Dolly's blog: Facing 50

clock Released On 21 March 2023

Dolly's blog: Facing 50

I went to a friend’s very glamorous 50th birthday party last weekend and thought, “God I’m old”. 

“Tell me you’re not going to wear your Bush Dress” said my teenage daughter, this being the children’s name for the trusty 10-year-old floral number that has served me well.  Of course, the Bush Dress was precisely what I was intending to wear.  Wounded and desperate, I made the fatal error of trying on a pair of trousers purchased in my 20s.  Madness.  Never do that.  

In further humiliations, en route to the 50th birthday party a nice young man offered me his seat on the tube.  Utterly mortifying.  AND, it dredged up a suppressed memory that the same thing happened before Christmas. Twice is a pattern. Decrepitude beckons. 

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had tweakments?  Maybe I should?!  As one 50-something I chatted to at the party shouted over the music (both of us battling our failing hearing), “I hit 50 and it’s like stuff suddenly stopped working”. Eh? "I SAID... STUFF STOPPED WORKING!".  Gulp. 

Contemplating my descent towards retirement has been something of a shock to the system. Ok, it’s not imminent, but it’s sort of visible on the horizon, and a review of my pension plans and never-greater mortgage was sobering.  Also, I've got a nagging feeling I haven't actually found my true vocation yet, whatever on earth that is. Tick tock...

The generational gap at work is also now apparent.  Several in my team have parents my age or younger and I’m not sure how I (or they) feel about that.  We are bonded through our mutual adoration of Taylor Swift and I don't think I've seen conscious age discrimination at my firm, but across the workforce there’s a well-trodden path of women in their 50s suddenly no longer being in post.  Maybe that’s not age related, but a nagging voice says “What if it is?  How long have you got…?!  And how will you afford new trousers?”  

I comfort myself knowing there’s an indisputable wisdom and perspective that come from having worked at a law firm for 25 years.  Survive that and you can survive most things.  I know I have value. But how long have I got the stamina to carry on giving body and soul to work?  How many IT upgrades and vision statements can any human endure?  

Maybe I just need to channel Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar speech:  “Ladies, don’t ever let anyone tell you you are ever past your prime.  Never give up!”

But maybe the real point I’m increasingly conscious of is that this life is my life and there’s no dress rehearsal.  So frankly I’d better bloody well make the most of it and appreciate it for what it is.  Which is pretty good in fairness.  And for the record, I like having a favourite mug, I’m ok with saying “oof” when I sit down, and I like my Bush Dress. 


After 19 years of fee earning, Dolly now works in a management role in a London law firm. Working four days a week she is supported by a wonderful (though often absent) husband as they attempt to bring up three children aged 16, 14, and 12. A lockdown puppy adds to the chaos but keeps her sane.


No Comments

Add Comment


We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our website. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Please read our cookie policy to find out more.