Balancing Act

Celebrating 40th birthday with a 10-year to-do list

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Birthdays

Birthdays (Angelika Schwarz / Getty Images)

Which universally accepted truth I believe: "People change." Or, "People don't change." (I've said them both.)

The answers to an astounding number of my kids' questions. ("How fast do planes fly?" "What's the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane?" "Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?" "What makes lightning?")

Lay versus lie.

The proper speed at which to pull a seat belt around a kid so that the seat belt obliges, rather than stubbornly locking upon first yank and steadfastly refusing to budge no matter how many profanities you hurl toward it.

How to talk to my only brother.

How to apply makeup that doesn't leave my face looking like it belongs on a different neck.

How to speak a single foreign language.

How "Moby-Dick" ends. Or begins, for that matter. Never read it.

What compels me to read, instead, articles like Real Simple's "A-to-Z Guide to Cleaning Almost Anything," knowing full well I will never, ever clean my ice-maker.

How to answer, "Mom, why don't you use your phone voice when you talk to us?"

What to do with kale.

How to make any kind of sense out of the Dow Jones industrial average.

What to talk about in elevators.

Whether allowance is teaching my kids financial literacy or turning them into self-interested layabouts who won't lift a finger unless they're paid.

How to spell vacuum. (Have to look it up every time.) Same with rhythm, vicious and khaki.

How to clear my browser's cookies.

What to make for dinner.

Whether I'm too old to wear leggings.

Willing to share the thing (or things) you still don't know? Send an email to

hstevens@tribune.com.

Twitter @heidistevens13

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