Oprah Talks to Maria Shriver
Oprah: No, not at all. I still have journals from those years, and I remember writing, "I understand why they call the show The Young and the Restless, because I am so restless." In my 25th year, I just didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I knew there was more than news stories, but I didn't know what that was. I didn't know what the future held. I was very anxious.
Maria: I've always been that way. I've always thought that the answer was in the next thing. If I worked a little harder, produced an incredible show, wrote a best-selling book, anchored the morning news, won a Peabody Award, worked with the Special Olympics, then I would be less restless. And I kept going and going and going.
Oprah: And after you accomplished each of these things, then what?
Maria: I'd have to find another thing. That's what I wrote about in the book Just Who Will You Be? I made the mistake of thinking that external accomplishments would bring me peace. I thought it was about the job or a book or making a name for myself. So many people would come up to me and say, "Which Kennedy are you?" At a very young age, I thought, "You're going to know which one I am." I decided that I was going to be the Kennedy who makes her own name and finds her own job and works like a dog. My comeuppance was when Arnold got elected—I became the Kennedy who was married to the governor.
Oprah: And you were right back where you started.
Maria: The 25 years I'd spent trying to make a name for myself seemingly went out the door. I started thinking that I'd taken the wrong road—one that ultimately hadn't curbed that restlessness.
Oprah: In your new book, you say that the constant doing wasn't just the way you were brought up; it was the doctrine of your life.
Maria: Correct. You must do, and do big. You must change the world. And you must do this 24/7. My mother, who's 86 now, has had several strokes this past year. She's on a pacemaker. But if you try to help her up the steps, she'll slap your hand. There's no rest. I look at my mom and think, "Wow, that's one way of living and accomplishing." And I admire her for it tremendously. But do I want to duplicate it? No. That's a big revelation for me because I'm my mother's only daughter. Yet I'm different from my mother—and that's okay.
Oprah: What helped you to get there?
Maria: A lot of deep digging. Losing my job at NBC News was big. I identified myself with my job. Whenever people asked what I was up to, I would talk about covering this or that subject, or traveling to New York. I was Maria Shriver, newswoman. I belonged to WJZ, CBS, or NBC. What I did became who I was. It gave me an identity separate from my family. When people looked at the Kennedys, they just saw us as a mass of good teeth and lots of hair, all smiling together and being very family oriented, sailing, playing games...
Oprah: Touch football at the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts...
Maria: Tackling people, throwing them overboard. That's how we operated. I sometimes knew that such competitiveness wasn't quite normal. When people would come over, they were like, "Whoa."