Katherine Forster

Starting again at 48

<p class="p1">We assume no one over 40 starts at the bottom. I’m giving it a go</p>

My name is Katherine and I’m an intern at The Spectator. What does that say about me? If you had to guess, you’d probably assume I was just finishing university and that I’m perhaps the niece or goddaughter of someone important. Because that’s how the media works, isn’t it? That I’m probably unpaid, but it doesn’t matter because my parents will sort me out — that’s if they didn’t buy this internship for me in a charity auction in the first place. And to be honest, that’s exactly how I imagined interns, too. Yet here I am, a 48-year-old mother of three.

I felt embarrassed telling my husband I was applying for this scheme, suspecting he might think l had taken leave of my senses. When I was successful, and told one friend, he spluttered ‘YOU?’ in astonishment, before quickly recovering his composure. My other friends were surprised too, but delighted for me nonetheless.

Yes, taking an internship at my age is unusual. But not, I like to think, entirely illogical. For 15 years I’ve been subsumed by my children. I didn’t earn enough to cover the childcare — but in any case I wanted to look after them. I don’t regret a day of it: my three boys are growing up fast and I’m lucky to have been there for all of their milestones.

Now, though, they are getting older and I’m once more thinking about my own life. What do I want? Well, it seems what I really want is the writing career I never had. I nearly went into journalism after my English degree, aged 21. Why not now? Donald Trump has changed career at 70 (more’s the pity) and David Attenborough is still working at 90. Soon we’ll all be working into our seventies.

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