What's Your Definition of Happiness at Midlife? - Elegantly Dressed and Stylish -Fashion Over 50
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What’s Your Definition of Happiness at Midlife?

Hello friends,

Yes, it seems today I am getting a bit philosophical. I often think about what makes people happy, and what has made myself happy over the years. Has it changed since my 20s? Do I have a different perspective on what makes me happy , now that I am older?

**Wiki “In philosophy, happiness translates the Greek concept of eudaimonia, and refers to the good life, or flourishing, rather than simply an emotion.”In psychology, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.[1] Happy mental states may reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being.[2]” *credit wiki 

I think about it as a choice. One chooses to be happy. I could certainly wake up, complain about what muscles hurt me today, how tired I am of dealing with this disease. Believe me, no one can be 100% positive all of the time, or happy all of the time. I choose to wake up and think about what I will accomplish for the day, as well as for what I am grateful.

I also know we don’t have control over many things in life, but our own happiness is something we have control over. I’m just thinking about some of the things that make me happy now at midlife. I’d love to hear your thoughts! On a surface level, you all know fashion makes me happy. It is not the material item itself, but rather how it makes me feel.  Money itself doesn’t bring happiness, but rather a means for experiences which can make us happy.

I know when I was younger, happiness was about doing well in college, as I went to the Duquesne University School of Music. I would play bass in a band, and really enjoyed making music with my friends. Happiness later became working as a Music teacher. For me, I always felt in my element, and really enjoyed seeing the children advance, learn more about how to create music, improvise and write music. I was quite happy at my job, even though at the time I was overworked teaching music, PE and Math. As Music was diminished and of less importance in schools, I decided I could make the nearly the same salary teaching guitar and piano at home. This became my happiness, and quite fulfilling.

However, as time went on, I really started to think about what was most important to me in life. I always felt I gave over 110% at my job and yet, the appreciation of music was just not there. As I got older, I would listen to my mom say, Family is most important. Family is what makes me happy. I truly do feel this now at my life, as people around me are what bring me joy, and more happiness. Do you think about what makes you happy?

  1. Family. This really is my number one as far as happiness. I met a wonderful man, and where someone else may have given up, walked away or not handled my chronic illness in a lovely and caring way, he has. My immediate family is very close. I miss my Dad ( its only been a bit over a year) but we can share and confide in things with each other.
  2. Puppies: My pups are like my kids. I don’t have children ( hubby and I met later in life) but I love these guys with all of my heart. They show such love, are so fun, and make me laugh! I have always been a dog lover and continue to walk up to strangers to pet there pups! They are calming and so joyous to be around.
  3. Experiences: Being able to have a flexible schedule, we are able to enjoy ourselves going out several days a week, and will travel each year, making memories. Experiences for me hold a greater value than material items. We had wanted to go to Europe years ago, but my EDS got in the way. Today, my pain is more well managed, so we plan on seeing other countries and cultures.
  4. Myself: I wrote about Confidence at Midlife, in another post, and it has taken me years to feel happy and confident with myself. Younger years were spent with some insecurity and dissatisfaction with myself. Today I feel happy with the person I am, and try to be.
  5. The Little things in Life: I appreciate and can be happy over the “little things in life”. I love a relaxing bubble bath while listening to music. Being outdoors with the sun shining makes me happy.

What is your definition of Happiness at Midlife? Has it changed throughout the years?

Id love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend!

Jess xo



  • Joi @INMYJOI
    Posted at 23:06h, 06 July Reply

    Excellent post Jess!!! I am in my mid 30’s, and I totally agree that the definition of happiness changes as you develop wisdom from life experiences. I enjoy living in the moment, traveling, trying new things, and learning at an entirely different level than I did in my 20s. I’ve learned firsthand that “happiness is a journey, not a destination”- like we may have been taught to believe…


    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:01h, 07 July Reply

      Thank you Joi! We are hoping to do more traveling as my condition is more under control and I would love to see Europe among other places. So true, it really is important to live in the moment. xx

  • Jennie
    Posted at 14:35h, 06 July Reply

    A very thought provoking post, Jess. Funny, but all of the things on your list are on mine, as well. I know as I have grown older I have certainly developed a greater sense of self and being happy more independently than I ever was while younger.

    Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!

    A Pocketful of Polka Dots

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:03h, 07 July Reply

      Thank you Jennie! I am glad to hear your perspective as well. Self-love or happiness sometimes seems to come later in life as I found, as we have to love who we are !xx

  • Anna
    Posted at 22:01h, 02 July Reply

    Certainly different people approach this subject differently but overall good health, family, reliable friends and being able to do what you like are probably the key attributes for all of us

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:43h, 03 July Reply

      Thank you Anna for your input. Yes, I do think these are common areas. I enjoy seeing what brings people happiness and I know I don’t take the little things for granted anymore. xx

  • Jodie
    Posted at 21:58h, 02 July Reply

    I agree with you so much Jess!! We don’t have as much control over our lives as we think, but being happy can be part of our life no matter what!! As a PollyAnna—I do think it all depends on our perspective!!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:41h, 03 July Reply

      Haha! You made me laugh as my mom thinks I think of her as a Polyanna! ( not true) . Yes, I know no one can be happy 100% of the time, but it is something you have control over, a choice! xx

  • Amy Christensen
    Posted at 20:57h, 01 July Reply

    Jess, I think you hit on a few very important points….family and gratitude. I know some people do not have close relationships with their family but I am very thankful that I do and that my hubby and I have passed that priority on to our daughters. Gratitude really helps me to remember where my blessings are coming from and to whom I can be thankful. Gratitude chases away sadness, anxiety and anger. These are good things to think about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you have a great 4th! – AMy

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:56h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you Amy, glad you enjoyed the post. I know the little things in life are what I appreciate, and family is the most important thing in my life that makes me happy. I know what you mean about families that aren’t close and I am grateful that all of us are as well. Thank you Amy for your insight as well. Yes, enjoy your weekend! 🙂 xx

  • Celia M.
    Posted at 08:27h, 01 July Reply

    Jess, wonderful post! Life and our happiness is an ever revolving door … lately I’ve been challenged to really look and identify what makes me happy at this point in my life… your post has inspired me to really look inside and reflect. Wishing you a wonderful weekend <3

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:58h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you Celia! Yes, I do think happiness as I mentioned has changed over the years and as I get older appreciating smaller things is so important as well. So glad you enjoyed the post! Happy 4th weekend to you too! xx

  • Mica
    Posted at 03:55h, 01 July Reply

    While I amn’t in midlife yet I do agree with many of the things that make you happy – the simple pleasures in life are what makes me happiest and getting to spend time with my boys (fluffy and non-fluffy!) always makes me happy, and I think it will do so once I hit mid-life too!

    Hope you are having a wonderful start to the weekend!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:00h, 02 July Reply

      Thank you Mica, so true! I know I am very happy being surrounded by my pups and family! I do appreciate simple pleasures more and not take them for granted.
      Enjoy your weekend as well! xx

  • Samantha Blair
    Posted at 15:08h, 30 June Reply

    There must be something in the air Jess!
    I was getting all philosophical recently too… about self esteem though.
    Happiness for me is being content with what you have and appreciating the little things, like sitting in the garden on a sunny morning with a good cup of coffee.
    The small things are the best.

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 15:36h, 30 June Reply

      So true Sam! I appreciate those little things in life too! Yes, being happy with what you have without always looking for more, is happiness to me. Yes, something in the air! 🙂 xx

  • Rosemary Davis
    Posted at 09:24h, 30 June Reply

    Jess, This is wonderfully written. Very thoughtful and insightful. My experience has been that happiness comes from gratitude. The more I am grateful, the happier I become. You done a wonderful job here of outlining a process of taking stock of all things in our lives. The big and small…the present, past and future. One of my personal mantras is “Energy flows where attention goes”. Thank you for providing a perfect example of positive attention. xox rd @dss

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:27h, 30 June Reply

      Hello Rosemary! Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed my post today. So true about gratitude. As I miss my Dad, I find that I am so grateful for the close-knit family i do have. Love your mantra! xx

  • sharonduerst
    Posted at 09:24h, 30 June Reply

    Happiness is a surprise! After many years of yearning and restless discontent with myself, the state of the economy and all sorts of other uncontrollable and sometimes scary situations, now years beyond 50, I am happy! I’m happy to be living every day as an adventure!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:29h, 30 June Reply

      Hi Sharon> So glad to hear. I understand this, things out of our control can sometimes wear us down, give a feeling of hopelessness. As I am getting older, I feel I have a different perspective on things and appreciating life! xx

  • Nina from Sharing A Journey
    Posted at 09:23h, 30 June Reply

    I love your post today! I was invited to an empty nesters group and was saddened to see how difficult many of the group member’s lives are now that their kids have left home.

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:31h, 30 June Reply

      Oh, that is sad to hear! It can be difficult making the adjustment I imagine as kids leave home and a new identity, in some respect, is created. Glad you enjoyed the post, Nina! xx

  • Nancy
    Posted at 06:42h, 30 June Reply

    Oh yes. The fact that I am feeling more and more confidant!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:16h, 30 June Reply

      That is great Nancy! I know what you mean. When I was in my late teens/early 20s, my confidence was lacking. Now, I am happier in my own skin as well. xx

  • Martina Elegant40
    Posted at 04:13h, 30 June Reply

    What a nice article! Very well written. I think we share the valuse that make us happy except no. 2 is my child.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:15h, 30 June Reply

      Thank you Martini! So glad you enjoyed reading it and enjoy similar modes of happiness! That is wonderful! xx

  • marissa
    Posted at 04:05h, 30 June Reply


    I’m not at my mid-life quite yet but I really agree with your words. As I grow I feel my desires and expectations shifting to define what happiness means to me! (one of those things is my puppy too 😉 )

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 09:01h, 30 June Reply

      Hi Marissa, thank you! I saw pictures of your puppy on your blog, how beautiful! I have felt that getting older has put things in better perspective for me in regards to what truly makes me happy. So glad you enjoyed the post. xx

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