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Seven Things I Thought I'd Outgrow by 50

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Ah, the wisdom of being a grownup: the ability to let go of the insignificant stuff, the smarts to embrace the important.

Apparently, I'm still growing. Thankfully, some of the crucial insights of adulthood have stuck. I now know that mixing peppermint schnapps with blackberry brandy -- or really anything -- is just gross. I understand that staying home on a Saturday night (or a whole weekend) is so not a form of punishment. And I never, ever, ever complain about having to take a nap. But despite my completely idealistic youthful beliefs that I would one day feel entirely grown up, there are still a few things I'm waiting to either let go of or outgrow:

Adolescence: Here's the fantasy: that I'd be done with Clearasil when I got to Oil of Olay. Here's the reality: that Oxy 10, Clinique 1, and SPF 50 have made my face a paint-by-numbers project. Extra points for shopping in the adolescent and anti-aging sections at the same time. Ha ha, Mother Nature.

Hair fixations: Frizz fears of my youth led my husband to suggest 26 years ago that we get married in a meat locker. He was only half kidding. Nearly three decades later, my hair still tortures me. I've become used to friends asking why I'd ever blow out my curls, as if what's been hiding beneath my flattened, plastered tresses all these years is the equivalent of wide-plank wood beneath 70s shag carpet. But I can assure you that what's actually under there is neither Julianna Margulies...nor even Howard Stern. It's Albert Einstein (at least I was spared the mustache). And despite being certain that by age 40, I would have cut off my hair and embraced my inner poodle, I still hold on to the security of a ponytail in August and plan important life events around the dew point.

Quarter hoarding: I haven't used a coin-operated laundry machine since 1986. Fun fact -- since 1987, I've actually had my very own washer and my very own dryer in my very own house that I've been able to go to at any time without having to either buy a pizza or pay respects to my dorm's self-appointed Quarter Master. But memories of bartering for the all-powerful 25 cent coin remain so vivid that I covet quarters as if their absence will lead me to have to go back in time and rifle through my laundry bag for either a pair of dirty Gloria Vanderbilt jeans or my Wednesday underwear on Saturday. This pointless fixation (lots of parking meters don't even take change anymore) means not only that I am irrationally satisfied when the $5.07 for my coffee and bagel nets me 93 cents in change (three quarters!), it also ensures that my purse is always heavy enough to be used either as a weapon of self-defense...or a boat anchor.

Happy dancing on snow days: My last blizzard reprieve was during the disco era (Blizzard of '78! No math test!), but I still get an inexplicable sense of relief at the words, "No school." I also feel strangely compelled to watch cartoons.

Over packing: Unlike all the ultra-efficient women who've learned how to fit everything they need for two weeks into a purse, I still pack like I'm heading to camp...with a trunk. The process always optimistically begins with a tiny pile of miniature expectations ("Let's see, for three days in Florida, I'll need a pair of shorts, a couple of shirts, a bathing suit, sneakers...") until I start heaping on "necessary" items (contingency formalwear -- because you never know when you'll be unexpectedly invited to a ball by a visiting Duke) and generally packing as if Disney World is a developing nation.

My crush on David Cassidy: It's been a lot of years since "I Woke Up in Love This Morning," but I still get jealous when I see the sixth-grade photo of my friend Darryl sitting on Keith Partridge's lap. At least today I wouldn't leave my husband for him. Probably. And don't even get me started about dear, departed Davy Jones.

Sleeping 'til noon: just kidding. I'm up at 6:00 a.m. like the rest of you. But a girl can dream.

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