Pick your persona.

Better ideas.
Jan. 3 2002 2:55 PM

Pick Your Persona

Do it now, before you get old and somebody picks it for you.

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So, add this to your list of resolutions—put it at the bottom so it's still there when you've given up on all the rest: I will start now to become the octogenarian (nonagenarian if you've got the guts) of my choice. Gradually adjust your gait (curmudgeons stalk, martyrs creep up, etc.), your manner of speaking (grande dames may want to acquire a mild case of Locust Valley lockjaw, roués might pick up a few phrases en français)—and, if your role demands it, start making subtle inquiries about the choice of a plastic surgeon. Good luck, or, as they say in showbiz (which after all is what we're talking about), break a leg! Just be careful not to break your hip.

Jodie T. Allen, a grande dame manqué, is business editor and columnist at U.S. News & World Report.