“Happiness is your own responsibility. So, attack it.”

By Meghan Overdeep
May 22, 2019
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner returned to Denison University in Ohio over the weekend to impart some sage advice on her alma mater’s class of 2019.  In a frank yet uplifting commencement address, the actress told graduates that happiness and purpose lie not in checking boxes off an adulting to-do list, but in striving to make the world a better place.  

But first, she couldn’t resist plugging the importance of sunscreen—something she learned from her mama.

"Nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s," she said with a laugh.

After a few light-hearted moments, Garner’s speech took a more serious turn.

“The truth is, life isn’t going to be 100% perfect,” she said. "If you’re lucky, your life will be 65% happy, and that’s ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes.”

The mom of three advised against focusing on goals, as they can get in the way of living in the present.

"At some point, you will realize that there is no finish line to cross. There is no moment when you're just supposed to be happy,” Garner said. “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?"

WATCH: How Jennifer Garner is Keeping Her Mom's Memories Alive

Garner urged the graduates not to wait around for fulfillment in life, but instead, to go out and grab it. She said that they should always keep one thing in the forefront of their minds: optimism

“Happiness is your own responsibility. So, attack it," she implored them. "Fight for what makes you optimistic about the world. Find it, insist on it, dig into it, go after it."

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