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My First Official Day as a Modern Midlifer

My First Official Day as a Modern Midlifer


I’m not sure it counts but it’s a milestone anyway… I’m officially an empty nester.

My wife and I dropped off our youngest daughter at college last weekend. It was a covid-delayed event but it finally happened.

And so, I am “officially” in the Modern Midlifer camp.

Now, I know there is no specific life event that makes us Modern Midlifers. I know it’s more of a mindset, a spirit. Once of curiosity, activeness, continued growth. But the event was actually seismic and seemed appropriate to celebrate “the crossover”.

Lots of thoughts and emotions swirled on the 4-hour ride home.

First, they were about, “Will she be ok?”, “I hope she is safe.” Then, “Will she be a good roommate?”. Eventually after those questions rattled in my brain, and in our conversation together, the topic turned to us. Are WE ready? What’s next for us?

What’s Next for us?

We’ve had plans for this moment for years. A “Freedom Tour” of the United States. A nomadic life, living in some places we’d never been. Learning and seeing new things—some bucket list items, some more mundane. And committing more time and effort to issues and causes we care about. It’s a nice bunch of objectives for our Modern Midlifer phase*. In fact, we are already in motion on some these as I write this.

Soundtrack of the Modern Midlifer

Because the universe works in the most wonderful and mysterious ways, while all this internal processing was going on, the musical gods decided to through in a couple of tunes on the radio to further churn the emotional and intellectual waters.

Seemingly mid conversation, as if a warning and a call to action, this comes on:

Wasted on the Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash

Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way
It used to be
I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started
Long before I did
And there’s so much time to make up
Everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Oh when you were young
Did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers
Who had all the nerve
Look round you know
You must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved


If those words, that tune, doesn’t stop you and make you take notice than you are not paying attention to the universe. I’ll tell you I don’t know if that is the official Modern Midlifer anthem but it’s certainly a finalist. So, yes, I take the challenge laid before me by CSN: I have the nerve…and promise to go for it!

But that was not all.

Later in the trip (and what a trip huh?) this little ditty comes on:

Into The Mystic, Van Morrison

We were born before the wind
Also, younger than the sun
‘Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic
Hark now, hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic
Yeah, when that fog horn blows
I will be coming home
Yeah, when that fog horn blows
I wanna hear it
I don’t have to fear it
And I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float
Into the mystic
When that fog horn blows
You know I will be coming home
Yeah, when that fog horn whistle blows
I gotta hear it
I don’t have to fear it
And I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float
Into the mystic
Come on, girl
Too late to stop now

Ok, stop. You’re killing me. Really? Just at that time, the time that we are contemplating the past and the future at the same time? On my first “official” day as a Modern Midlifer? Van the Man calls me out, challenging me to live a full life and “float into the mystic.”

Challenge Accepted

Done. Immediately we started on our new journey, our new phase. We made the commitment right there to eat better (and we have so far!), to get more exercise (I’m headed for another walk on the frozen lake as soon as I finish this), learn more and do more. It’s happening.

There was a time not too long ago that our parents and grandparents got to this stage with the dream of slowing down, retiring, maybe being a porch rocker. We, you and I, don’t necessarily share those goals. Some by necessity, some by desire. Whatever camp you are in, join me on the path to increased vitality, curiosity and a new, exciting bloom. Collectively we are living longer, living healthier and living better. We have a long way to go and much more to give.

It’s time to get started.

*Note: In case you’re interested here are some of the things on our list:
Seeing the Steinbeck Museum in Monterey, buying a hat and sipping mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby, becoming a docent at the New York Historical Society, participating in the Iowa caucuses, volunteering for Girl Scout Troop 6000. There are other goals— among them are celebrating some other milestones along the way–and God willing we’ll get there.

We’d love to hear how you plan to make the most out of being a Modern Midlifer. If you want to share, feel free to leave a comment here or if you prefer, connect with me directly at

I’d love to hear from you.

See you out there.