A debut author’s guide to charting a “flight plan” for midlife.
Mead, a commercially licensed helicopter pilot, writes that she didn’t learn to fly until she was almost 40. When someone asked her why she chose to fly helicopters instead of planes, her reply was “because anyone can fly an airplane”—and this willingness to try new and different things informs the book. Many other self-help works focus on a singular aspect of midlife, but this one covers a lot of territory, including physical health, relationships, sex, parenting, friends, mental health, and money. Generational differences come up for discussion, as well, early on. Overall, she maintains a consistent stance that midlife “shouldn’t happen on autopilot” and that it should be seen as “a journey, not a pivot.” She includes extensive references to other books on middle-aged living, and although these are helpful, they occasionally distract from the power of her own platform. Throughout, she invites reader involvement with reflective questions and briefing notes at the end of each chapter. Accounts from the author’s piloting experiences further heighten readability; a standout passage, in which she compares a nerve-wracking midair challenge to leaving one’s comfort zone, drives her message home. Mead also devotes three chapters to “eliminating drag”—a vital step, whether one is flying a plane or sorting out one’s daily life. Indeed, more flying anecdotes would have been welcome. Overall, her book often feels like advice from an old friend, as when she writes, “Don’t go full anarchist. Just remember it’s your life.” Although the book’s target audience is women over 40, and portions focus on female-centric issues, such as menopause, anyone in a similar age range will glean something of value from Mead’s outlook.
Sound, empowering advice for the middle-aged.