A 41-year-old shared her law school graduation photo with an empowering message for women, Good Morning America (GMA) reports.
Amber Goodwin graduated from college nearly 20 years ago with hopes of attending law school immediately. After not being accepted into any law schools she eventually went on to earn her master’s degree. She built a career for herself on Capitol Hill while also founding the Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF), “a gun violence prevention program focused on communities of color.” At the age of 38, she decided to give law school one more try. Now, At 41, she is set to graduate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“My mentality was: I’m going to keep applying places, and they have to tell me no. I’m not going to call the question on myself. If people tell me no, then that’s on them, and I’ll just keep trying,” Goodwin shared.
Recently, she took to Twitter to share the news of her accomplishment, reminding other women that it’s never too late to follow their dreams.
“Sorry, not sorry in advance for all the law graduation photos y’all are about to get. I’m 41, never been married, have no kids, and most days, society refuses to celebrate people like me. It’s been a very rough year, but this is a bright spot for many of us. It was all worth it,” Goodwin wrote.
SORRY NOT SORRY IN ADVANCE FOR ALL THE LAW GRADUATION PHOTOS Y’ALL ARE ABOUT TO GET. I’M 41, NEVER BEEN MARRIED, HAVE NO KIDS, AND MOST DAYS SOCIETY REFUSES TO CELEBRATE PEOPLE LIKE ME. IT’S BEEN A VERY ROUGH YEAR BUT THIS IS A BRIGHT SPOT FOR MANY OF US. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. PIC.TWITTER.COM/YXPGS8F4GK
— AMBER GOODWIN (@AMBERKGOODWIN) MAY 16, 2021
Immediately, the Texas native began receiving an onslaught of support from other women, many sharing their own stories with her as well.
“I’m 30, and I thought my life was over, and I couldn’t apply to law school,” one user said.
“This was me when I got my J.D. at 39. I used the $$ I got for graduation and bought my china and stemware. I figured I might never have a wedding and get those gifts, and if I wanted it, I should have it. Serve myself dinner on it frequently,” another user commented.
“I feel this so strongly. I just turned 46, never married/no kids, and often feel invisible in my own life. Congrats on your amazing achievement,” someone wrote.
“As a 40+ single, never-married woman, I’ve learned to flip the narrative about women like us. YOU are the apex of womanhood. Fully liberated w/choices and life that our female ancestors couldn’t even fathom. You represent the fullest potential of womankind.” “Congratulations,” another commented.
The messages went on and on. Goodwin said she was both touched and overwhelmed by the response.
“I didn’t expect that anyone outside of my family and friends would actually like it or tweet it. I consider myself brave for going back to law school at 38 and not really going back with a plan of what I would do once I got out of law school. A lot of times, people, especially women and Black women, are not celebrated while we’re doing things. We’re celebrated maybe when we’ve made it and are winning big cases as an attorney or doing other things like getting married or having kids,” said Goodwin.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of women marrying has increased, nearly 16% of Americans reaching their late 40s having never been married. In 2000, there were 27 million women ages 15 and older who had never been married. Now, there are 40 million. The changing demographics represent a shift for women who are not waiting to be celebrated by society for their accomplishments. Goodwin said the response to her post helped her not feel alone.
“…A lot of times, things like [graduating law school] aren’t just seen as a win for someone who is 41 years old. This gave me a sense that people were standing right next to me as I was getting really great news and times when I was maybe not feeling sure of myself,” she said.
Goodwin says that while she still desires to be married and have children, she’s not waiting for those moments to pat herself on the back. She hopes she inspires other women to live their lives in a way that pleases them while celebrating themselves along the way.
“I want everything, but just because I’m 41 and haven’t accomplished some of those things doesn’t mean that my life is a failure. I think everyone’s life should be validated and celebrated. I hope that people take away that there’s no one way to live the life you have, and life should be lived and celebrated literally every single day,” said Goodwin.
Photo Courtesy of @amberkgoodwin/Twitter