As 2015 draws to a close, I’m reflecting on the fact that I’ve been working on Experience Life for nearly 15 years now. Amazing.
Equally amazing is that I still love what I do, and I still learn something new with every issue. Somehow, it’s always a fresh experience for me. And with every issue, we get letters from readers who let me know it’s still a fresh experience for them, too.
One of the questions I get most often from people when they learn about my long history with the magazine is “How do you keep coming up with ideas for all those articles?” The truth is, that’s the easy part.
Because our mission is helping our readers lead healthier, happier, more authentic lives, and because we live in a culture that throws up endless obstacles to that goal, we rarely run short of potential topics.
As a creative team, we only have to look around at our own challenges (and at those of our families and friends) and consider what’s giving us the most trouble (or what’s working best for us), and we’ve got an endless supply of material.
The only thing I find some-what difficult about working on the magazine — particularly after all these years — is allowing it to grow beyond me, and allowing myself to grow beyond it.
I have always wanted Experience Life to have a life of its own, to see it evolve in ways that reflect our diverse, ever-expanding audience of health-motivated individuals. And of course, it must also reflect the shifting challenges they face.
At the same time, I am committed to seeing the magazine stay true to its original vision, to preserving its central “no gimmicks, no hype” promise, and to maintaining its whole-person, whole-life purview.
On a personal level, too, I’m a big believer in the idea that it’s important to keep growing, stretching, trying new things. So, for the past few years, I’ve been exploring ways I can recast my role as founding editor to include less time in the editing chair and more time as ambassador, guide, navigator, and collaborator.[callout]I’m a big believer in the idea that it’s important to keep growing, stretching, trying new things.[/callout]
With this in mind, we’ve been expanding and reorganizing our team over the past year or so, and giving our staffers more room to try out new roles, hone new skills, and test out new territories.
It’s been a fun process, one that has breathed new energy into our pages and our digital endeavors, including our award-winning enhanced digital edition and social-media streams. It has also allowed some long-standing team members to grow in exciting new directions.
One person who has quite literally grown up on our team, and who continues to enthusiastically embrace new challenges, is Jamie Martin. After joining us as an intern, fresh out of college, more than a decade ago, Jamie quickly rose through the editorial ranks. For the past several years, she has led our digital initiatives, and recently she stepped into a new leadership role as executive editor.
Jamie and I have been working together for such a long time, I feel a profound sense of confidence in her instincts and skills. And in the coming year, as I peel off some of my day-to-day editorial tasks to focus more on the big picture (and my in-progress book), I am excited to see more of Jamie’s mark on the magazine and its various digital offshoots.
I’ll still be here at the helm, helping shape each issue, and keeping my finger on the pulse of whatever’s coming next. And I’m hoping you’ll actually get to hear a bit more from me as I make more time to speak, to write, to create new media streams, and to collaborate with like-minded partners.
Meanwhile, in honor of this successful year’s end, and the new year coming into view, we’ve dedicated the current issue to all things fresh, untried, unexpected. Here’s to the happy surprises, the unforeseen adventures, the doors unlocked and flung wide open just as you approach.
Take a deep breath, friends. Let us pause to release with appreciation the cycle we’ve just completed, and embrace with hope and optimism the new cycle that’s about to be revealed.