30 and flirty and thriving — for real

My 30th birthday is tomorrow, and I’ll be at school, presenting a mock trial for 25% of my Trial Advocacy grade.

Being 30 and in law school isn’t the typical plan. It certainly wasn’t mine.

I recently rewatched “13 Going on 30,” and let’s just say my plans at 13 were a lot like young Jennifer Garner’s. I actually achieved my (our?) dream: I had a good job at a great publication, disposable income, an active dating life, a good wardrobe, etc. But what looks good at 13 (or 25) isn’t always what makes sense at 30.

Basically, me.


For me, that lifestyle was just not practical long-term. Rather than digging in my heels and “making it work,” I shifted expectations and plans. I realized I would be much happier married than dating, and that being a newspaper journalist for the rest of my days would be tethering my life to a dream I’d woken up from already. I don’t have a great (or any) income, but I don’t need wealth to be satisfied. I am “30 and flirty and thriving” whether the fancy trimmings are there or not. I’m Jennifer Garner after actually growing up, now: steady, confident, and on a tenable path.

Becoming an attorney makes sense for this version of me — the adult version, not the teenage dreamer. Will it make sense at 40, or 60? I can’t say. My mother recently said, “You’ve already had one whole career.” She’s right. Frankly, employers would be lucky to have me given that I’ve been there, done that, thrown away the ugly promotional T-shirt (company slogan, “What’s the big idea?”) and traded it in for a suit. A younger version of me would never say such a thing, for fear of sounding conceited. Growing up is hard to do, but it sure is worth it.

Law school friends still managed to have a surprise party for me on Saturday night!

Law school friends still managed to have a surprise party for me on Saturday night!

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