In Memoriam: Barbara Winter

My original blog post, Sept. 4, 2011:

It was a full page ad.  The woman wore funky glasses and an angled, blunt haircut.  Her posture, her smile, the sparkle in her eyes emanated a happiness, a confidence, and a freedom I wanted.  But none of that is what drew me in.  As I flipped through the catalog for the Boston Center for Adult Education that day, what caught my eye was the title of this woman’s course: Making a Living Without A Job.  Well, who wouldn’t want to know how to do that?

The course had the same title as her book.  A book?  You mean there was a whole book on how to make a living without being tied to a soul-sucking 9-5 job?  As it turns out, there are quite a few shelves of books on this very topic.  On my trip to the bookstore, however, I was on a mission.  I picked up Barbara Winter’s first and, as I do with all books before I buy them, I opened to the first page and started reading.  I couldn’t stop.

I bought the book, signed up for her course, and wouldn’t be living the life I live today had I not seen that ad over ten years ago.  If you dread Monday mornings, don’t have time to do the things you love most, are forced to commute the same time everyone else does, or have to commute at all, I highly recommend checking out Barbara’s Joyfully Jobless web site and book.  As far as I can tell, we only get one life.  Might was well make it one you enjoy living.


Much has changed in the world since I took Barbara’s course over twenty years ago. The Boston Center for Adult Education no longer exists. And the Joyfully Jobless website no longer exists. Sadly, that is probably because Barbara Winter, one of the people who inspired me to live the life of MY dreams, not anyone else’s, died yesterday.

I am grateful I wrote the blog post above eleven years ago so that she got to see it. I’m grateful for every supportive word she said to me–during the multiple courses I took with her and more than a few phone conversations. I’d never been to a course where the teacher gave you their home phone number and told you to call them any time you needed some inspiration. And I did.

I hope to one day inspire as many people as Barbara Winter has.

She may have left our world, but her book is still available. I can only hope it continues to inspire for years to come.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Ursula says:

    Hi Rebecca, Ordered the book. Am SO ready to live life differently! Enjoy your postings. Am writing a memoir. Big fun.

    1. So happy to hear all of this, Ursula! If you need any additional inspiration, feel free to reach out anytime!

  2. Dee Relyea says:

    Rebecca, I remember you and I being “roomies” at Barbara’s retreat in MN years ago and how enthused we both were by her words and attitude. She was big on finding “awe” and joy in life. (Remember her playing the track from the Cirque Love show as an example?)

    She gave me a “charge” that moved me forward to launching my own coaching business. I brought her to Madison a few years later to teach a couple workshops- we had a great time together… she left a true legacy and a lovely roadmap for “Making a Living Without a Job”.
    — forever grateful

    1. Such memories! We were all so lucky to have known her😢

    2. Such memories — we were all so lucky to have known her😢

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