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SAMPLE COLUMN MAY 2000

ETERNAL YOUTH

I have found the secret of eternal youth: Have your mom live down the street. Oh, I must admit that when she first moved so close it was a shock to see her on a daily basis after all these years on my own. After all, no one else ever tells me that I look tired or that I need to go see the dentist. But let-me-tell-you, it's done wonders for my outlook. I haven't felt so young since I was, say, thirteen.

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't regress all at once. In fact I'm not quite sure how it happened. One day I was happily in my mid-thirties, holding down a job while taking care of a house and two children, and the next, I was getting advice from my mother on how to effectively floss my teeth I should've recognized the signs when I'd say something like, "I've finally worked out a plan to redistribute our contributions to our tax deferred annuity which increases our non-taxable return to well over market value. What do you think?"

And my mom would reply, "That's nice, dear. Are you sure you're eating enough? You look a little thin." 

One time I remarked on how the uncertainty of a global economy could affect the overall performance of the stock market, and she just looked at me and asked to know if I was using the water filter she gave me for my last birthday since "you never know what's in tap water these days and it will help clear up your skin." 

Although suddenly becoming a middle-aged teenager isn't necessarily bad, sometimes I find myself reacting in ways I can't explain -- like automatically rejecting my mom's advice even though I know she's right. In fact, last night after a speech on how adding more fiber to my diet would increase the overall health of my digestive track, I caught myself thinking "I won't and you can't make me!" And on top of that I'm having sudden urges to get my belly button pierced and have a giant Ying-yang tattooed on my lower back. And I've started listening to really loud rock music in the car.

And it's not just me. My friend Linda, a successful woman with three children and a masters degree in education, refuses to wear socks underneath her tennis shoes every time her mother comes to visit.

Luckily I manage to metamorphose back into a qualified adult when I'm around my children.

"Don't sit so close to the television," I say to my eight-year old daughter. "It's bad for your vision."

But she just rolls her eyes and asks me when I'm going to stop worrying so much.

I want to look at her and say, "Never! I'm your mother and that's my job." But I have a feeling she wouldn't understand.

However, despite my best efforts, my transformation doesn't last long. Just when I'm getting used to being over the legal drinking age, my mom will come over and say something like, "Have you been getting enough sleep?" or "make sure you wear your jacket because it looks like it's going to rain". 

And I want to roll my eyes and say, "Oh, Mom. When will you quit worrying?"

But I already know the answer. And besides, sometimes it's nice to feel thirteen again.


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