If you don’t do this, what else are you going to do?

It’s corporate America’s dirty little secret–almost no one really wants to be there. Nearly every corporate drone dreams of living a different life, whether that’s opening your own winery, running a marathon on the polar ice cap or becoming a successful Hollywood writer. Most of us will never get there, condemned instead to a few more decades of endless meetings in dreary conference rooms. But some folks really do break out of the rut. Our special report focuses on seven remarkable Americans who are doing what they love during their second act. – Forbes.com

“I still remember the moment when I finally made up my mind to leave practical and stable Corporate America for absurd and random Show Business. It was Labor Day weekend 1996. I was playing golf, alone, on a beautiful course in Ojai, Calif., after breaking up with my girlfriend. She apparently had moved out on me three weeks earlier, but I hadn’t noticed. Traveling too much, I suppose.

Anyway, after slicing a ball out of bounds deep into the Topa Topa foothills, it became painfully clear that my professional malaise had engulfed my entire life–not to mention ruining my ability to hit a golf ball straight. I needed to make a change. Immediately. This wasn’t the world’s most profound epiphany, I admit, but it was effective. A day or two later, back in the office, I made the announcement: “I’m leaving to become a screenwriter.” My boss just looked at me and said, “No, seriously. What are you going to do?””

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