Annie Macmanus on rebuilding her identity at 45

Last time Annie Macmanus came on The Shift she was about to make a MASSIVE change. Then, in her early 40s, one of the country’s biggest female DJs was on the brink of walking away. The prescribed way of doing things - climbing, climbing, climbing, until you were Johnny Big Balls, as she put it, was not for her. She, like so many women at this life stage, wanted to find a new way, to build her own decks.

Since then Annie, now 45, has written two novels, the latest of which is The mess we’re in, out now in paperback, helmed two hit podcasts and launched the so-fabulous-I-can’t-believe-nobody-thought of it-before club night, Before Midnight. Aimed at those of us who love to dance but don’t want to stay up til 3am to do it.

Annie joined me for one of those conversations that goes to all the places. We discussed the emotional upheaval of leaving a big job after 17 years and how she rediscovered who she was when she wasn’t on the radio. Plus the loneliness of working from home, the hormonal chaos of perimenopause, the scary urge to “set fire to something”, making new friends in your 40s, getting back on the football pitch and leaning into who she really is now she no longer has to waste time getting manicures!

You can read Annie's piece on the shock of realising she was lonely here.

• If you loved this episode, you might also like my earlier conversation with Annie where she talks about reaching the decision to leave Radio 1, and my chats with Jo Whiley and DJ Paulette.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including Annie's new book, The Mess We're In and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

* If you enjoyed this episode and you fancy buying me a coffee, pop over to my page on

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Juliette Nicholls @ Pineapple Audio Production. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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