I think the success of a talk show depends on how true it is to the personality of the person hosting it. The shows I really admire, like 'Oprah' and 'Ellen', are distinctively like their hosts, so I think my show will be successful only if we try to stay consistent to my own sense of myself.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder the year I turned 50, it was certainly a shock. But as a journalist, knowing a little bit about a lot of things, I didn't suffer the misconception that depression was all in my head or a mark of poor character. I knew it was a disease, and, like all diseases, was treatable.
My tides were fluctuating, too - back and forth, back and forth - sometimes so fast they seemed to be spinning. They call this 'rapid cycling.' It's a marvel that a person can appear to be standing still when the mood tides are sloshing back and forth, sometimes sweeping in both directions at once. They call that a 'mixed state.'
I see myself as life-sized, certainly not a supersized personality, and apparently after 30 years of television, that's what the audience thinks of me as well. I know this because for the first time in my career, I've just seen market research, and the thing I am known for is being authentic.
I've come to recognize what I call my 'inside interests.' Telling stories. And helping people tell their stories is a sort of interpersonal gardening. My work at NBC News was to report the news, but in hindsight, I often tried to look for some insight to share that might spark a moment of recognition in a viewer.
I envy people with dreams and passions, but I don't think that way. I still don't have a 'bliss' to follow. For people like me - I suspect that's most people - holding out for a 'dream' or a 'passion' is paralyzing. I just like having work I enjoy that feels meaningful. That's hard enough... but it's enough.
Most of us in the baby-boom generation were raised by full-time mothers. Even as recently as 14 years ago, 6 out of 10 mothers with babies were staying at home. Today that is totally reversed. Does that mean we love our children less than our mothers loved us? No, but it certainly causes a lot of guilt trips.
I'm excited about going back to 'Today', but, at odd moments, I'll grit my teeth in anxiety. I feel like a student before the start of school. I've got my new shoes and my book bag, but I'm not sure I'll remember how to do trigonometry. During my maternity leave, I haven't used many words of more than one syllable.