One of my favorite "laugh out loud" cartoons? Two old guys sitting in a diner, one says to the other: "90 is the new...nothing."
Bob Dylan is 72, Mick Jagger is a year older than me, Grandma Moses didn't start painting till she was 70, and well into her 90s... so, I figure I'm right on schedule.
I'm not a Boomer, I'm a War Baby, born in October of 1944, the end of WWII. My generation survived everything, drugs, sex AND rock and roll. Hell, we invented them! We refuse to age; we will be dragged kicking and screaming into senility. When we look at our high school reunion pictures we wonder, "Who are all those old people?"
"If you can remember the '60s you weren't there" <>was our battle cry, we were barefoot and braless, Hippies and Yippies. Abbie Hoffman told us not to trust anyone over 30. Dick Clark dubbed us the "first teenagers"... We were present for the birth of rock and roll and it became the "soundtrack of our lives" -- we can tell you where we were and what we were smoking when we heard "Sgt Pepper" for the first time, and we are now we're shelling out $10K for front row seats to see The Stones.
When I was a surfer, folk singer and writing bad poetry, aimlessly floundering around Southern California in the early '60s, my mother used to tell me, "Life begins at 40... you're a late bloomer." Last week a study came out, "70 is the new 30" -- at this rate, by the time I'm 80, I'll be Benjamin Button.
Like Forest Gump, I was the perfect age at the perfect time. The Beatles, Elvis, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, "...Martin and John," the Sunset Strip riots, The Whisky, Max's Kansas City, Women's Lib, "Fear of Flying," bell bottoms, mini skirts, Woodstock, hot pants, hip huggers and platform shoes, long skirts and Frye Boots. The Moon Walk in space, and by Michael Jackson. Girdles and garter belts, panty hose and fish net stockings with white Go Go boots. Training bras to pointy bras... to no bras at all. Piano bars on airplanes and Tiffany phone dialers. It was a time before ATMs, cell phones, fax machines, email and the World Wide Web.
I had it all and thought it would never end. I was married, a mom with a son in private school, house in the country, shopping in Prada. My brilliant career had been chugging along for almost four decades, as a producer in advertising since the Mad Men days, making well into six figures, winning lots of awards and being, by some accounts, "a total bitch."
I don't really know how it happened, but I just woke up one day and it was over. Divorce, laid off and 9/11... all in the same month! It was like that cartoon where Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner off the cliff... and keeps running in thin air.
I ran in thin air for, about, let's see...10 YEARS!
I was 57 years old, I couldn't find a job, forget dating. A friend said to me at the time, "You know Sandi, if you don't know you, you look pretty bad on paper." And it's worse now..."68 year old, divorced, unemployed, alcoholic, on Social Security and Medicare." Put that on Match.com and see what you come up with!
It was the best of times, but mostly it seemed like the worst of times. I had become such a fear ball I had lost all my friends. People would flee from me like Edvard Munch's "The Scream." One day, an amazing thing happened: I attended a lecture of a wildly successful movie and Broadway producer friend, who said, "Once you're a producer, you can produce anything, a concert, a movie, television or Broadway show!" This simple statement changed my life.
I realized at that moment, I wasn't my business card, I wasn't my job; I was the sum of all that I had accomplished. All of it. And, I just happened to be a producer, too.
Another thing she taught me... get a good haircut. I will add to that, and, a good dermatologist.
And thus ended my last day as a victim and the first day of creating my own destiny. Here are a couple of steps I took.
1. Write down everything you ever did for work and everyone you ever knew.
2. Ask yourself, "What would I do if I were really rich and didn't have to work?" Travel doesn't count.
3. Buy a waitress Guest Check pad.
I heard once, the Universe is so abundant, you need only ask. The way it was explained to me, it's like going to a restaurant and ordering a plate of spaghetti -- you're confident you're going to get it because you ordered it. That's the way the Universe works. So I thought about that for awhile and I bought a blank book of waitress Guest Checks, I call them Yes Checks. I "place my orders" by writing down what I want -- like how much money, or what job, or who I'd like to meet, date -- and wait. Sometimes it takes years.
Trust me, this works, it's how I met Steven Spielberg.
So, be fearless. Find the thing you would do if you didn't have to work, and do it. Be compassionate. Forgive everybody everything right now. Be loving and generous. Tip buskers on the street. Release all resentment. Laugh all the time. And first and foremost...get a good haircut.
For more form Sandi Bachom, visit her website