‘I yearned for a deeper, slower, more useful existence’: dispatches from the Great Resignation

From the ad executive turned charcoal burner to the woman who built a new life in the woods, a new genre of books about radical reinventions is proving a runaway success

Not long after I had left my job, and my marriage, and my home, in quick succession, I ran into an old acquaintance outside a local coffee shop. She had heard, of course, about the dismantling of my life, and now she looked at me, bewildered. “You had it all,” she said, as she gripped her cup. “And now you have … nothing?”

For many years I had tried to live a life that made sense to others. I had swanned from a prestigious university straight into a job at a prestigious newspaper. I had got married young, to the man I began dating at 23, we had bought a beautiful home, got ourselves a cat, and begun to talk about starting a family. I had tried, very hard, all my life, not to put a foot wrong. And yet something inside me felt perpetually crushed.

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Way Out West

Santa Monica, where the wooden pier juts out into the Pacific Ocean, marks the end of Route 66, the ...

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