Hate Celebrating Your Birthday? Wait Until You Party In Your 50s Like Me And Victoria Beckham

victoria beckham 50th birthday party with the spice girls
The Power Of Partying In Your 50s Justin_Palmer - Getty Images

When David Beckham posted a clip of his wife, Victoria, singing along to 'Stop' with Emma, Geri and Mels B and C, it was the joyful, wholesome Sunday morning content every Spice Girl fan could have wished for. 'Most heartwarming thing I have seen all year,' was one of the 17,297 comments that summed up the national mood. 'The earth is healing,' was another.

If it was a special moment for diehard fans of The Spice Girls, it was an even more special moment for Victoria. But then, she was celebrating a very special birthday. All birthdays are special, of course, but there’s a particular joy and piquancy to a 50th. Maybe it’s because you’ve survived half a century, a phrase that makes you sound older than a rare 19th century urn. Maybe it’s because you can’t quite believe you’re still here, with all your own teeth and faculties. Or maybe it’s because you’ve finally reached the age where you realise that life truly is a gift, health should never be taken for granted and the most important thing in life is love.


victoria beckham 50th birthday party with the spice girls
Justin_Palmer - Getty Images

My own 50th birthday party didn’t involve an impromptu performance by The Spice Girls, but there was plenty of love in the room. Which is why, much as I dislike writing about anything involving my age, I wanted to write about it - because I almost didn’t celebrate it at all. And if reading this gives even one hesitant, reluctant reader the push they need to celebrate their own milestone birthday, it will have been worth it.

spice girls
Getty Images

At this point, I should probably explain that I hate throwing parties. Being the centre of attention gives me a giant ick that would doubtless require years of therapy to unpack. I was also a little conflicted about the big 5-0: not because I have issues with aging, but because I have issues with how society treats aging women. Journalism is as ageist a profession as any, and I was genuinely worried that the sight of two giant gold “50” foil balloons on my Instagram feed might stop my editors from asking me to write about clubs (which I still go to), or any other topic that didn’t involve hot flushes.

Still, I was determined to throw a 50th. It was a milestone, and besides, I’d let too many other ‘big birthdays’ pass without ceremony. What if fate dictated I’d never reach another? Okay, so that’s a bit morbid, but show me a 49-year-old who hasn’t had a similar thought - however fleetingly - and I’ll show you a person less truthful (or more optimistic) than me. And so - tremulously - I set about hatching my plan.

Since the best part of my nights out, as a teenager, were often the bit where you met at someone’s house, got ready together and had a few drinks, I decided to recreate that. But not in my house - too stressful. So I hired the Jacobean suite at Kettners, an epic space with wood-panelled walls, a freestanding copper bath, a banqueting table and a bed big enough for 20 (cost: £500). Catering-wise, I decided to keep things simple, boiling it down to my two favourite things, champagne and chips. I applied the same logic to my guest list: no friends who didn’t know anyone else, and no husbands or partners.

I can’t speak for the rest of my guests, but for me, my 50th was perfect. It was so much fun having “pre’s” (as my teenagers call them) in the comfort and grandeur of a fancy hotel bedroom, as opposed to a function suite or private bar. The bed felt strangely grounding to a partyphobe, there were plenty of places to sit, and no loo queues. What’s not to love?

I realise this makes me sound as though I was nearing my eighties rather than my fifties, but that wasn’t the only part of the night. As if. At 11pm, we walked round the corner to a karaoke club, Lucky Voice, to drink more and belt out all the usual chalk-down-a-blackboard classics. At 2am, the hardcore all came back to mine, where we danced round the suite to Frankie Knuckles - at a considerate volume, so as not to disturb the other guests.

The next morning, I woke up, ordered room service and had a fry-up in my giant bed. I’m so glad I did it all, because the love I felt lasted way beyond the duration of my party. I’ve clung to it, recalling it during tougher times when love has felt in scant supply. The older we become, the more we cherish and take solace from our memories. Which is why it’s so very important to make them.

If you’re approaching your 50th and not sure how or whether to mark it: do the thing. Even if it’s a tiny thing. Do it. Who cares if David Beckham won’t be filming you with dewy eyes. You are still loved. And your friends and family will love being given the opportunity to show it.

Following Laura on X here and Instagram here.

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