“How Do I Find Happiness?” A Guide for Midlife Women

Posted by on Fri, Jul 31, 2015

How do I find happiness?

Where do happiness and fulfillment come from for each one of us?  How do we bring our dreams to life? These questions are at the heart of three interviews that aired on the Women’s Forum website, an online community where women gather to share their thoughts, advice, and encouragement with one another. Three influential women (and Life Reimagined thought leaders) in the fields of education, finance, and life coaching took a shot at answering these questions in a series of videos that you can visit and share, while providing us with valuable insights from their respective fields.

[What’s your next career? Take a fun quiz to find out.]

Explore your learning possibilities

In her video interview on the life benefits of continuing education, Sophie Vlessing asks us what we would choose to do if we took fear off the table and there was no more, “would have, could have, should have.” If going back to school is the next step we need to take to reach our goals, “Age should not be a limiting factor at all,” Vlessing says. As a Senior Vice President, Strategy and Innovation, Kaplan Higher and Professional Education, Vlessing experiences first-hand how going to school online opens up access to education that many people have never had before, particularly adults who need to continue working and juggling life’s many responsibilities. “I think that the diversity of age makes it even more interesting to be in these online classrooms where you have different people coming in with different levels of experience and with different perspectives,” Vlessing says. One of her favorite experiences at Kaplan is attending the graduation ceremonies where students in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s receive their diplomas because she gets to see, “their children and grandchildren beaming with pride because they know these people have worked very hard and their dreams are coming true.”

[Is online education right for you? Find out what it’s like to go to class online.]

Take control of your finances

Money may not buy happiness, but when you use it thoughtfully, it can help you turn your goals into realities.  For Jean Chatzky, a financial ambassador at AARP, finding financial advisors who will focus holistically on your entire picture, and not just on your investments, is a key point. “If you’re intimidated by a financial advisor, you’re talking to the wrong advisor,” Chatzky says in her video interview on finance and happiness. She recommends finding someone who will, “make you feel welcome in the conversation and ask you about you and your goals.”  During her interview, Chatzky covers the following points:

  • Why you shouldn’t quit your job while exploring the next phase in your life
  • What you can accomplish by creating an exploration fund
  • Why you should remember the joyful times you’ve had

Chatzky firmly believes that people get more enjoyment out of spending money on experiences than they do on acquiring things, and following her financial philosophy will encourage you to consider your goals within this framework.

[Take control of your finances with a free course on developing a personal financial plan.]

Connect the dots

What if you’re not yet sure what your dreams or goals are? Psychiatrist and life coach Dr. Janet Taylor has you covered. Taylor shares with us the tools and tips available at Life Reimagined, an online resource you can utilize “to make your life as big and grand as you’ve ever imagined.”  “It’s not about how old you are,” Taylor points out in her video interview on finding fulfillment, “we have a lot of time left,” she says, “But what do you want to do to maximize your time?”  The creators of Life Reimagined designed the site with this question in mind, confident that we each have the answer inside of us. Their online and offline tools include life mapping and mindfulness exercises, and the site shares insights from many top experts in their fields on subjects ranging from careers to networking to personal development. Taking the time to realize what’s been important to each of us in our lives, Taylor feels, is key to helping us envision our future.

If you find yourself asking “What’s next in my life?” know that you’re not alone. There are many useful resources for education, finances, and self-assessment to help you identify your goals and take steps to achieve them. Consider the advice these notable women share with us and begin your journey by thinking about the things that have brought you joy. Your answers will help determine the path you need to take.




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