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After eight years of living at the epicenter of a tightly controlled bubble, Barack and Michelle Obama seem to savor the little things most now that their historic White House tenure has ended.
For Michelle, it's the chance to pop into a Soul Cycle class, pack her own bag lunch (turkey chili is a favorite) and eat with her staff while laughing over viral videos in their new work space in D.C.'s West End, where her office is painted the same warm salmon pink of her old East Wing digs.
For Barack, it's the opportunity to dust off the leather jacket that stayed hidden in his closet for years because he didn't think it was presidential enough to wear while in office.
"Imagine putting on a suit and tie almost every day for eight years. I think he enjoys not having to do that," Barack's chief of staff, Anita Breckenridge, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, which offers an inside look at the former first couple's post-White House life.
But exclusive images of the former president and former first lady—already making quiet visits to Washington, D.C. schools, and speeches on higher education and health care—show that neither one is ready to retire.
Says longtime friend Marty Nesbitt, who now chairs the Obama Foundation: "They had always been engaged citizens working to help improve the lives of the people around them and the presidency was a part of that continuum. Their lives don't end after his presidency ended and so they energized by the opportunity to be private citizens again."