I tell people I’m going through a small mid-life crisis. They look at me, judging. “HmmMMmm,” they start, “I bet you’re not nearly mid-life. What are you? Thirty? You really expect to only live until sixty?”
To these people I put a pox on their eyebrows and ear hair.
Funny thing: Mid-Life can mean any time in which you wake up and look in the mirror and immediately proclaim “HOLYSHIT! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WHILE I WAS SLEEPING.”
This is exactly how I feel right now.
Last Thursday I travelled to Utah on SouthWest Airlines. This means I was part of the cattle call to find my own seat on a plane with a bunch of other livestock. I sat in row seven on the isle next to two people who, by the end of a two hour flight, would be my partners in crisis.
We shared stories of being mid-thirty. Each of us, thirty-four (me), thirty-five, thirty-six. We book-end the mid-line of thirty perfect. And we all understood each other in ways no twenty-something could possibly understand. It’s surreal, a bit. It’s cliche. It’s.. utterly pathetic.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a strong “flight” extinct. I’ve been the wistful, ridiculously naive girl who wants nothing more than to travel. I’ve suppressed her, I’ve told her how ridiculously impractical that is. I’ve chastised her for being so selfish.
That suppressed inner girl is getting really pissed off about it.
I’m able to travel more now for work. I’ve had amazing opportunities and I’ve experienced places I could never justify before. With each trip I realize I’m as truly “me” when traveling as I’ll ever be. There’s something raw about going to a new place and giving yourself permission to explore both your inner self and the new landscape around you. I dare say it’s even addicting.
As I mature, reality sets in. A new reality, or an age-old one, I am not sure. Somehow it is my job at mid-thirty to bring my wistful naive twenty-two year old traveling hippie self in to the woman who understand the world with a more cynical eye, has experienced some of life’s failures and is responsible for whole, entire human beings now. I have no idea how to achieve this.
So I hunker down with my peers, my tribe, and we bond over wine and children’s screams. There’s comfort in knowing I am not alone in this middle space. I’m not alone when I look back and suddenly remember I was going to do that Thing, that which is listed on a piece of paper I wrote 13 years ago after college. I was going to continue rowing, I was going to see the Northern Lights, I was going to spend a summer in England in a tiny rented flat alone. I remember my list of “fifty things to do before I die” and know I’ve crossed off about half. Lately, it seems, the other half of that list is coming to mind more and more and I’m unsure of the root cause or if I’ll ever finish what I started before I was who I am today.
** update: On my fabulous weekend in Utah, which is a whole other post to come, I exclaimed, at my BFF who is only just now THIRTY: