Adam Gordon Sachs – Author and Midlife Dude
In 2017, at the age of 54, I received a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling after a five-and-a-half-year graduate program and two nine-month internships, and made the transition to being a full-time therapist. I counsel children, teens, adults and couples. I combined the midlife career change with a change of scenery, moving from the Washington-Baltimore area to Charleston, SC.
I had previous careers of more than a decade each in journalism and public relations. During those years, I always wondered whether I could write a book. Like many who think they may have a novel in them, I put it off, and put it off, leaving the project for a nebulous “someday” that I knew may never come…unless I could motivate enough to actually start. During a Christmas break from work in 2011, I finally did that, laboriously penning a few paragraphs about a rookie sportswriter in backwater Florida who goes head-to-head with the powerful, revered football coach of the dynastic high school team. More than three years of writing and editing later, Sirenian Publishing published my first novel. I kept on writing.
Sirenian Publishing has published three of my books between 2015 and 2018. The latest is All That’s Gone and Still Remains: Reflections of a Man at Midlife. (Amazon: https://amzn.to/2qcgQPg)
Midlife gets a bad rap. What else can you think when “midlife” is practically married to “crisis?” But are they really well matched?
Far from the stereotypical image of the balding man who dumps his graying wife for the younger blonde bombshell, midlife is a time of re-evaluation and re-imagination. Midlife requires acceptance, leaps of faith and tolerance of uncertainty. Midlife calls us to make tough choices, the biggest of which is whether we will transition toward a life with new possibilities and purpose, or hunker down, circle the wagons and hang on mightily to the status quo, resigned to becoming a member of the Weekend at Bernie’s walking dead army.
The 81 midlife-themed essays in All That’s Gone capture the opportunities and challenges, hopes and fears, risks and rewards, and triumphs and setbacks of midlife, covering career, parenting, marriage, divorce, finances, meaning, change, choice, death, health, addiction and other encounters in the second half.
Sirenian Publishing published my narrative nonfiction book, Don’t Knock, He’s Dead: A Longshot Candidate Gets Schooled in the Unseemly Underbelly of American Campaign Politics in 2016 (Amazon: http://amzn.to/2az9j4O) about my exhilarating and disillusioning 2014 campaign for Maryland state delegate in the dog-eat-dog, corrupt, narcissistic world of politics.
Don’t Knock, He’s Dead tells the unvarnished story of an Everyman’s challenge to break into a Byzantine, sycophantic business of politics, where cozy relationships, cronyism, influence, backroom deals, power plays and horse-trading rule the day.
For anyone who’s wondered whether it’s worthwhile to run, imagined what it’s like or stepped to the precipice of candidacy, Don’t Knock takes you into the trenches.
In 2015, Sirenian published my debut novel, Three Yards and a Plate of Mullet (Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cYG5vP), about a young sportswriter covering an intense season of Florida high school football and uncovering a conspiracy masterminded by the dominant coach in town.
The novel is homage to my best job ever, my first job out of college, when I somehow found my way to a Gulf Coast city in Florida to be a sportswriter. It was the time of my life, but I didn’t fully realize it then. My experiences there provided the foundation for the novel.
I had more good years in journalism, covering news in suburban Baltimore for The Baltimore Sun. But it was also there that I experienced my first encounter with the callousness of corporate America. I eventually jumped to public relations, like many journalists who seek another career path where their skills have value. I have worked for several nonprofits in health care, social services and education. I have been knocked out of jobs several times in downsizings.
After one layoff, I tried something new. I was accepted into a teaching residency program for a large urban school system. Despite best intentions, I didn’t last long in the jungles of city schools and faced with an all-in or out decision, fled back to the cushier world of PR and soon after ran for public office for the first time in 2006.
I was married at 30 to a college girlfriend, had a girl and boy by 35, and divorced at 42. I’m now 55, with a 22-year-old college-graduate daughter who took off to teach in France after college, and 20-year-old son majoring in computer science. I’m more aware of my mortality, feeling the squeeze financially, and wanting to make the most of my healthy and productive years. Time no longer seems infinite.
I plan to write here about the challenges, joys, heartaches, thoughts, observations and adventures of a man at midlife.