"Just Who Will You Be?" Book Excerpt
Maria Shriver was inspired to write this book after giving a high school graduation speech. Click here for more details in her interview with Rachael, and read an excerpt of the book below.
From Just Who Will You Be? by Maria Shriver. Copyright © 2008 Maria Shriver. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
Not too long ago, I was whining to my teenage daughter. "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!" She took me by the shoulders, looked me dead in the eye, and said, "I hate to break it to you, Mom, but this is it for you! You are all grown up! You're cooked!"
I jumped out of my chair. "Not so!" I shot back. "You may think I'm over, but I'm not done yet! I'm still a work in progress, and I'm writing my next act now."
I told her, "You wait and see just who I will be!"
She rolled her eyes, turned up her iPod, and went off to find a saner person to talk to, like her little brother. When she left, I wondered, "Is she right? Is this really it? Am I cooked? Am I over?" Or do I get another shot at asking "What do I want to be when I grow up?"
Back when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time wondering just that: "What am I going to be when I grow up? What's my life going to be like?" I worried about it, because all my friends seemed sure about their futures. They wanted to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians. Me, I didn't have a clue. Then when I was sixteen, my dad ran for Vice President of the United States. (That's me at sixteen on the back of this book cover at the 1972 Democratic National Convention.) I was lucky enough to fly in the back of his campaign plane with all the working journalists-the ones who were asking all the questions and seemed to be having all the fun. Right then and there, I discovered what I wanted to be when I grew up: a TV journalist.
I wanted to be the woman on your television screen, telling you what was going on in the world, telling you what you needed to know. I wanted to be that smart, successful TV newswoman. At first, I was too scared to tell anyone about my dream, worried that people would think I was crazy. After all, back then there weren't that many women on television. And I came from a family where everybody was in politics. So wanting to be a journalist was a weird choice, to say the least.
But after college, I set out to make my dream a reality anyway. I started at the bottom getting coffee and worked my way up to be a news producer, then a reporter, then a correspondent, then an anchorwoman. And I loved it. I just assumed I would be in TV news for the rest of my life. After all, that's who I was. That's what people called me: "TV newswoman Maria Shriver."
But sometimes life happens to you, and-bingo!-your idea of who you think you are just goes up in smoke. That's what happened to me.
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