Over the many decades of her existence, Adaline has figured out a comfortable routine that she does not vary from, which gives her a sense of peace and calm in spite of her awareness that she can never have a traditional marriage: every ten years, she uproots, moves, changes her name, and makes a new life, but it is never so different from her old one that she does not keep mementos. She only ever adopts the same kind of pet, and celebrates her birthday every year by having lunch with her daughter. Moreover, she has a deep respect for the past—she loves anything tied to history, her own, that of the city, or simply in general. Once others become aware of her condition, Adaline acts without hesitation – she packs up her bags, says a temporary farewell to her daughter, and leaves. She knows how to avoid being caught, how to get around the laws, and how to keep them in ways that will allow her to go under suspicion. She notices logical things around her, things that might trip herself or other people up (such as noticing that the name given to her by the man making her fake ID doesn’t match his beloved autographed baseballs). She has a good nose for business and an interest in her long-term profits (“I’m a patient woman,” she says, when buying into Xerox). A lot of her decisions are purely practical (her daughter is getting old, and will need to live with her). Adaline prefers to deal with the loss of her pet alone, and tries to establish strong boundaries with other people to keep them at bay, but inevitably her heart intrudes and she starts feeling deeply. But every time, she protects herself first … she reacts out of her own fears and instincts, even when others beg her not to leave. Only when Adaline can confront and deal with her own feelings, her fears, and sense of loss, can she find the strength to stay. She runs away because she’s afraid of change, but she has also learned to adapt and evolve over the years. Though she keeps some things from her old life, Adaline embraces each decade as it comes along. And once things happen to return her to a normal state, she calmly walks toward her future without much fuss. It’s just a gray hair, after all.

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Ever since she first realized she doesn’t age, and escaped from the federal government, Adaline has lived a life of fear and avoidance that has not left her feeling emotionally fulfilled. Her natural self is trusting, outgoing, and eager to connect to people, willing to move toward the new man in her life and to take risks for love. She is funny, good-natured, uses humor to connect to others and make herself seem more approachable, and is cautious. She wants to move in with her daughter so she can take care of her, and for her not to move to another state, because ‘what if something happens? I wouldn’t be there for you!’ She worries by default and is scared of committing to anyone, who might reject her when they find out the truth. She also has leaned hard into her 5 wing; Adaline has a life free of most other human beings. She doesn’t become involved with them, shares no information about them, and is angry when her potential boyfriend finds out her address and shows up there, because it’s a violation of her security and privacy. She tends to withdraw from others to process her grief. The story is about her learning to trust, confide in someone, and let go of her belief that she is condemned to a life lived ‘alone’ that is eternal.

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