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    New For December: Been There, Done That: Eight Decades And Counting By Alice Herb: Doing It All Myself

    Doing It All Myself by Alice Herb


    I scramble out of bed. No time to linger. Too much to do. I’m retired, right? What a joke. Prepare breakfast. Clear the dishes. Make the bed. Straighten the apartment. Pay the rent, the electricity, the phone and whatever else is a monthly bill. Answer e-mails. Order new batteries for the phone. Renew the car registration. Have the car inspected. Prepare tax information for the accountant.  Check credit card bills for accuracy. Call to renew prescriptions. Make medical/dental appointments. Clothes to the cleaners, books to be picked up or returned to the library. Grocery shopping. Buy presents for birthdays, etc.  


    Sound familiar? That’s the shortlist. Mercifully, I forget all the things that needed to be done as soon as I’m finished. But when I can’t sleep at night or when I’m in the shower, all the other items on the list come crashing back. Vacation? My decision. Also, my job to make the plan and make the reservations. I do have a travel agent but that doesn’t help when I want to pay with points. Plus, she can’t decide where I want to go or for how long. Even other forms of entertainment, whether theater or movies or whatever, my decision, my plan. Sure, friends make the plans sometimes but not nearly as often as I would like. All my single friends have the same complaint. One friend calls these “First World” problems. And I do recognize how lucky I am that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or if I can stay where I am or if I’m going to live or even how long I can remain independent.  


    All that’s true- BUT the sad truth is I live alone and therefore have to do virtually everything myself. And I’m tired. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t a mini-crisis every day. Take my most recent disruption. Just as I finished refurbishing my apartment and the new carpeting had been laid, my stove acted up, i.e. 2 burners partially rusted out and flames leaped dangerously out.  I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to replace the burners – to no avail. I had to buy a new stove- but how was I going to get the old one out and the new in without damaging the carpeting?  While I was fretting about that, my TV failed. Miraculously I managed to “reboot” and my TV turned on but then the landline wasn’t working. Need I go on? 


    I think I’ve captured your attention because I think many of you are in the same boat. I always think I’ll never be able to resolve this one. And when I do, it doesn’t mean I gain confidence. Rather that I was lucky that I stumbled on the right move. But next time… who knows. You ask where are my children, friends. etc. They all try to help with some issues, such as electronic equipment, Internet/mobile phone apps, etc.- the stuff that 10-year-olds seem to have learned before they were out of diapers. 


    But at least I’m always happy when I go to my writing. At least I know what I’m doing. Oh. Oh, wait a minute. Where is the alignment key on this updated WORD software…….oh no, here we go again…


    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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