When Canadian Peggy Edwards and her co-authors sat down to write The Juggling Act: The Healthy Boomer’s Guide to Achieving Balance in Midlife (McClelland & Stewart), they launched The Healthy Boomer Midlife Survey to help them get the lay of the land. Results showed respondents struggling to achieve a sense of life balance but counting their blessings.
The survey was based on 500 questionnaires sent to men and women born between 1946 and 1964. The survey included detailed questions about relationships, work, income, lifestyle and appearance, retirement, spirituality, and dying. The questions were followed up with telephone interviews. Most of the respondents came from middle-income backgrounds and had at least a high school education.
When asked, "Now that you are in midlife, what gives you the most joy in life?" respondents gave the following top six answers:
1. Loving relationships: spending time with my partner and other family members.
2. Being part of the growth and development of my children and grandchildren.
3. Interacting and laughing with friends and pets.
4. Enjoying the simple things of life: reading in bed in a flannel nightie, going to the beach, watching the sun go down, enjoying martinis, taking time to enjoy sewing, meditating, travel, adventures.
5.Mastery and growth: using my talents, getting things done, accomplishing things at work, learning new things.
6. Helping others, volunteering and making a difference in others’ lives.