I have been thinking a lot lately about aging, and it dawned on me that at fifty-seven I am just getting started. I have a vivid memory of seeing a plaque in my grandparents’ bathroom that said “Age is a matter of mind: if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” I never understood it as a kid, but I get it now. I’m reinventing myself at fifty-seven.

Midlife Crisis

I had never really thought about aging that much until I turned forty. I know midlife crises. It brought me to my knees. I was forty and broke, and I had no job, a horrible divorce, three little kids to manage, and very low self-esteem. I had the absolute worst limiting beliefs. I thought, “I am a loser. I failed at my marriage. Who is going to want me, broke with three kids? I’m too old to start over.”

The list goes on.

I was a hot midlife crisis mess. One day I was trying to furnish a rental I moved into with my kids in Park City, Utah. I went to RC Willey Home Furnishings in Salt Lake City with my mom. I had a full-blown anxiety/panic attack. I was on my knees in RC Willy hysterically crying. My mom did not know what to do. There I was, completely falling apart and riddled with fear. I called my ex and begged him to take me back, to which he replied, “No, it’s over.” I don’t know about you, but nothing can bring me to my knees harder than a failed relationship.

Reinvention Deborah Driggs

The Many Stages Of Reinvention

I had to reinvent myself. I had two careers up to this point: waitressing and acting. They were not going to come in handy right about now. I did not leave my marriage with an alimony plan, so I went back to the drawing board. I did several odd jobs, including managing a spa and cleaning out peoples’ closets.

My next reinvention came when I got my real estate license on the first try after studying for six weeks. This was a huge confidence builder—all of a sudden I got my footing back and felt good about myself. I began working as an assistant to Rich, the best Realtor in Park City. I told him I had never worked in an office before. He asked me, “Are you good with people?” I said yes! Then he said, “Great, you can manage all our listings. I have over thirty, and I am burned out on talking to my clients. I can show you the ropes.”

We were now a team. I picked up everything he taught me. I learned how to make flyers and help with marketing. I sat all his open houses and managed all his clients. I learned a lot about myself working with Rich and his team, including that I was smart! When I would sit open houses, I would meet people who were looking, and they would tell me that I should list their houses. I would come back to the office with a $3 million listing and have to ask someone from the office to help me with the scanner since I had no clue how to use one.

Reinvention Deb's Den

Back To The Reinvention Drawing Board

I learned how to hustle and get things done quickly. In 2008 the market crashed, and I had to reinvent again. Because I didn’t have the means to ride it out, I had to look for another source of income. I was supporting three kids, and my paychecks were going toward their activities and all those unexpected expenses that come up with children. I got very little child support, so I made the big and difficult decision to switch schedules with their father and take a job in New York in the print procurement business. This is where I learned Business 101.

I started networking like crazy in New York. I reached out to the guy who had sold my ex and my life insurance policy back in 2000, which worked out for a while. But I had been referring business to him and his partner without knowing to ask for a referral fee. Once I finally learned I should be doing that and asked for a referral fee, they both said, “Get your license,” so I did.

I went to classes on the weekends and got my life insurance and life settlement license. By July 2011 I was selling life insurance full time, and by 2012 I was one of the top producers. Over the next two years, I became motivated by money and success, but this all brought up a new fear—financial fear. I discovered more about my fears around money and started going to business seminars and listening to anything that would help me feel secure.

In 2018 I started tossing around the idea of writing a book, but I thought, “I am too old. Who cares about a fifty-something has-been eighties and nineties actress and model?” But during the pandemic, I said, “Fuck it. I am fifty-six and just getting started!”

Reinvention

What My Reinventions Led To

My reinventions led me down several interesting paths. Today I write a blog post for my website once a week. I signed with two agents. I am back to auditioning. I worked on a film this past month. I am in meetings to do a documentary. I got asked to write a weekly blog for another person’s website. I have been interviewed for two articles about my success in the life insurance world. I am working on writing three books, one of which will be published May 2022. I have been a guest on more than fifty podcasts and now cohost a rock ’n’ roll podcast called Roger the Wild Child, where we have interviewed major rock ’n’ roll hall of Famers.

Since March 2020, not one person has told me, “You’re too old.” I have had the best support. My motto: “No means maybe!”

I am fifty-seven years young, and I have reinvented myself several times in the last seventeen years. Now I have come full circle and am back in the business I started in 1983. Only this time I am beyond grateful and enjoy every moment of it. Nothing is taken for granted. Before every podcast and audition, I say a prayer of gratitude.

Fifty-seven is just a number. I am aging gracefully. I am so blessed to have my health, my family, my creativity, my life—what a gift!

 

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