Barack Obama Reveals When He Started To Feel Like A Normal Person Again

Being the president means that your life is far from normal. The Obamas were constantly in the spotlight during their time in the White House, relishing their privacy after Barack Obama finished his second term as president.

Leaving the White House wasn't an automatic return to normal life, though. Obama told People that he often fantasized about a return to anonymity. "It used to come to me once every couple months, of me just walking down a street or occasionally taking a bike ride down the street and nobody knows who I am and I don't have any Secret Service around me," he said. "And I sit down in a park or at a café bench and have a tea or a coffee or a soda and just watch the world go by."

Of course, that didn't happen. "Michelle jokes that I think I had a little bit of a fantasy — it was unrealistic, that somehow once the presidency was over, I could go back to strolling through Central Park," he said. "I was disabused of that fairly quickly."

Barack Obama got a taste of normal life this summer

Still, Obama's life is more normal now than it was when he was president and he cherishes any privacy he can get. "There are aspects of my life that I can't get back, now as much by virtue of celebrity as it is security. But there are things that I can do that I couldn't do as president," he said. "When we were in Martha's Vineyard this summer Michelle and I would go take bike rides."

Obama said that he got a hint of normal life this summer. "Particularly now that we have masks on, we could ride through town and people wouldn't know who we were. And it felt pretty close to what I had imagined — that sense of freedom, that sense of being able to go wherever you wanted. So it's not all the way back, but, 70, 75 percent back. That's not bad."

Michelle Obama previously opened up about how much more peaceful her life is outside of the White House. "Because what I came to realize is that there was absolutely no time to reflect in the White House," she told O, The Oprah Magazine. "We moved at such a breakneck pace from the moment we walked in those doors until the moment we left. It was day in and day out because we, Barack and I, really felt like we had an obligation to get a lot done. We were busy. I would forget on Tuesday what had happened on Monday."