Editor's Letter: When Life Comes Full Circle

Lesley Jane Seymour on allowing the past live in the present

by Lesley Jane Seymour
Photograph: Melanie Acevedo

I suppose that if you live long enough, you will inevitably make the same discovery I have: that life isn’t linear; it loops itself around and hits repeat. I experienced one of these loops several years ago as I stood in line to receive my photo ID as an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. A friend had been scheduled to give a class on magazine making but had fallen ill and asked if I’d step in. Since I was between jobs and trying to re­invent myself, I said yes. I’d never taken a class at NYU, but when I arrived at the address I’d been given, the place felt weirdly familiar. As I stepped inside, it came to me: That photo-ID office had once been the mailroom of Women’s Wear Daily, the trade paper where I’d first been a reporter. Part of my job had been to send clothing samples back to Seventh Avenue, so I’d logged plenty of time in the mailroom. In a city of a million buildings, 
I now found myself in exactly the one where I’d started! Was this just a 
coincidence? Or was I being reminded of my beginnings because I needed to regroup and reinvent? Being back in that former mailroom filled me with confidence, for if this building could have a new life and purpose, why couldn’t I?

Since then, I’ve experienced lots of loops. A few years ago, my stepmother called to reconnect after a long absence, resolving a painful situation that I wrote about here in 2012. One more example: Last summer I heard from my high school roommate. Her daughter Sarah’s best friend was about to leave for a semester abroad, and as the two girls looked through the list of kids in the program, Sarah spotted my daughter’s name. In a world that seems increasingly disconnected, it was comforting to know that one of Lake’s soon-to-be fellow students was just one degree of separation from my old roomie.

I’m sure you’ve had this experience, too, so let me tell you what I make of 
it: Whereas I once thought of life as a
long, straight thread, with random events pushing me toward an uncertain future, I now see it as an intricate piece of fabric, woven strong with memories and old relationships. Loops allow the once-buried past to live again in the present, instructing and inspiring us. Which reminds me of another loop: In April the executive who years ago dreamed up the idea of inviting More readers to run a marathon in Central Park parachuted into the publisher’s chair. Jeannine Shao Collins is not only a dear friend but also the most extraordinary and creative businessperson I know—and I can’t wait to 
see what fascinating threads and sequins she adds to the fabric of More. 

Next: The Hirsuite of Happiness

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First published in the July/August 2014 issue

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