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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter in Law Takes Offense at Family's Tardy Condolences

DEAR ABBY: After 35 years living out of state, my parents have moved to my hometown, and I am thrilled to have them so near.

My problem: Now that I'm seeing my mother on a daily basis, I know what I'm going to look like in 20 years. She and I recognize our physical similarities and laugh about them: our noses, our coloring and our rear ends, etc. These genes will override any "magic cream" on the market.

Mother has many qualities that I admire and aspire to have, but I guess I wasn't ready for a preview peek into the aging mirror. I have never considered myself vain, but I would like to be slimmer and keep a more youthful appearance. Is it hopeless? The problem isn't my mother -- it's me. -- AFRAID OF DESTINY

DEAR AFRAID: It's not hopeless. Biology doesn't have to dictate one's destiny. Your diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous effect on your appearance in 20 years. Also, men and women seem to have aged more slowly in recent decades than they did in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

If you want reassurance, drag out some old family albums and take a look at how your aunts, uncles and grandparents looked at your age. Please don't obsess about something that may not happen because nothing ages a woman like stress.