What Really Goes into Life over 50 that Works:
How Various Women Are Living Purposeful Lives
Last month we gave you an exercise to determine what is really important to you. This month, I’m sharing examples of friends of mine, all over 50, who are living truly purposeful lives. I hope you are inspired by the women below, and especially see that some are working full time well into their 60s and beyond, some are focusing on making volunteer contributions, yet all of them are living life from the inside out — following their hearts and giving their best to the world.
Judy has been doing accounting in one form or another her entire adult life (teaching it, working for companies, etc.). Now in her early 60s, she is still doing some accounting, for various clients, but she has developed a true calling in supporting people in the music business and the arts. She attended the University of North Texas and was very drawn to its well-known music school while there. Now she is on the Board of the Dallas Jazz Piano Society (DJPS); makes a concerted effort to go see her musician friends when they play around town; is on the UNT College of Music Advancement Board; is on the Board of the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico; helped build a partnership between Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet school and the DJPS to enable an under-served West Dallas middle school without a music program to have group private instruction; and she helps with bookings for DJPS rising stars of jazz and the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. All of this provides the energy she needs to maintain the more mundane activities in her life. And she spends as much time with her family and grandchildren as possible!
Gail McDonald and Marilyn Bushey
This duo spent many years in the field of Executive Coaching helping thousands of leaders make significant improvements in their ability to lead, build relationships, deliver results and enhance their sense of self-fulfillment. They realized that retirement was looming ahead for them and for many of their clients. They spent two years researching and interviewing clients and friends about how they were going to move into that stage of life. The result is an amazing book, Retirement Your Way, which outlines a No Stress Roadmap for Designing your next life chapters. Of all the books I have seen available on this subject, not one is a match for this simple yet thorough walk through what can be a very difficult journey for most people. They took their skills as coaches and gave a life-altering solution to millions. And, as they enter their 70s, they are still coaching and inspiring clients!
Dr. Laura Kopec
Dr, Kopec is a Naturopath dedicated to inspiring change and transformation in the lives of women and children everywhere. She is dedicated to the education, health and wellness of women of all walks of life. She is also founder of Women4Wellness Health and Wellness Centers which currently hosts a variety of events from wellness retreats, women’s wellness book club, women’s meet up, mom’s support group and a variety of events. Visit her website, www.women4wellnesscenter.com, for more info. Laura is author of Let’s Get Real About Eating: A Practical Guide to Nutrition and Health, My Kid’s a Picky Eater: 12 Secrets to Changing your Child’s Eating Habits and The Linked Diet: Connecting Mindset. Digestive Health and Weight Loss for Your Best Self. She is the creator of Kopec Naturals Skincare which can be found online or in Dallas-area Whole Foods Markets. She is a lover of great food, an avid reader, a lifelong learner and a triathlete.
Anne ran an automobile leasing company in her 50s, all the while maintaining a major role in supporting non-profit organizations in the Dallas area. After closing her business in 2006, she “upped the ante” by chairing the Centennial Celebration for YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas, then in 2011 took on the challenge of becoming Executive Director of The Wilkinson Center, whose mission is to transform the lives of Dallas families by providing pathways to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect. They fulfill that mission by helping families face critical life challenges including food insecurity, lack of education, economic instability, unemployment and underemployment. Their formula for success is case management, compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers and effective individualized programming. All of their programs are provided free of charge. Anne has significantly raised community awareness about this valuable organization; grown their funding exponentially and expanded the involvement of millennials in supporting their cause.
Toni is well-known in the tech world as a CEO who builds companies that imagine possibilities and execute with excellence. Having run several tech companies that she helped sell, this year she decided to take on the challenge of building one herself! She is co-founder and CEO of Walkabout Workplace, a digital workplace making presence possible for remote workers. As this industry continues to expand the remote worker concept, she realized there were two things missing: Place and Presence. Walkabout enables workers to “land” in a digital office environment, check in with co-workers and maintain a sense of collaboration even when thousands of miles apart. The virtual office is no longer just an idea, employees have an actual visible space where people can knock on their door, leave messages and share screens to co-work. As usual, Toni, who calls herself a Possibilitarian, is on the leading edge of solving a problem that wasn’t being addressed by multinational corporations.
Karen started her career as a photographer and built a successful business with clients who came to her every year for family portraits and head shots along with weddings and major life events. And she loved what she did. When, in her late 40s, the Dallas Opera gave her an opportunity to photograph Carmen, she had to borrow a digital camera to do it and was out of her comfort zone. She knew this was her way to transition into digital, because traditional film photography was becoming obsolete. She also realized this was her opportunity to have music, arts, travel and foreign language — all the things that she loved — in her life while being paid to practice her art. Sixteen years later she is at the height of her second career. She is shooting theater and opera all over the country and is a regular photographer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the largest opera company in the world. She believes that art can change lives and that opera and theater are the most compelling art forms — combining story telling and music to engage the heart. She sees art as not only entertainment, but also as a vehicle for healing our society.
Once you have determined what energizes and inspires you, I hope you take inspiration from these women living purposeful lives and think about taking a leap into an even more meaningful and purposeful life for yourself!