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Jenna Bush Hager of the the Today Show recently celebrated the third anniversary of her popular book club, “Read with Jenna”. Hager also had a big bash for her 40th birthday in November 2021, where her Today Show colleagues pulled out all the stops to ring in her milestone. The occasion prompted the NBC journalist to reflect on the commemorative moments in her life, which brought her co-hosting gig with Hoda Kotb to mind.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager of the 'Today Show'
Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager of the ‘Today Show’ | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Jenna Bush Hager had advice for her ‘younger self’

In an essay for on what she would tell her ‘younger self’, Hager recalled some words of wisdom from her mother that resonate with her now that she has the perspective of a 40-year-old.

“My mom always says there’s nothing worth worrying about until there really is something worth the worry,” Hager wrote. “Try to just enjoy all the beautiful moments.”

The Today with Hoda & Jenna co-host encouraged readers to hold onto their dreams while referencing her husband, Henry, with a sweet tribute.

“You’re going to be surrounded by people who love you,” Hager remarked. “You’re going to have the babies you’ve always dreamed of. That cute boy you have a crush on … well, you’re going to marry him. By your 40th birthday, you will have known him almost half your life. To feel loved by someone who really knows you — someone who has known you since you wore the low-rise jeans and stuck your tongue out — will be the start of a dream.”

‘Today Show’ star praises Hoda Kotb

Apparently, Hager originally wanted to get into show business. She revealed that her initial career aspirations were geared for the stage.

“Although you never dreamed you would have this job, it’s a perfect fit,” Hager commented. “As a chubby kid auditioning for Broadway, all you wanted was to make people laugh and entertain.”

Kathie Lee Gifford left her seat next to Kotb on Today in 2019, with Hager named as her replacement. The once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity isn’t lost on Hager, who expressed her gratitude for her co-host.

“The fact that you get to sit next to a woman with the biggest heart and do that — be a part of people’s mornings — is a dream,” she wrote. “You are living your dream. So, turning 40 just feels like another beautiful year, and it’s not one that you’ll take for granted.”


‘Today Show’: Jenna Bush Hager Reveals March Book Club Pick and Celebrates 3rd Anniversary of ‘Read with Jenna’

Jenna Bush Hager focuses on gratitude

Hager acknowledged the challenges and losses she has experience throughout her life, stating, “Your life won’t be exactly what you dreamed of — you will lose people you love. You will hold grief in the place where you once held unaltered love.”

Still, the Today Show co-host is laser focused on being grateful for what she has now, which includes a thriving career, loving husband, three children, and a close circle of family and friends.

“I read this beautiful quote once: ‘Remember when everything you have was just a dream,’” Hager shared. “For my next decade, I want to surround myself with love and delight in the beautiful things I already have. I don’t need anything more. I want to live every day in gratitude for all I have.”