Being in your 50s suddenly seems a lot cooler. Here's why.

In the early 2000s, when I first started watching (and loving) Sex and the City, I was 21, a new graduate and about to embark on an adventure overseas. I saw Carrie and her peers living their best lives a decade ahead of me and I felt excited for the years yet to come. I had considered the 30s to be a boring decade of child-rearing and drudgery, but these women made it look sexy, fun and high fashion. 

In actuality, I did not spend my 30s in trendy bars wearing Manolo Blahnik heels, rather I was trying to get pregnant, failing, and then raising small kids. But hey, it wasn't as boring as I thought it might be back when I was 21, and I am glad SATC made me feel excited about the possibility of what was ahead, instead of petrified.

Now I am in my mid-40s and I am watching the same women (okay, some of the same women) make me feel differently about my 50s.

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Video via HBO.

I don't plan to be divorced, widowed or confused about my sexuality after 50, but I like that there is STILL a sense of possibility, realness and surprise in the storylines for these midlife characters. Alongside the great sex, unreal outfits, solid friendships and trendy bars of course.


There has been a lot of criticism about And Just Like That and I too have rolled my eyes at moments that missed the mark, but mostly I have been glued to the screen, soaking it all up. 

I enjoy seeing women in their 50s on my TV - some with wrinkles and some without - who overwhelmingly have it together but also don't. The moments of vulnerability, embarrassment and cringe make their lives feel just relatable enough while remaining aspirational. 

And it's not just the AJLT women who are making the sixth decade look good. 

Where once it was shameful to be grey-haired, divorced and menopausal - now it is not only acceptable but on-trend. Women like Drew Barrymore are talking about hot flashes on TV and being adored, not pitied for it. 

Jennifer Coolidge is having the best success of her career in her late 50s and early 60s. Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh are all being cast in interesting roles and winning awards.

Jenna Lyons, the newest and clearly most interesting cast member of The Real Housewives of New York is a smart and sexy 55-year-old fashion icon. The internet is swooning over her style, career journey, shoe closet and no-bullshit vibe. 

However you feel about the likes of Gwyneth, J Lo, Nicole Kidman and Kate Beckinsale showcasing their ripped abs after 50, the fact there is so much commentary around them and their bodies, shows the increased interest in midlife women which was absent just a few years ago.  


While the objectification of women over 50 is not necessarily something to celebrate, I enjoy seeing a diverse range of what it means to be a midlife woman today. I know I won't look like J Lo or Kate Beckinsale on my 50th birthday, but I didn't look like them at 21 or 30 either. They and their good-looking privileged contemporaries represent one end of the ageing spectrum I hope opens the door to many more.

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There are not only female celebrities and fictional TV shows that showcase and celebrate women over 50, but advocates for ageing inclusivity and campaigns like the 'I look my age' campaign for Ageism is Never in Style. There has been a plethora of books published recently about ageing and the menopause, as well as podcasts, social media accounts and hashtags devoted to grey hair, midlife and what it means to be a woman over 50.

In 2023, women over 50 are more visible than ever. 

Not only that, but they are cool. Women in their 50s are having a moment thanks to the Gen Xers who do not want to go quietly into the over-50s community and take up knitting (although if they did, it would be cool). 

There has been a cultural shift on how we see and think about women after 50 and rather than focussing on what still needs to be done in the ageing space, I am realising just how far we have come.


Maybe it is because my husband has just turned 50 and I can see what is ahead of me, but the 50s don't seem as scary as they once did. 

I might be feeling overly optimistic and avoiding the realities of ailing health, ageing parents and teenage kids BUT the 50s to me are slowly representing a renaissance period. A 'second spring'. 


I have felt until relatively recently that I needed to hurry and tick off some career moments before I enter my 50s but now I have some hope that maybe that's not the case. What men have been doing FOREVER and reaching their peak power in their 50s might still be an option for me - and all of us women too.

Societal attitudes towards ageing are far from perfect and the Millennial and Gen Z women will eventually come along and iron out the creases. But what once was a decade destined for invisibility and knitting or power suits, helmet hair and feeling bad about our necks is - thanks to Gen X - suddenly so much more.

I look ahead to my 50s and see freedom opening up as my kids get older and need me less. I see the other side of perimenopause. I see better income and (hopefully) more respect. I see grey hair and wrinkles but also great outfits, sex and hopefully a lot fewer f**ks to give about what other people think.

I look to the Gen X celebrities in their 50s and know that while their version of my next decade is - much like my thirties - unlikely, it still gives me enough hope to think that what is to come isn't all that bad either. 

In fact, it looks pretty fabulous.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Lifestyle Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Instagram/ Canva.

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