I've spent the last 40 years of my life becoming an Indiana Jones of the soul. I was on a quest - everywhere from Peru and India to Bali - to discover who I was and the secrets to living a fulfilled, happy, and successful life.
Today I work as an energy healer and dream maker with some of the richest and famous in Manhattan, but in 2004, I made a media splash-more like a tidal wave-of my own.
To my surprise, I became the second biggest story in the fall of that year by having my miracle twins (thanks to both spirituality and science!) at the age of 57. The babies inspired my 2005 book, Life Shift - which is about how to handle the times when...shift happens.
After the twins' birth, I was interviewed by some of the most influential journalists of our time - including Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric.
Everyone asked: Why did I wait so long?
What I could have said on TV was: Why not? (I'm more blunt in real life.)
Believe me, it's great if you find the perfect guy at age 26, get married and have your first child at 28. Lucky you.
Then again, who's to really say when it's too late - or too early- to have a baby? Jamie Lynn Spears, who just had a baby at 17, and me, who had twins at 57, become controversial because we've had babies at ages very at odds with the "ideal" time for motherhood.
But you know what? It's not about the baby. (Babies in my case.)
It's about recognizing that life can be extraordinary and magical when it's most challenging- even in the middle of a $700 billion federal bailout or when you bring two infants home for the first time at my age. There's beauty and opportunity in chaos and perceived imperfection.
Focus on what you want - not on your recent failed relationship or marriage, not on the money you just lost in the stock market, not on the terrifying thought that Sarah Palin could actually be president.
My own path went from being the lead actress in an Amsterdam production of Hair to studying karmic cleansing in the ancient temples of South India, to surviving Dead Woman's Pass in the mountains of Peru, to swimming with the Pink Dolphins off the northern coast of Bali. All in the name of adventure, personal growth, and spiritual enlightenment.
Then I had the twins. A lot of women would roll their eyes at the idea of having children so late in life. My dream could be your nightmare. That's OK.
I understand the disses. Just consider we all may have a timetable than we alone must follow. My kids just showed up later than most do.
I always knew I'd have children. My grandmother gave birth to twins at 54. I never felt rushed. And then, like a lot of women who wait, I found it wasn't easy to get pregnant.
A lot of people, especially my friends, were overjoyed for me when I became a mother. They knew what I went through (healing trips to Peru and through the fertility temples of India etc.,) to have my babies.
But a few were critical. Becoming a mother at my age? Wasn't that selfish? What about the kids? Who wants an "old" mother"?
I understand that point of view - but check out my website (www.aletastjames.com) and tell me how "old" I look. As they say, this is what 60 looks like today!
Who's to say it was all my idea, anyway? If you want to get cosmic, maybe my twins were the ones with the plan and I'm just fulfilling their destiny - and mine at the same time.
Here's the key - figure out your dream and make it happen while mastering a strategy to keep the dark clouds of life, the naysayers and your own self-doubt at bay.
I never imagined when I was belting out the "Age of Aquarius" at age 22 onstage in Amsterdam where I would be at 60 --barreling up 57th Street in New York City every morning, maneuvering a double stroller through a sea of people on my way to nursery school.
My clients await me at my healing studio at 9:00 AM. But my day usually starts when I get up at 5 a.m. to rehearse for my new series of healing concerts. I sometimes manage at least an hour before the twins attack.
Yes, I'm back on stage, while still enjoying my day job as much as ever.
Life is magical and mysterious. It's a wild ride. I love every second of it but I couldn't do it without everything I learned - and now share with my friends and clients - from my "Indiana" days.
To thine own self be true - even if it's less than ideal. And don't forget your whip.