Growing up on Long Island in the 1950's, it was clear from the start that theater was in my blood. I was shyer than Laura in "The Glass Menagerie" and in the insecurity department, I gave Woody Allen a run for his money. For fun, I spent my time looking to others for validation. My two best friends and I, Anxiety and Depression, were inseparable. Some people run away to find themselves. I ran away to make sure no one would ever find me, myself included. But I did, in spite of myself, at 60.
Is it possible to start a new career after 60? AARP says it is. I write screenplays, short stories and hopefully the next hit show for HBO. I've been judged all my life by the best -- me. So, don't judge me, it's exhausting.
Coloring Your Hair is the Gateway Drug to Face-Lifts
Change your hair color change your life. If only I had listened to copywriter Shirley Polykoff, the real-life model for the character Peggy Olsen in Mad Men. In 1956, she single-handedly reinvented Clairol with the suggestive slogan, "Does she... or doesn't she?" Up until that time, hair color was only for fast women. Images of Brigitte Bardot falling out of her tight low cut sweater swept through my brain with envy. How I longed to be a fast woman. Did June Cleaver? Clairol's sales went through the roof and so did Shirley's career.
Clothes Empower the Un-empowered
When my cousin blew in from Chicago, wearing a fanny pack, I walked two umbrella steps behind her. When she offered to lend it to my husband, I threatened divorce. Sturdy shoes and sensible clothes were never my mantra. While my fellow kindergarteners were pledging their allegiance to the flag, I was pledging mine to an adorable little number I saw in the window of Best & Company. I was a rebel, and fashion was my cause.
Aging gracefully is a bore. I don't have a treasure trove of clothes. I don't spend hours getting ready. But I do have my own style. Mary Russell, former fashion editor of Vogue and Elle magazines, said it so perfectly: "Women look best and feel best when their clothes are not the uniform of the moment, but part of themselves."
Just Say No To Talbots
The 2000 invasion of H&M from Sweden was somewhat like the British invasion of the 1960s. Instead of changing the face of music, it was affordable style. No longer did we have to spend our weekly paycheck on cool trendy clothes and risk eviction. While H&M can't kick me to me the curb based on my age, they did devise a brilliant strategy, mindless pop music geared to 14-year-old girls played really, really loud. Although it should be against the law, it isn't, I checked. I went to Uniqlo. The music followed me. I pressed on and kept my eyes on the prize.
When I Die, My Life Will Be Told in a Series of Fashion Flashbacks
I still have my original Woodstock ticket. Three days of fun and music and nothing but fun and music... and sex and drugs and rock'n'roll. I let my freak flag fly while enveloped in a haze of psychedelics and fringe where all around me cherries were popping faster than stove top Jiffy Pop.
The '80s were all about hair. The '90s brought out my inner femme fatale. I couldn't help but reveal everything you wanted to know about me, and didn't need to ask.
I'm not a religious woman, but if I were, I would send a prayer of thanks to the god of blue jeans for showing me the path to a pair where at 62, I can still get good butt.
Photo credit: Leland Bobbé