Sunday, January 5th, was a life-changing day. Let me explain. There has been this lady I wanted to go out with for some time now, Hannah M. She is a student at the law school, works at the MTC, is in the stake RS presidency, and has a shift at the temple. In one word, BUSY. Finding a time that would work was tough. Finally, the stars aligned, and we set up a date for Sunday January 5th, right after break and before things became crazy again. She lives just a few houses down, and after picking her up, we were off to the nursing home to sing. While driving there, and as we were having an already mature conversation, she turns and asks me, “So Hunter, what are your goals for the new decade?”
I had nothing. Sure, there are some longer-term goals I have, and that I shared to adequately answer her question, but I realized that I did not have anything, I repeat, not a single goal that I wanted to accomplish by 2030. It was a HUGE wake-up call for me. I knew that I was coasting too much, and needed to set better goals. Goals with defined action plans and with a clearly defined timeline.
We had a great time singing, then went to my Robert and Hailey’s new apartment in Orem for some games and cookies. We played Boggle and Bananagrams. I won a few and held my own against some tough competition. I’ll skip ahead and say that I had a great time, and was thoroughly impressed by Hannah. She has her life together. Alas, while she said it was the perfect first-date, and she enjoyed our time together, when I asked her out a few days later, the reply was negative as she is not looking for anything serious at this point with everything else going on. Timing, that fateful friend has spoken again.
Nevertheless, I think that I received exactly what I needed: a big kick to the behind to be more productive and planned. The rest of the week I spent serious time thinking about what I wanted to accomplish this decade. I added additional goals for the rest of this year and really tried to imagine where I would like to be on December 31, 2029.
As part of this exercise, I looked back on some past goals from when I came home from off my mission, which was the last time I set longer term goals. The crazy thing is, I accomplished almost every single one. And the list was long. Some whimsical, some much more important, and that I’m quite proud of.
Read 50 books per year: check
Make my own salad dressing: check
Make my own deodorant: check
Bench press 225 pounds: check
and on and on it went.
Goals make a difference. If it’s not written down, it’s only a wish.
As I pondered, I realized that without goals, you move from crisis to crisis. There will always be something calling for and trying to claim your time. Goals can supersede these expediencies and help us to rise above them.
I started on my first goal almost immediately. I went to the storehouse in Lindon and started buying food storage. I’ve done well at having enough food to last me a month or two, keeping about 75 pounds of floor, 10 pounds of potatoes, and 20 pounds of rice on hand. Now, it’s time to get serious. I bought enough unground wheat, beans, and oats. all stored in metal #10 cans, to last me 6 months. I wanted to research a few things, and next week I’ll get the rest of the supplies to last me a full year.
On Tuesday, after going to the gym, I was running on BYU’s campus and guess I didn’t see a ??? and completely messed my ankle up. At that time, my car was parked 50 yards away. It might as well have been miles. I stood in the cold on one leg wondering if I should try to make it, or call someone for help. Eventually, I hopped over and made it the short drive back home. I didn’t go to work the next two days and my roommate bought a pair of crutches for me at DI. I couldn’t put any weight on it. Conclusion: 1. The pain lasted for weeks. I ran for the first time this week (Feb. 8) more than one month later. Definitely the worst injury I’ve had. 2. I’ve long wondered if I was still flexible enough to do a somersault, and when my ankle rolled, I straight crumpled, falling down and naturally going into a roll. Kind of wish that part was film. In my mind, it looked pretty cool, and my question has been answered. In the right scenario, I’ll be ready.
Random thought: There was a recently discovered consequence of moving schools so much. I haven’t kept up with anybody from Massachusetts and almost no one from Texas. It’s amazing to look at some of my classmates and see where they are now. Thank you facebook. The world shrinks if you let it.
The thing is, I don’t fit in anywhere. While in Utah, I say I’m from Massachusetts. Basically, I generally choose the farthest place possible from where I’m currently at. If I move back to New England, will I say I’m from Utah, from Texas, from Ohio? I know I won’t say Massachusetts. Again, the truth is, I know more about the culture of Ohio/West Virginia or Texas than Massachusetts.
It’s another, perhaps the final opportunity to redefine myself. I just wonder if the reality is different than the expectation. I don’t know entirely what to expect. The idea that I could be wrong is scary.
Right now, leaving Utah is in itself scary. I’m comfortable. It’s easy. I’m used to everything. I know what I like and what I don’t like. Very few question marks remain, and if I want to, those are easy to avoid. In conclusion, it’s easier to think about doing something, even regretfully thinking about what might have been, than to put your shoulder to the wheel and go after it, knowing you might fail. Because that means you failed. The only question is, when that day comes, because it will for every single person, what will you do?
Reading Alma 24:20, I was struck by a new insight. The Anti-Nephi-Lehites famously gave up all of their weapons so that they would never fight again, and could know Christ. This is admirable and noteworthy. Here is the verse:
“And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they anever would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and bcovenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would cgive up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.”
The takeaway reading this time for me was the line, “rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him.” It is not enough to only get rid of our sins. We must be willing to relinquish ALL, that we might be able to truly know Christ. These people didn’t immediately give up all, they gave up their sins, but were WILLING to give up all. If we aren’t, then whatever we are holding back is more valuable to us than Christ. As has been said previously, if the Kingdom of God is not first, it doesn’t matter what is second.