“Happy App” Co-author Bonnie Michaels Happily ~Walks the Walk, Talks the Talk~ and Shares Her Experiences with Taming Work-Life Challenges

by Anne Holmes on April 15, 2014

Bonnie Michaels

A happy — actually delighted — NABBW welcome to new member Bonnie Michaels, who both an author and president of Managing Work & Family, Inc, a work-life consulting and training firm.

Bonnie is a frequent public speaker. Her programs, which she has delivered worldwide, combine first hand knowledge, practical ideas and inspiration for her presentations.

As an expert in the field of work-life, as well as a trained actress, Bonnie is a regular contributor to radio, TV and print stories. In addition, she has co-authored three books, Solving the Work/Family Puzzle, written with Elizabeth McCarty; A Journey of Work-Life Renewal, the Power to Recharge & Rekindle the Passion in Life. written with Michael Seef; and UPSIDE: How to Zig When Life Zags, written with Allison Blankenship.  

But Bonnie is not just one who talks about work-life balance. She’s lived it firsthand.
  • As an example, in 2000 she took a year-long renewal journey volunteering, studying Flamenco and experiencing alternative lifestyles.  This life-changing journey greatly influenced her current and more sustainable lifestyle on which she writes and speaks.
  • As a local and national activist, she is on the executive board for Take Back Your Time and volunteers at the Conservancy of SW Florida, League of Women Voters, and environmental networks. 
  • Over the last two decades, she has been a member of the National Speakers Association, Association of Training and Development, the Society for Human Resources, Women in film/Chicago, and the SW Florida Brandeis Chapter and World at Work. 
  • She is on the Women Bureau’s Working Women Honor Roll. 

In addition to holding a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Northeastern University, Bonnie has also earned Montessori Certification, and taken continuing education courses in business management, training, communication, psychology, and film.  She is passionate about Flamenco dancing and hiking. Married, she has three children and seven grandchildren.

Recently Bonnie contacted NABBW to tell us about her new Kindle-formatted book, The Happy App: A Process for Boomer Bliss, which she’s again co-authored with Allison Blankenship. She told us the book was written in response to the question, “Will I ever be happy again?” which she finds many Baby Boomers are asking.

As many of us Boomers have discovered in recent years, age does not automatically come with a side of contentment. Instead, we find our lives are being turned upside down. It’s no longer correct to breezily label our generation “the healthiest, wealthiest, best educated, etc.” golden children, as has been done for decades. Not anymore. No, we Boomers are working overtime, with no end in sight…

Instead of retiring to Easy Street, as our parents may have, we find ourselves aging while caught between multiple financial challenges that require us to keep working well past traditional retirement age. And while many of us had looked forward to that “empty nest” scenario, the fact is, some of us are still raising children young enough to still live at home — and yet we’re also being called upon to care for our elder parents. Thus the new appellation: “the sandwich generation.”

And in the midst of this, many of us are dealing with “boomerang” children — adult kids returning home, many with grandchildren in tow. Add health challenges to the mix and not only are our formerly comfortable lives turned upside down, but we’re finding ourselves wondering whether or not life will ever return to “normal.”

The Happy App answers the question, “Will I ever be happy again?” with a resounding yes! It provides strategic tools and step-by-step action plans, while outlining a process for being happy at every age and every stage.

While Michaels was busy assuring us that we can develop a plan for Boomer bliss, we managed to slip in the opportunity to ask her a few of our favorite questions. Here’s what she said:

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a creative and active person who enjoys adventure, dance, and being in nature.  My consulting, speaking and writing work has taken me around the world helping others with balance, transitions, change, and happiness.  I adore nature and especially the outback of Australia.  I embrace change and encourage my children/grandchildren to adapt and be flexible.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I am remarried and have a blended family of 3 children and 7 grandchildren. It has been a challenge!

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

Dancing to rock and roll.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

Knowledge and personal/professional experience to create a happy and meaningful life no matter what the circumstances.  I have emphasized taking risks to my many women friends of all ages.

What inspires you?book-happyapp-250w

Walking and enjoying nature.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Developing new passions and helping to make change in the world.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

Flamenco dance and volunteering in a Wildlife Clinic in Florida.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

My favorite book is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  It is a guide to living a life that is rich in the present moment and avoids holding on to the past and worrying about the future.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

I am an adventure traveler and have been around the world twice. My husband and I volunteer for room and board and stay with families in other countries. We wrote a book about how to uncover the passion in your life.

 Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate

I take precautions when traveling to take extra doses of Vitamin C and Astragalus (natural immune support).

What do you stress about?

I hope our children will find happiness in a world that is in turmoil.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

I believe the youth comes from within.  Feeling young by being engaged in life is the way I retain my youthfulness.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I have re-invented myself many times—from a professional dancer to a Montessori teacher, to a corporate trainer, to running my own consulting and training business.

Do you plan to retire?

Partial retirement from consulting but I plan to continue to write and speak as long as I can.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I am deeply involved in the preservation and conservation of wildlife, land and water in Naples.  I belong to the Conservancy of SW Florida, Audubon and Sierra Club.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

My husband and I took off a year to explore and determine how to live out the rest of our lives.  We took one suitcase each and volunteered around the world.  It was a year that changed our lives and solidified our values.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I will always have dreams but I feel very fulfilled.  I’ve done everything I set out to do.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I volunteer for many environmental organizations and lead networking groups to make change in our community as well as to preserve the wildlife, land and water in Florida.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

My mother who believed in me and supported all my dreams.  My husband who has a scientific approach to solving problems and encourages my exploration of life even without him.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

To set an example of living a happy and sustainable life and to inspire others to do so.


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