The pre-teen blockbuster Thirteen Going on 30 was released in 2004. Like the film’s protagonist, I too had just turned thirteen years old. If you have had the great fortune of seeing the movie, bear with me. If you have not, here’s your rundown: 13-year-old Jenna dreamed of being popular but struggled to make those dreams a reality. After suffering total humiliation at the hands of the “popular girls” at her birthday party, Jenna makes a wish to be “thirty, flirty & thriving.” The next morning, she magically wakes up in a swanky Manhattan apartment as her 30-year-old self, which includes a thriving career as a fashion magazine editor, while possessing the knowledge and mindset she had as a 13-year-old.
Like Jenna, I had big aspirations at age 13. Those lofty goals were eventually narrowed to a career in law. Frankly, I am not sure whether I came up with this idea myself, or if my parents suggested it after I insisted on diagraming the fallacies as to why I could not stay out past 10 o’clock. I vividly remember walking away from the movie theater with my friends, telling them how I could not wait to have a corner office and a driver to chauffeur me to a big city courthouse to fight for liberty and justice for all, a notion that forms the basis of the American identity.
One decade later, I would accept a job in the mortgage industry. Do you know what the 13-year-old me would say about that? I do. I would have asked, “what’s a mortgage?” But would she be disappointed that I was not the next Elle Woods, the protagonist in another outstanding movie that spurred my legal ambitions? Would she be disappointed to know that the likelihood of ever seeing the inside of a courtroom as an attorney in the mortgage industry is virtually zero?
When I accepted this position, none of that mattered. As a soon-to-be law school graduate in a tough legal market, I was thrilled to have a job offer. I did not know much about mortgage lending. I can definitively say I did not see a “mortgage lending” elective. It certainly wasn’t tested on the bar exam.