After 20 years of crawling out of bed at 3:30 a.m. so she could greet the dawn on the set of Good Morning America, Joan Lunden knows exactly how to describe the best part of leaving her job: "Waking up to the sunshine." Staying up late wasn't bad, either. "My kids would say, 'Mom, it's 11:30—go to bed!' But I was so infatuated with staying up!"
And though she had yearned to make a change in her life, Lunden, 48, admits that surrendering her show took away a big piece of her identity. Now she has turned her angst into A Bend in the Road Is Not the End of the Road (Morrow), a book she offers as a tutorial in finding opportunity in unexpected change. "We all have the same fears about transitions," says Lunden, who says that wealth and fame did little to cushion hers. "But there's a pot at the end of the rainbow."
There certainly was for Lunden, who stepped right into her Behind Closed Doors specials for ABC. Now living in Connecticut with her three daughters and dating Jeff Konigsberg, 37, she is also planning a syndicated talk show. "Futures don't just happen," she says. "They're created." With her level of ambition, she had better not get too used to sleeping in.