Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
This study is a very personal reflection. The purpose of the study is to illuminate how following the calling of my heart led to a deeper passion in my own work whereupon I realized my natural and limitless creative potential. It is a blending of my narrative with research conducted over a ten year time period on midlife women, work, and the search for passion within. The capacity and fostering of creativity became a focus in my writing because that is exactly where my spirit has led me. It has been my personal joy to put something in this world that was not there before.
My personal story is my unique Scholarly Personal Narrative, but the story itself and the constructs embedded within on midlife women moving beyond the feminine mystique to fulfill their career dreams by embracing their passion and seeking creativity is universal to many women. I believe that my experiences are both generalizable and transferable and will serve as a beacon of light in guiding other midlife women in their own journey to follow their dreams and nurture their true self. Scholarly Personal Narrative was used to blend my experiences with research on women's identity, midlife, reinventing careers, opting-out, on-ramps for women returning to work and expressing creativity. My narrative speaks to how specific events in my life, as in many women's lives, have contributed to finding my own authentic voice, navigating a course of rediscovery, and ultimately realizing the personal power of knowing you are empowered.
Throughout my writing I highlight that midlife is a unique period of time. I believe it can be claustrophobic and it can be ripe with opportunity and adventure. If you allow it, this time of life affords an opportunity for self-discovery and unanticipated growth. Midlife is a time to dig deep in examining our life experiences to extrapolate meaning. My meanings derived combined with my dreams within has led me in finding my true creative calling through my work. But, I believe that we each are the only ones who can find the meaning in and through our life experiences because they both form and inform our own truth. It became about harmonizing creative development, my identity, and work to fuel major change. Universal themes that emerge include recognizing one's creativity has worth, viewing future work life as an opportunity to incorporate that with which we are passionate, and embracing midlife as a time for positive personal growth and change. It is a complex narrative, but in finding the truth, I became open to building on the successes, experiences, and lessons of my past to pursue work that excites, enriches, and motivates me.
Findings suggest that midlife is a crucial time of personal and professional growth. Findings also suggest many highly educated women have non-linear career paths which in turn deepen our self-understanding moving us toward authenticity and allowing ourselves to engage in work that matters to us. Embracing creativity in midlife, through our work. can fill us with both passion and purpose and ultimately lead us on a magical journey in discovering our own truth.
Number of Pages
DePaolo, Kelly, "The Passion Within: Challenging The Feminine Mystique By Educating Midlife Women To Fulfill Their Career Dreams" (2015). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 511.
Available for download on Friday, April 21, 2017