As a seasoned mom in my 40s, I can tell you that there is pretty much nothing I want to do more than give life advice to people 20 years younger than me. I do it all the time when I'm out... even if it's just with my eyes because I'm afraid the young might cut me down with their vigorous health and superior wit. But I guess if I was a celebrity like Jennifer Garner I would get invited to a college to dole out my pearls of wisdom to the young. And fortunately Jennifer Garner's advice to college graduates is the perfect blend of funny and oh-so-right, so I guess I can just go ahead and use this as a benchmark for great smart mom advice moving forward.
The 13 Going On 30 star was on hand at her alma mater Denison University in Ohio to offer a speech after she was given an honorary doctorate of humane letters over the weekend, according to TODAY. As a successful actress, activist, mother of three and all around good human, Garner clearly has some great advice to impart. Like this little tidbit she opened with to discourage college grads from getting too bogged down by obsessive goal setting, for instance.
"At some point, you will realize that there is no finish line to cross," she said, according to USA Today. "There is no moment when you're just supposed to be happy. While you wait for those moments, while you wait for the perfect job, the MCAT score, the engagement ring, your life is happening. Isn't it enough?"
Rather than spending so much time chasing after all different kinds of success, financial, romantic, etc., Garner encouraged college grads during the commencement speech to figure out what makes them feel "optimistic."
"Fight for what makes you optimistic about the world," Garner said in her speech. "Find it, insist on it, dig into it, go after it."
Obviously, all excellent advice, but now we will move on to the important stuff which Garner covered during what I like to call the lightning round of her speech.
On Halloween Costumes...
"When it comes to Halloween costumes, go funny over sexy. Why would you dress like a flirty nurse when you could be a mailbox?"
"Nothing looks as good in your 50s as sunscreen in your 20s."
(I wish I had known this before it was too late, listen to her).
On The Idea Of "Mixed Signals"...
"Mixed signals are not mixed signals, they are a 'no.'
On Smoking & Vaping...
"Don't smoke and don't vape, it's not cute."
In her speech, Garner said she also doesn't think people should walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to look up and, honestly, this just saves me steps so I'm listening.
And one of Garner's final pieces of advice was specifically for young women. "The stage has been set. The world is yours to grab. Go out and get it girl," she told the graduating class.
I think everyone should take about an hour today and watch Garner's speech on repeat. Because even some of us gals in our 40s could use a little refresher on life advice if only to impart it on young people who would prefer to live their own lives.