Learn to love your midlife.

Welcome to the world’s first midlife wisdom school—and to a community built on spreading wisdom and navigating transitions together.
How MEA Started

Midlife isn’t a crisis. It’s a calling. That’s certainly the case for the three co-founders of MEA—Chip Conley, Christine Sperber, and Jeff Hamaoui—who saw an opportunity to reframe aging and help people make the most of midlife, an era that lasts decades longer than it did a century ago.

It all started on a beach in Mexico, when Chip had a “Baja aha” moment. The entrepreneur and hotelier was writing a book about his midlife experience after working at Airbnb, where he was the “modern elder” to the company’s founders. He wondered: is the reason people struggle in this stage of life because they don’t have the tools to navigate it? An epiphany in the sand turned into a lifelong purpose—to use his own experience to cultivate wisdom in other adults. But Chip couldn’t do it alone.

A headshot of MEA Founder Chip Conley
Chip Conley
A headshot of MEA Co-Founder Christine Sperber
Christine Sperber
A headshot of MEA Co-Founder Jeff Hamaoui
Jeff Hamaoui

The timing was fortuitous: at a yoga festival on the streets of Todos Santos he met Christine, the event’s producer and a former pro snowboarder and hospitality expert with a keen visual aesthetic and passion for thrill. She helped create an incomparable experience in Baja starting with those early students who came to visit the peninsula. Christine’s vigorous midlife style inspired Jeff, who was one of those students. Burned out from running a consulting company and in need of recharging, Jeff took interest in regeneration—actions that create more life than reduce it—and built a community around the concept. From soil to body to soul, Jeff continues to teach renewal and regrowth as part of the MEA curriculum. Chip’s passion for spreading wisdom, Christine’s zeal for crafting transformational experiences, and Jeff’s soulful teachings set the stage for the opening of what The New York Times would deem “the world’s first midlife wisdom school.”

From online courses to workshop retreats on the beach in Baja, or on the newest campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Modern Elder Academy blends midlife wisdom and social science-based knowledge to help adults find—and focus on—their calling. MEA students learn from the brilliant minds and teachings of world-renowned experts across various fields to connect with and grow their own wisdom. That wisdom is then unleashed among all students from all walks of life, sparking life-changing dialogues and creating an alchemy in the camaraderie within every shared MEA space.

By the numbers

95% of alums say that they are better equipped to navigate midlife transitions.


80% of alums report that the number one skill they’ve deepened at MEA is “Exploring Your Purpose”.


97% of alums say that they’ve become more mindful and present in their lives after experiencing an MEA program.

This journey has truly broadened my perspective, deepening my connection with others and enriching my understanding of the world around me.

Robert Craig
Ohio, USA

MEA empowers people to face and navigate life transitions that might be tough—like divorce, career shifts, and empty nesting. But the curriculum doesn’t just touch on the serious stuff—it can inspire renewed energy and new experiences. Students cultivate creativity and rediscover play. They build the confidence to try a new hobby, or return to an old passion project. Students go deep within themselves and collect meaningful outside perspectives.

They learn how to live in the present while also defining the legacy they want to leave behind.

The MEA experience doesn’t end when courses are over. MEA alumni use their renewed spirit to continue to live midlife to the fullest—among a community of devoted mentors and new lifelong friends.

Being a Modern Elder

What is a modern elder?

We get it. We don’t like to think of ourselves as elderly. Even being an elder, an honorific in many cultures, may feel uneasy.

We are living longer. In the 20th century, U.S. longevity grew by three decades. So, instead of living into our 50s we can hope to live well into our 80s. with this “extra life”, or second adulthood, the idea of what it means to be older or “elder” needs to be radically reimagined.

At MEA we believe our 40s, 50s and beyond are invigorating times of re-imagination, re-creation, reflection, and true growth – on our own terms. Today’s modern elder is always searching – searching for greater meaning, deeper relationships, new experiences to explore and ideas to imagine, and nurturing and unleashing the untapped wisdom, creativity, and joy that sits within us all.

The modern elder is someone as “curious as they are wise.” That means they are saying no to the narratives and the limits of past generations. The modern elder embraces their second adulthood with a dream of adventure, spiritual deepening, joyous learning, exploration, new community, and delight. A modern elder is someone who is saying ”What’s next?” instead of “What’s left?”

If that is what has been missing in your life: welcome. You have found your place.
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Your wisdom and experience have never been more needed or important. We offer the tools to help you navigate your next chapter.

A framework to help you understand the messy middle of midlife.

Enjoy this free ebook exploring the stages or "anatomy" of a transition that applies to so many areas of life. There's a roadmap that we can follow, and we have your compass.