Jen Gienapp: The Aging Process

Monday, February 11, 2013 - by Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp

I’m getting old.

I don’t really mind it, too much, because I know where I’m headed, after this life on earth, and can’t wait to get there, in God’s timing.

But I find it intriguing, nonetheless, noticing my own aging.

When I was in my 30’s, I took great delight in running a rented jackhammer in our backyard, to break up an old sidewalk. It gave me such a feeling of power and accomplishment. I hauled so much debris out of our house to the dumpster, and split a bunch of logs with a sledgehammer. I helped my husband with any number of home-improving projects we had going on in our 100-year-old house in St. Elmo. We lifted, dragged, pushed, carried a host of heavy objects, and climbed up on 12-foot ladders, in the process. I wasn’t scared, nor was I ever winded or tired.

But today, I was struck with how I’m aging.

We’re having a well water pressure problem, and we need to get to the bottom of it, so to speak.

In an effort to spare my husband the headache, in figuring out what is wrong, I headed out to the well to figure out what kind we have, specs needed for research, pricing, etc. It’s only 200 feet from our house, but in snow and 15-degree temps, I wasn’t pleased or happy. But I went, with crowbar in hand.

The top of the casing is a concrete one, about three feet in diameter, and two inches thick. “I can so DO this,” I determined, thinking of my jackhammer days. After a few minutes, I realized I could get the lid off, but then, what if I couldn’t get it back on after writing down all the pertinent information? With temps so low, I was worried our pipes would freeze, so I resignedly crow-barred it back into place, to wait for later. I trudged back to the house, uphill, in the snow, and nearly had a heart attack. I could hardly breathe, and I had to sit down to make sure my heart didn’t give out.

I can’t remember anything anymore, either. I tell my kids things, and they say I’ve already told them the same thing, THREE times (or more).

My eyesight is going. I went to an optometrist, right before moving from Chattanooga, two years ago, and my eyes checked out fine. He told me, though, that at around 40, I should expect problems. I’m headed into 44, and it seems I was living on borrowed time, because I can’t read medicine bottles or labels on things in the grocery store, without moving them five or six different times from my eyes.

My joints pop and sometimes hurt. In the morning, after I get out of bed, I sound like a popcorn popper, and I fear I'll wake up my husband, just walking across the room. I take a lot more Advil these days.

My hair is graying. It’s not something I worry about, but I did buy a hair-coloring kit. Very few people ever see me, because I work at home, but I think it’d be kind of fun, just for the heck of it.

All in all, I’m not sad. Really, I’m just kind of interested, as I watch it all unfold.

I talked to my great-aunt, who is entering her 90th year, and realized, there’s still a lot of life to live, and I will live it, happily, no matter what the aging brings.

(Jen Gienapp and her husband, Andy, made the move from Chattanooga to Cheyenne, Wyoming. She can be reached at emmegab@gmail.com)


This Week In The Arts

This week in the Arts:  Special Events      The Jazzanooga Jazz Festival continues throughout the month of April and includes events such as Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard in concert on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Tivoli Theatre, and a JazzWalk 2014 Parade on Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on MLK Boulevard. For a full schedule of events, please visit www.jazzanooga.org ... (click for more)

Road Closure For Tree Removal

The 2900 block of Westside Drive, between South Crest Road and East 29th Street, will be closed on Friday from noon until 4 p.m. for an emergency tree removal. (click for more)

Berke Names Fred Fletcher, Of Austin, Tex., New Chattanooga Police Chief

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that Fred Fletcher of Austin, Tex., is his pick for Chattanooga Chief of Police. With 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Mr. Fletcher has served in an executive, command, or supervisory role for 12 years.  As commander in Region III of the Austin Police Department, Mr. Fletcher spearheaded community initiatives including a drug market ... (click for more)

Child, 23 Months, Found Dead In Crib With Fentanyl Patch On Back; Death Ruled Homicide

A 23-month-old Chattanooga boy has been found dead in his crib with a Fentanyl patch on his back. The death of Demarcus Bryant at 7655 Borris Dr. last month was ruled a homicide. An autopsy report says he died from "Fentanyl patch placed by someone else." Chattanooga Police are investigating. No one has yet been charged. The child was found face down in his crib. ... (click for more)

A Slap In The Face To Local Police Applicants

Little Andy has once again shown what he thinks about the Chattanooga Police Department by ignoring all the applicants from within the department. There were several great candidates within the police department that had as much experience as the chosen one from 1,000 miles away. This is a slap in the face for any officer who is at the Chattanooga Police Department who has aspirations ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Northwestern Players Vote

The National Labor Relations Board, 0-1 this week after the United Auto Workers cancelled a hearing one hour before it was to begin in Chattanooga, has another chance for a last-minute finish today. In what will be under a more harsh light, the Northwestern University football team is expected to vote on whether to become a union Friday morning. Yesterday afternoon there remained ... (click for more)