Having a mid-life-crisis at thirty-three thousand feet

Having a mid-life-crisis at thirty-three thousand feet



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.

Room704 and MommasGoneCity

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:




  1. You should totally add what the FUCK we were getting ready to do in that photo.

    Also - How was it - some of us are 30 fucking something and some of us are just 30?

    By Dawn on 2010 06 28

  2. How did I forget that quote? Adding!

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2010 06 28

  3. You’re pretty hot for a 34-year-old. For me, 33-and-a-half looks fat & frumpy.


    By Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on 2010 06 28

  4. Still the best. quote. ever.

    By LGS on 2010 06 28

  5. There is a choice and it sits squarely between making it happen and lamenting why it hasn’t. You can. Period.

    By amanda on 2010 06 29

  6. i’m in the exact same boat!  i’ve always been a wandering soul.  a hippie chick. a nomad.  and then i decided to “settle down” and have a daughter. she is not even 2 yet, and i’m already thinking of how it would be possible (and safe) to wander around the country…the world… with her in tow.
    i used to do it all the time.  just go.  no plans. no money.
    but everything has changed.  except me.

    make your dreams (and list) come true!


    By Sara@TomTheGirl on 2010 06 29

  7. I was never a wanderer, but thought about it…and now I’m still sitting on my ass thinking about it because I remain in the same city where I’ve lived forever - with no worldly experiences to speak of other than vacationing in Cabo and BFE Ohio to visit family…while raising two spawns of satin (at least today they are).

    By Wendy on 2010 06 29

  8. i LIVE in BFE Ohio =(

    By Sara@TomTheGirl on 2010 06 29

  9. Beautiful, raw, inspiring. You are a force, lady.  I loved every single moment of the conference with you three.  For the first time in a long time I felt free to be ME. That is a true testament to who you all are. I’ll not soon forget those times we spent (all of it!).  So, while you’re feeling crisis-y, you’re impacting a lot of folks- and isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway? Partly, anyway?

    I expect to be where you are at shortly. I freaked out turning thirty. You are one hot specimen though!

    By Jessica Shyba on 2010 06 30

  10. Thanks for helpful information you catch up us with your instructional explanation.

    By gizli kamera on 2010 07 03