Barbara | Community Stories | Madison Community Discourse


“Well, right away I thought of the happiest moment of my life,  I thought of my daughters.  But actually, I was also thinking that I think I am extremely happy with where I am with my life.  I think that knowing that things don’t have to be perfect.  I feel like I have completed a career, 41 years in social work, and retired.

I am building my business, Mary’s Daughter, where I am paying bills for seniors and veterans. And my thing is being able to do it out of love and giving, versus out of a need to support myself.  I no longer have that as a priority because that’s been taken care of because I’ve been planful.  So there’s a sense of contentment. I’m an optimistic person to begin with, but it feels really really great right now. Waking up and having my day be my day, and enjoying and appreciating the ability to support other people and their goals. So I’m feeling very inspired and very happy.  I went to the gym today and worked out and even with some aches and pains, pushing through it, and being able to do what I need and want to do.

I feel like I’m at a good place to realize that happiness.  I’m 65, so still young enough to appreciate and see that there’s lots that I can be doing, but there’s no need to push. So people call that an encore entrepreneur or a retiree rebel, and all of us are bounding together to show people that you can do nothing and enjoy life and travel and all that, and that’s cool, or you can do some things that continue the work you started, but do it at your own pace and in your own way.  I mean, how freeing it that?  So, life is good.”


We are interviewing 200 people all over Madison to create a ‘portrait’ of happiness.  If you are interested in being interviewed, please email madisoncommunitydiscourse [at]

To see the full portrait, please visit our home page.

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