It Was Time to Expand My Midlife Search Criteria

Let’s stop thinking life only happens right in front of us.

Vanessa Torre
5 min readMay 10


When I was five, my family moved out to Phoenix from Long Island. Except the four years I spent going to college about two hours north of here, I have been in Phoenix damn near my entire life. I have never left.

My parents made a bold move, just packing everything up and heading out to a city they didn’t know, all the way across the country. I, on the other hand, lived my life pretty risk-free until about a year ago, when I basically just burnt everything down and started over.

I have lived most of my time on Earth with the idea that my entire life happens within about a 50-mile radius of me. It’s like weird object permanence. If it’s outside of the bubble, it simply doesn’t exist.

After I graduated from college, I could have worked anywhere in the state. With a little bit of ingenuity, I could have worked just about anywhere. There were teacher jobs everywhere. Instead, I went right home and applied to schools within a 50-mile radius of me, despite having nothing tethering me here.

When I quit teaching and started applying for different careers, I was open to major shifts but only within my 50-mile radius. Of course, by then, I had a boyfriend I lived with who would soon become my first husband.

That guy and I got married and had a kid and then got divorced two years after that. I was solidly tethered to my 50-mile radius because leaving it would be costly, involve courts, and potentially be emotionally harmful to numerous people.

Now, I am sitting here at 49 years old. That kid is off to college in another state, having released herself from her own 50-mile radius.

For the first time in my entire life, I am not tethered to anything. I have a job I can do anywhere. I sold any real estate I owned. My required presence somewhere runs only with a lease and I can, feasibly, break that if I want.



Vanessa Torre

Top 10 feminist writer. Writing, coaching, and relentlessly hyping women in midilfe. Email: