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.
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.
'Good Morning America' exploited Joan Lunden's pregnancy, but you won't see me bringing my babies on the air. The only reason I'm talking about the babies at all is that they've been with me on the show since I became pregnant. After a while, I had to acknowledge this pumpkin tummy.
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.
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 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.