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My Over-50 Career Change

Dessous Office

Those of you who know me, know I’m a pretty open book. Want to know about my three rounds of in vitro? Just ask! Want the unvarnished truth about raising teenage girls? Stand behind me in line at Target and you’ll hear all about it! There’s one aspect of my life that’s sensitive to the touch, though, and that’s my career. The truth is, I often feel like a failure. My career trajectory looks interesting on paper. I have an art degree and a law degree. I practiced entertainment litigation at a firm in Los Angeles for a few years and hated it. After that, I was counsel at an internet company, then a TV and film producer. Now, I’m diving headfirst into the fashion industry. So, I’d say my “trajectory” has really been more of a meandering path.

I was pregnant with our first daughter when my husband’s career took off and mine fizzled. (So much for that internet company.) At the same time, my husband’s job moved us to San Francisco. Because his salary exceeded mine significantly by then, and the cost of daycare would have just canceled mine out, I decided to stay home with the baby for a few years. Since then we’ve had another baby, moved to Atlanta and, but for a couple years working in an advertising agency, I’ve been home with the kids full-time. 

I’ve managed to keep everyone alive, write a mildly popular blog, produce a documentary, do political volunteer work and pick up the odd production job here and there (my production assistant work on Nightmare Next Door, for example, was exemplary). While fulfilling, though, those things earned me a grand total of about a couple thousand dollars. I know that shouldn’t matter, but I just can’t shake the feeling that I need a “real” career and an income of my own to be successful.

When COVID hit and it sunk in that the girls will both be out of the house in five years (!!), I decided that–at the ripe old age of 52–it was now or never for me to start the caftan company I’d long dreamed of. Crazy? Maybe a little. I mean, I have friends planning to retire soon and here I am just getting my start-up off the ground. But even though Dessous hasn’t made a dime yet, I know I’ve already accomplished something few people even try. I’m starting over in my 50s in an industry that’s completely new to me, and it’s terrifying…but it’s also pretty f@#*ing exciting! 

Have you reinvented yourself later in life? Is there a person who accomplished great things at an older age who inspires you? I’d love to hear about it. 

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