Influences matter to a writer and can make all the difference to whether someone keeps going or gives up. This applies to our characters too. What influences are your characters under or swayed by? Are they positive ones? If there are negative influences about, what do your characters do to fight that?
Barbara's life was very much a life well lived and that is something we should all aspire to do.
As for our characters, what do you want your people to aspire to be? What drives them? What gets in their way? Answer those questions and you have the very essence of a good, drama driven story. And isn't that what we all want for our books and stories?