Managing the Maintenance & Repairs of Life

There’s always something in your life that needs your attention.

Christine Schoenwald
Aug 4 · 3 min read
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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

“It’s always something,” Gilda Radner’s classic SNL character used to say. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Her catchphrase perfectly sums up life.

There’s always something breaking, in need of fixing and, in between, we struggle to keep it all running as smoothly as possible. So, many things demanding our attention and care.

Life is a series of repairs, and the older you get, the less likely you’ll ever catch up, but you keep fixing, mending, and adjusting.

We take on various levels of care for ourselves — even the bare minimum involves dentist and doctor appointments, grooming, and mental health. Our responsibilities double when, in addition to everything we do to keep ourselves going, we take care of our children, elderly parents, or both.

Sometimes we don’t have the energy to manage everything on our To-Do Lists.

We look for workarounds or temporary fixes. We procrastinate and avoid those things we don’t want to do even if we know it’s critical we do them. I’ve wished more than once for an issue to disappear, and rarely has it gone away on its own.

If you ignore the broken, it doesn’t fix itself but instead, gets worse.

There are the people who are up to date with all their scheduled maintenance or who fix everything at the first sign of disrepair, and even they still can’t prevent things from breaking down.

Parts can be hard to find and expensive, and you may have to learn how to live without it.

Although you practice self-care, live a healthy lifestyle, and treat your body like a temple — it’s still going to break down. The broken pieces may be easy fixes or will never snap back as they were.

It’s almost impossible to get ahead all the life repairs because once you start feeling self-satisfied, you’ll get sent a curve-ball, and something unexpected will break.

A couple of years ago, I took a low-impact, go-your-own-speed aerobics class. I have osteoarthritis in my knees, so I knew to avoid jumping. I did water-aerobics and thought I’d be able to handle the class, which was not the case.

By the end of the class, I was exhausted and could barely move.

When I went to see my knee doctor, he recommended doing the class for small increments of time and building up my stamina.

“You don’t go from zero to a hundred, especially in a car which has many miles on its speedometer,” he said.

I thought I was mindful of my abilities and health-limitations, but my body showed me I was wrong.

No matter how hard we try to keep in front of it, time affects our bodies.

Regular maintenance isn’t a guarantee things won’t fail you or self-destruct. The healthiest person I know still had to have hip surgery before he was sixty.

There are always a lot of repairs which need to be done.

On my list of high-priority repairs are a broken toilet, damaged window screens, a potential cavity, and a lemon tree in need of pruning. Those repairs are just the start — if I wrote a complete list, it would go on and on.

Sometimes in the process of fixing one thing, we break another — it’s a never-ending cycle, and it can be frustrating and disheartening.

What can help is to try changing your perspective — maybe these repairs aren’t a burden, but a way to keep you focused, growing, and surviving.

If we had nothing to fix, we’d be bored out of our minds.

We need projects, tasks, challenges, and goals to feel as if we have a purpose. Fixing the loose screw on the dresser drawer may not be life-changing, but it’s enough to make you feel some sense of accomplishment.

Let the ever-growing list of repairs, upgrades, and stopgap measures remind you that they’re part of life and use them to motivate you to get up in the morning and keep going.

Crow’s Feet

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.”

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Christine Schoenwald

Written by

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm. Christineschoenwaldwriter.com

Crow’s Feet

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” (Frank Lloyd Wright) Non-fiction pieces, personal essays, occasional poems and short fiction that explore how we feel about how we age and offer tips for getting the most out of life.

Christine Schoenwald

Written by

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm. Christineschoenwaldwriter.com

Crow’s Feet

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” (Frank Lloyd Wright) Non-fiction pieces, personal essays, occasional poems and short fiction that explore how we feel about how we age and offer tips for getting the most out of life.

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