This is the first September in 25 years that I haven't spent in Chicago preparing to raise the bar for another season of the Oprah show. It feels odd, but it feels right. To tell you the truth, I feel like my whole life is in makeover mode.

For 25 years, I've gotten up no later than 6 A.M. Every day. Now I get to decide not only what I want to do but when I wish to do it. Without the rigor of the daily show, I'm finding that I have space to notice other things. Like trees, and people, and entire apartment buildings that have been built on a street I pass daily without my ever having registered their existence.

The pace has calmed just enough for me to take a beat, reassess where I am, and decide what's next. My time is mine. My life is mine. This is what Jerry Seinfeld was talking about during our O interview in 2007 when he told me, "It's yours to design."

I'm having a great time redesigning.

First and foremost—now that I no longer have the daily grind of the show as an excuse—I will be taking care of myself. I've committed to a daily renewal of staying healthy in all the ways that matter. I write this having just come in from a swimming lesson. I learned the breaststroke today—big accomplishment for someone who once feared the deep end. Every day I move forward.

And of course I'm working on OWN. The network launched in January, but until now I've had not an inch of brain space to devote to making it what I know it can be: a force for inspiring, fun, and illuminating entertainment, one show at a time.

I'm taking the best of all the Oprah shows, the most meaningful lessons I learned in 25 years, and making them over into a series of life lessons—a prime-time class airing every night at 8.

I've always wanted to teach, so this year I'm going for it big time: At my school in Africa, I'm doing a class for my graduating seniors called Life 101. It's everything I want them to know about how to be successful, happy, fulfilled, and triumphant women of the world.

Everywhere I turn, new beginnings and big changes abound for me. The inevitable truth is that everything changes. We're not meant to look the same or act the same year in and year out. Growth brings new potential. And I know for sure that when you're open to receiving them, the possibilities just keep on coming.

Embrace Your Next Chapter


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