slomo(In my daily pursuit to ignite the second-half of life, I came across this. It’s a 16-minute short film (link below) that’s turned heads at film festivals, and now I know why. If you ponder mid-life questions, you might want to watch. You’ll thank me later.)

For John Kitchin, practicing medicine no longer satisfied him. His Ferrari and his 30-acre ranch, populated with exotic zoo animals, no longer fulfilled him.

He left work each day asking himself: “How much of what I did today promoted me financially? And how much of it promoted me spiritually?”

Over the years, the answer became more and more about promoting himself financially.

It made no sense. He was working to support a lifestyle that didn’t make him happy. So he reset his priorities.

“All I really wanted to do,” he realized, “was skate.”

With that, he left neurology in his mid-50s, took a studio apartment near the beach. And rollerbladed.

The Pacific Beach boardwalk in San Diego has been his “office” for the last 15 years.

Kitchin is not your typical blader. For one thing, he’s 71 years old. Then there’s his form. It’s rather unconventional, let’s say. He skates on one leg, the other raised high in the air behind him, and he just glides, seemingly without propelling himself. It’s like slow motion.

And thus his nickname: Slomo.

With a backwards baseball cap and ear buds (classical music), Slomo is a daily fixture on the boardwalk, drawing plenty of curious stares as he meanders. It’s an odd visual.

Initially, no one knew much about him. Some thought he might be homeless. The look on his face said to some that he might be a bit deranged. His expression is of pure elation. As though he were in a very happy trance.

Kitchin knew the signs of mental illness from his work as a neurologist. He started to wonder about himself. “I thought I was going crazy because I was TOO happy with my new life.”

His story has just been released as a short film, Slomo, by Joshua Izenberg (another Crowdfunding success story on Kickstarter). I think it has the potential to go viral among us old farts and change the way we think about mid-life and beyond.

I’m sure Kitchin had, and still has, plenty of money as a retired neurologist. I’m not sure that matters. Because no matter your socio-economic status, we all face mid-life questions. I loved seeing someone grapple with, and inevitably concur, the big question of what’s next.

“Who am I?” Slomo says in the short film. “I’m the one who got away, who escaped, and found real freedom. And I make no apologies for it.”

Watching this film was like watching somebody accomplish my dream: profound happiness in the second-half of life. Slomo found it. I’m still working on it, and getting closer every day.

(Click link below to watch the 16-minute documentary, plus a fascinating 30-second commercial to kick it off.)

(To be continued…)





  1. Don says:

    You’re on a roll baby … stay with it!

  2. stvrsnbrgr says:

    It’s later and I’m thanking you. Jim, this is great.

  3. […] McTrip’s April 15th blog post, Skating Through Life (<< that’s a link) recounts the unusual story of John Kitchin – which is captured so […]

  4. Looking forward to watching this!

    I think the mid-life issue is profound — and rarely discussed publicly in any useful or meaningful way. After 30 years of work (for most of us), we’re tired and want to re-assess, yet the myth is we are Super Successful and eager to just keep working or…we’re sad sacks somehow. I’ve been a journo since college and I still love telling stories but I have many other very strong interests (design, non-profit work, travel) and am now trying much harder than before to integrate these into my life as well. It’s helped with my feelings of burnout.

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