Jennifer Garner has shared her rules for adulting, and they're pretty epic

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Anna Brech
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Actor Jennifer Garner

When Jennifer Garner was asked to give the commencement address at her old university, she couldn’t resist throwing a few curve balls into the mix

Graduation speeches tend to be weighty affairs, full of earnest advice and hard-earned encouragement.

But Jennifer Garner chose a slightly different route recently, when she shared her life rules during an address at her alumni college.

Hitting the stage at the 2019 graduation ceremony for Denison University in Ohio earlier this week, the Alias star delivered a goofy tirade that was brimming with offbeat charm.

Instead of urging her audience of young graduates to change the world, Garner shared her own – highly individual – tools for a good life. 

Her insight spans everything from selecting the right Halloween costume to the importance of using sunscreen. The result is a series of brilliantly practical guidelines that also showcase the actor’s own plea to have a sense of humour. 

Here is how to live your best life, according to Garner:

1. On seeing the world: Don’t walk down the Grand Canyon to see what it looks like – it looks so much better from the top.

2. On wellbeing: Don’t smoke and don’t vape (naturally).

3. On wellbeing again: Nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s.

4. On image: When it comes to Halloween costumes, go for funny not sexy. As Garner points out, “Why would you dress like a flirty nurse when you could be a mailbox?”

5. On consent: Mixed signals are not mixed signals, they’re a no.

Along with her general rules, Garner also tells her class of 2019 to “impose self-discipline around three things”: 

1. Have a book on your bedside table at all times (“and read it, obviously”). 

2. Be in charge of your consumption of social media.

3. Foster a sense of humour about yourselves. Because otherwise, you run the risk of being boring. “I’m sorry but somebody has to say it!” she says.

Reaching her finale, Garner strikes a more heartfelt note, as she touches on themes of both feminism and friendship.

“If you’re a woman […] the stage has been set, the world is yours to grab. Go out and get it girl!” the mother-of-three tells the crowd. 

“Finally stay close with your friends from college. Work friends you can talk to about work, lovers you can talk to about love and dinner reservations. But friends from college, you can talk to them about everything, and you can do nothing with them and still be happy.”

Sound advice indeed.

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.