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headshot of Jamie Martin, editor in chief of Experience Life magazine

A couple of months ago, I was invited to speak at my high school’s biennial career-day event. I’ve done this a handful of times since graduating 20-plus years ago, and each visit feels like stepping back in time.

So many of the sights, sounds, and smells are exactly as I remember. The thumping of basketballs in the gym. The photos of each graduating class lining the walls above the lockers. The trophy cases displaying years of plaques and awards, including one with the team photo from my senior year, when we were named co-conference basketball champions.

Some of the teachers and coaches I had as a student are even still there, making the scene all the more familiar. I can almost see my friends and my 18-year-old self hanging out by those lockers, waiting for the bell.

Yet as I stood in a classroom presenting to the students in my session, I was struck by how far I’d come since walking those halls and donning the cap and gown that symbolized the shift to adulthood — and by the combination of coincidence and concerted effort that have led me here.

This realization occurred to me as I was sharing an image of Experience Life’s organizational structure, which featured stars next to each of the jobs I’ve held over the years. I explained that my first role, as an editorial intern, had come to be because I had told a college professor that I was considering a move to New York City to pursue a position at a health-and-fitness magazine (or any magazine that would have me!).

“Each new phase has built on the last and shined light
on the potential for what might come next.”

“Do you know that there’s a health-and-fitness magazine right here in Minnesota?” she asked. “It’s called Experience Life, it’s published by Life Time, and I do some freelancing for them. I’ll make an introduction.” She did, and I got the job two weeks after graduating from college.

That conversation set the course for my career — and so many other aspects of my life. In the 17 years since that pivotal connection was made, hard work, proactivity, and passion have helped me build my skills and knowledge. These things have helped me find my way to opportunities that then opened doors to new possibilities, experiences, and roles, including my current one as editor in chief.

That first job informed and inspired so many of my daily habits, which, in turn, influenced my health and hobbies. As I learned more about healthy living, I discovered interests and developed relationships that are now central to my life. And I let go of ones that were no longer fulfilling to me.

Each new phase has built on the last and shined light on the potential for what might come next, whether at home, at work, in my workouts, or in any other area to which I devote my time and attention. And while I certainly didn’t (and couldn’t) control many things that happened, it’s what I intentionally chose to do when there was a fork in the road that determined my direction.

Twenty years ago, I could never have predicted this is where I’d end up. And although it started by chance, each decision along the way has helped me get to this point.

So where will I — where will any of us — be five, 10, 20 years from now? Your guess is as good as mine. But as history has shown time and again, we can each chart our own course to some degree. And that’s the spirit of June 2022 issue. Enjoy!

Jamie
Jamie Martin

Jamie Martin is the is Experience Life’s editor in chief. Follow her on Instagram @jamiemartinel.

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