In thinking about this trip the other day and all that it will entail, it struck me that maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis. It’s a concept that I always frowned upon in the folly of my not-nearly-misspent-enough youth. Who were these oldsters trying to pretend they were 23 again, and why didn’t they just live the previous years of their life in such a way that they wouldn’t feel they had been missing out, and now had to take drastic measures to catch up? Well no one ever mentioned that when you hit midlife you still feel 23 inside, and that ten years can vanish out from under you in a blink. But even after swallowing the bitter pill of realization that 45 does indeed constitute “mid-life,” this still doesn’t feel like a crisis. There’s no panic or scrambling or desperation in my plans. So what then to call it? Yesterday, as I continued to ponder on the proper term for this madness that has overtaken me, I read an article in which Jennifer Aniston was talking about her motivations for pursuing an acting role well outside of her comfort zone in the new movie Cake, and described herself as having a “midlife contemplation.” I certainly like the sound of that a lot more, but it was still a shoe that didn’t quite fit: too passive and peaceful for a madcap sprint across the country in not-nearly-enough time. If crisis seemed too crazy, contemplation seemed too calm. Then today, over a steamy bowl of Hot and Sour Soup, I received the above glimpse into my future. Renewal. I like the sound of that. REnewal. A reboot, a rejiggering, a review and redo of how I’m looking at and living my life. ReNEWal. See new places, try new foods, have new experiences, think new thoughts. RenewAL. Every part of me: heart and mind, body and soul. RENEWAL. That seems to me . . . just right.