Does anyone have a better gig in life right now than the Obamas?
Judging by a quick glance at the current political climate around the world, compounded by the shock waves reverberating from Washington, D.C., every day…we’re going to guess the answer is no.
After eight long years in the White House, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Malia and Sasha, and their dogs, Bo and Sunny, moved out on Jan. 20 to make way for the incoming administration—and with that, off they went into the sunset, the now former first family relegated to the history books.
And though they’re not going to be quite as past-tense as the 44th president had originally hoped that they would be, his retirement plan having taken a bit of a hit last November, the Obamas’ first stop after boarding Marine One for the last time was Palm Springs, Calif.
Barack Obama officially left the White House on Jan. 20. Obama has been fulfilling his passion for adventure and settled into permanent vacation mode. While many of us are still longing for his return, the sad truth is that Obama is gone and off living his best life.
What’s it like to deal with normal life after eight years under the harshest scrutiny possible? Barack and Michelle Obama are figuring that out, and it apparently involves lots of golf and SoulCycle.
The days outside the White House, they still have a staff of 20 people and have an office in the West End of Washington, D.C. Both the Obamas are writing books, and they’re also planning the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s South Side. Politically, President Obama is expected to help support Democrats during the midterm elections in 2018.
President Obama still can’t drive because of security concerns, and that was something he was looking forward to doing outside of office. But he’s still happy with a smaller security force. “If he wants to go out to dinner on a Saturday, that doesn’t take teams of people and hours of advance,” his chief of staff, Anita Breckenridge, told People. “You know? That’s really freeing.”
As for the cool leather jacket President Obama wore in March, to the delight of the Internet? He apparently had it all this time, but felt it wasn’t presidential to wear it while he was in office.
Michelle Obama is enjoying going to SoulCycle, and naturally, brings a healthy packed lunch with her every day to the office. Her husband still doesn’t quite know how to use the coffeemaker. But one thing remains the same: he’s still close to Vice President Biden, and the two play golf every now and then.
“One of the first stories Barack told me when he and Michelle arrived on Moskito Island was how, just before he became President, he had been surfing on a dangerous break in Hawaii,” Branson recalled. When he came in from an exhilarating session, the new head of his security team turned to him and said: “This will be the last time you surf for eight years.” For the next eight years he didn’t have the chance to surf, enjoy watersports or do many of the things he loved.”
After Obama trounced him in water sports, Branson recalled, “After all he has done for the world, I couldn’t begrudge him his well-deserved win. Now he has left, I’m going back into the water to practice for the next challenge. On his next visit, we plan to do the long kite over to Anegada together. Next time, may the best (British) man win!”
Michelle Obama threw it back to their island idyll on Valentine’s Day, her first Instagram post since they day they left the White House being a picture of her and her husband’s sandy feet enjoying a moment in the sun together on the beach.
It presumably came as no surprise to the couple that, even when no longer in charge, their vacation sparked a bit of controversy, though mainly from fans who went from bemoaning that Obama was out of the White House to ultimately quibbling over whether it was appropriate for Obama to look as though he was having such a great time when there were was so much wrong in the world.
Obamas know that their post-White House experience is going to be different from that of other first couples, their brand of celebrity having transcended the pop culture line long ago thanks to their relative youthfulness, Michelle’s importance to the fashion world, their huge celebrity fan base and the unprecedented level of coolness they exhibited in every relevant arena.
Things did not just end up sorting the decisions out.
The former president was spotted lining up his shot and driving around founder Larry Ellison’s private golf club.
Barack and the former first lady were seen taking a stroll on Necker Island, which is owned by British billionaire Richard Branson.
The couple enjoyed another well-deserved vacation with famous friends Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, and Oprah Winfrey.
Obama announced that he and Michelle would donate two million dollars to a youth-jobs program, and emphasized that, while other Presidential libraries had involved retrospective “ego-tripping,” his would look forward.
Image Source: Getty Images