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    Been There, Done That: Eight Decades And Counting By Alice Herb: Time Is Relative, Change Is Certain, But Oh What Toil And Trouble

    Time Is Relative, Change Is Certain, But Oh What Toil And Trouble By Alice Herb


    As I grow older, years zip by at a faster and faster pace. I remember clearly when a year was a lifetime. Now I barely have time to make New Year’s resolutions before the next New Year’s Eve is upon me again. But then, I no longer have to go to work. And that’s a lucky thing because, like an old car, I need a lot of maintenance and that takes time. It drives me nuts, though it makes my friends and family laugh. At least a kind friend suggested I’m not just any old car but a vintage Rolls. While that made me feel much better, it didn’t simplify my morning or later ablutions.


    Just think what it means to wake up in the morning and contemplate an hour to get ready to meet the world. You have to know who I am to understand why this annoys me. I always knew that the difference between doctors and lawyers was starting work at 8:00 AM instead of 10: 00 AM. The morning sun I knew was injurious to my health and doing anything before Noon was obscene. Of course, having children and a job changed that, but I acquiesced reluctantly and never really changed my outlook. In college, I had my jeans and shirt ready to jump into so that I could sleep until 10 minutes before my first class. When I started working, there was no contest between sleep and makeup. I was a nature girl, albeit with smart clothes.


    I always saw myself as the night owl carousing until the wee hours, a Martini or Scotch in hand. Or reading or writing what I should have been doing by day but finally settled down when the lights turned off, darkness was complete and the only noise I heard was the refrigerator motor.


    Now, forget about it. By 11:00 PM, my eyes are drooping and I can’t stay awake.  When I wake up in the morning between 7:00 and 8:00 AM, I am confronted with EXERCISE. To keep my old bones moving and my joints from aching,  


    I now have to do a half-hour of stretches and limbering routines. REPAIR WORK. Next, I have to work on my head. Because of my extensive dental problems, my mouth, my eyes, and my nose all need special attention. Floss my teeth, brush them, and then Waterpik them. Medicate my eyes – drops that flood and burn – to increase tear production then lubricate them to combat dry eye. Lavage my nose, spray two different types of drops into my nose, and then dab Vaseline into each nostril.  Now maybe I am ready for my shower if I am not too exhausted from all this activity.


    Of course, I haven’t had breakfast yet and I have to remember to drink a glass of water to stay hydrated. No short-term memory loss allowed. There’s too much to remember and it’s too bothersome to make a list.  When I finally enjoy the luxury of a shower, I have to face slathering my back, knees, and shoulders with gels that will quell the pain I endure on bad days. And I always have to cream my face, arms, feet, and legs to moisturize the parchment I used to call skin.  I think saying that it took an hour was optimistic because, with all that stuff I’ve just applied, I have to allow the stuff to dry before I get dressed. But I am not completely dressed until I clean and put on my hearing aids! And they need new batteries way too often.


    I am now supposedly ready to meet the world but I am not done with maintenance. Twice a week I have one on one Pilates workouts. On average I have at least one, often two, dental or periodontal appointments a month. Add into the mix periodic appointments with my ophthalmologist, otolaryngologist, physiatrist, and geriatrician. I have to stress that I am a lucky person, robustly healthy without any major problems except for my teeth- the cost of which hurts more than the procedures. (My teeth are my Tesla or perhaps as a friend suggested, my Bentley. I think my Rolls.)


    I’ve probably forgotten an item here and there but now time is relative and shrinking becomes more plausible. I haven’t even mentioned basic housekeeping – cleaning, marketing, or cooking or keeping up with the news events of the day – and by now I have used up a large part of my waking hours. Is it any wonder that I feel as though I am racing to eternity at an ever-quickening rate? But eternity will have to wait until I finish my morning routine!


    How does your morning routine go? Email me at and let’s talk about it!


    Alice Herb is a retired attorney, journalist, and bioethics consultant. Having reached the age of 85+, she’s more than ready to share her experiences and opinions with agebuzz readers. Want to comment on something she’s said? She welcomes your feedback at


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