! Live and learn, baby. Live and learn.

Preaching The Bert Show lessons to my kids

I have 3 kids. One of my highest priorities for my children is to help them be self-aware, and understand relationship dynamics and red flags. If I can help any of them NOT to be divorced down the road, then I will have done my job well. My one parental mantra that means the most above all is this: It’s ALL about choices. ALL.

When my youngest daughter (from my ex-husband) was in high school I preached The Bert Show as words to live by. We’d be in the car, listening on the way to school.

You know if I had The Bert Show when I was growing up, I don’t think I’d be divorced right now.

I wanted her to glean tidbits from the show when she listened here and there, hopefully giving her a variety of real lessons, the kind I didn’t get growing up. I get that you don’t want to believe everything your mom says. The Bert Show was my back-up.

Now years later, she’s living her 20’s, in her Big Circle of Unknowing, and while I’m sure she stifles some of my life lessons (cause that’s just what 20-somethings do), I do know that she is also keenly aware of the red flags. For that I am grateful. Some of what I’ve said has stuck.

I’m happily remarried, had another child, who turned 13 in a blink of an eye, and me and my son are riding in the car, listening to The Bert Show. I tell him what I told my daughter way back when.

You know if I had The Bert Show when I was growing up, I don’t think I’d be divorced right now.

And without missing a beat he says, yeah but then I wouldn’t be here.


He’s right. In that moment I was caught up in preaching the lessons, and instead got schooled myself. I totally spoke without thinking.

Of course I’m so very thankful for all my children.

Sure, I could’ve used more lessons, more guidance or knowledge to make my choices along the way, but we persevere and even thrive through it all. And even when it seems the most horrible thing has happened, you eventually learn that the universe has given you exactly what you need every step along the way. My journey was still my journey to be grateful for. It gave me that which I never knew I needed.

The Bert Show has given me many life lessons I could’ve used long, long ago, but thankfully I got to stumble my way through my own version of life. Yes, I did marry what turned out to be the wrong guy way back when, but I wouldn’t change a thing. My journey gave me a now fabulous husband and three wonderful children.

Bonus Lesson #11- We all do the best we can do with what we have at any given moment, and when we know better, we do better.




On a writing journey to somewhere. I like talking about life lessons and self-awareness. Proud mom, happy wife, just trying to leave something behind.

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Della Jennsen

Della Jennsen

On a writing journey to somewhere. I like talking about life lessons and self-awareness. Proud mom, happy wife, just trying to leave something behind.

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