By Diana Orfani, Legends Report Contributor
With her long-awaited memoir ‘Becoming’ creating a buzz in UK and US, the former First Lady reminds us of the importance to keep on fighting for positive change as she once again launches an education-related program for girls: The Global Girls Alliance. Mrs Obama said:
“With the Global Alliance, we’ll lift up the grassroots leaders in communities all over the world who are clearing away the hurdles that too many girls face.”
Appreciating The Beauty of a Simpler LifestyleSince becoming a private American citizen, the former First Lady has not hesitated in expressing the joy of being able to do things at her own accord and living in a much more private household, without the international inspection and glare of the world. In an interview on the Ellen Show, Mrs Obama was asked by Ellen DeGeneres what she’s been up to lately and she revealed that she has been enjoying a more laid-back lifestyle outside the spotlight: “....hanging out. I wake up when I wake up”.
Adjusting to a new lifestyle may be a daunting thought, especially when becoming a regular member of society. Although, the Chicago native indicates there is more to cherish outside of the presidential bubble. Moments that are usually acknowledged as tedious by most ordinary people are perceived as the ‘coolest thing being a former First Lady of USA’ for Michelle Obama:
“The small things. It’s the small things,” she admits. “It’s opening my door and walking out and enjoying the weather and sitting on my patio.”
Ultimate Happiness Is In The Love And Affection of a Family…However marvellous materialistic wealth might appear, Mrs Obama says that life after the Presidency has given her the precious chance to dedicate much of her time to her children. An aspect that she found difficult while being the First Lady:
“It’s going to my girls’ game and just really being a mom,” she declared.
In fact, in her recently published, memoir, she touches upon the fear she had for her two girls in the early period of them living in the grand mansion:
“I thought, what on earth are we doing to them? They’ve spent the majority of their life in the international spotlight, with all the criticisms and the judgements,” she said.
While we are generally sold on the myth in society and through the media that owning extravagant manors and elegant possessions are the answer to a perfect life, legends like Michelle Obama show us a different side. After living in the White House for almost a decade she says it's not the lavishness of a house that makes it valuable and grand, it's the love and affection between your nearest and dearest that truly makes it a home. Homes before houses and people before things:
"We are doing great. The girls are good", she says, currently living in D.C.’s Kalorama neighbourhood. “We were in the White House for eight years, but it wasn’t the house, it was us in it. It was our values and our love for each other and we just move that to another house.”
Making a Difference: Anyone Can Do ItNevertheless, it’s taking a stand to create awareness and make a positive impact that Mrs Obama has identified as one of the great privileges of being in an influential position. One may think social activism is part of the job - that it’s nothing new or inspirational. Yet, the former First Lady has indicated that caring about people and causes does not stop there or need to be restrained to a political role. She points out that anyone can make a difference in many ways - without the requirement of an official public position:
“There are so many ways to make an impact,” she explained to audiences in New York City. “Find your passion. It’s up to you to determine what your message is and how you want to use your voice.”
Never Stop Fighting For What You Believe InPost-Presidency, the Princeton graduate continues to participate in events promoting female education - pursuing her advocacy to the core. Making sure the changes do take place – no matter what. For the former First Lady, it’s girls such as Malala Yousafzai who encounter deadly dangers just to obtain an education which strengthens her determination:
“...right now, there are tens of millions of girls like Malala in every corner of the globe who are not in school - girls who are so bright, hardworking and hungry to learn”, she declares. “I plan to keep working on their behalf…for the rest of my life,” referring to women incapable of accessing education.
The Significance of Education Especially Concerning WomenWith her most recent project to empower adolescent young women - Global Girls Alliance - Michelle Obama is seeking for every girl around the world to have an education - rich or poor. Mrs Obama explains:
“When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”
She acknowledges it as a way of girls being able to have a voice of their own, come into their own and reach their fullest potential. This derives from the belief of everyone being deserving to have a fine education regardless of their gender.
Being an influential and highly powerful individual definitely has its perks and many of us tend to yearn for such entitlement and privilege that legends have. Nonetheless, we tend to forget that sometimes what we perceive from the outside can be a deceiver of the eye.
The reality of the matter is that we often don’t appreciate the things we already have for the blessings that they are. Living in a private household and doing normal daily activities without having to constantly be watched over or critically scrutinized is what Mrs Obama treasures most.
Her life after the Presidency suggests it’s a person’s belief and desire in wanting to make a difference that counts, not the status they hold and it is the simplest things that truly make life extraordinary and special: love, passion, family and being of service to others.