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September 12, 2007

The Zen of Jen (and Ben)

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The sun did indeed rise the next morning. And yet two decades later, Garner flicks her own earlobes with a big grin: "I still don't have mine."

Her mood shifts. "I can't live in West Virginia and do what I do — I'm not going to get a lot of jobs there," she notes, adding how far they are from Affleck's family as well. "It bums us out. We haven't figured it out yet."

But maybe that sadness will produce some quality TV: Garner has an idea for a version of The View aimed solely at mothers. "I feel like women, and especially mothers, are disenfranchised from our families; we don't have the same support group around us that we did a generation ago," she says. "All my girlfriends and my sisters were having these same issues, and I felt like, Why isn't this being addressed? There are tons of talk shows, yet there's nothing that is specifically for them. But I've never gotten the balls to go out and do it."

Before Garner leaves and hops into a big, black Yukon SUV, I have to ask: Does she ever wonder how she managed to deserve the luck, the serendipity, of the life that's led her here?

She gives it a think. "It's not that I just was like, 'Oh please, oh please, oh please.' I am as ambitious as the next working woman. I'm not going to pretend that I don't want to be good at what I do and that I don't care a lot about it, because I do. But it doesn't define me."

And then she stops talking, places her hands on the table, and says, "You look at me like you don't believe me."
No, I do, I say. I do believe you. (And I do!)
"It's just I worked really, really hard for it. So, yeah, I do think I deserve it." Then Garner's steeliness turns to reflect the light: "All the lucky things that come with it — not having to worry about money right now — that is lucky and a blessing. But," she smiles, "I was really happy when I didn't have that, too."

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