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

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