In July 2008, I retired from my job as editor in chief of O, the Oprah Magazine , a move that mystified a lot of people. Editors tend not to exit willingly. They’re usually ripped out of their magazines, like pages. Their sales go south, and so do they. A media reporter wasn’t buying my “retired” line. He called to get the real story. “You can tell me,” he said. “Are you being pushed out?” The truth, I told him, was that I’d been doing Buddhist meditation for years and ached to dive into practice. My job was getting in the way of my life.
That answer didn’t explain anything to a business friend. “What is so compelling,” she asked, “that you would leave all this?”
“All this” encompassed powers and perks universally acknowledged to be worth killing yourself for. The magazine was a big hit. We were putting good ideas and good writing into the culture. We respected each other, we won awards, and we were paid well enough. I couldn’t have been happier.
And then things changed, as things do. (MORE)