January 5-13: Wonder

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.

One thought on “January 5-13: Wonder”

  1. Good morning,

    Glad you had a nice date but sorry she didn’t want to go again. That was a tough question to ask at the beginning of a date–what are your long term goals? Goodness gracious, that’s a little presumptuous on her part, but it did get you thinking. So, I guess that was good. You must spice up your list–even if you never reach those goals. Don’t push yourself into the ground. Hold your head high–you are worth it.

    I hope you cook a lot of rice. Be careful of bugs that appear in these foods. That’s a lot of storage for one person, too. Of course, I don’t do storage. I remember when your Mom and I were going through Mom Mom’s storage on Brigham Street one time. We came across pears that she had canned in 1974 and were black. These needed to be thrown out immediately or someone would have been deathly ill. Always good to check the cabinets and dates on food.

    In November, when we have our Thanksgiving Program (did not happen this year), we have the Walpole Food Pantry bring in their bin and the residents fill it with food. I make an announcement that they are NOT TO CLEAN OUT THEIR CABINETS–that they wouldn’t want outdated cans and neither would the people who use the food pantry. They are just like us but have come upon hard times. You would be surprised what we would find in that bin that got tossed out because they were so outdated. I’ve even found outdated cans in my cabinet, and I don’t buy that much because I eat in the dining room., I do have a few things on hand.

    I’ve been battling bronchitis and a horrible cough for a week. I went to Urgent Care last Monday and was put on a tapered dose of Prednisone for five days, Z-pack antibiotic, Tessalon perles for the cough and using my inhaler. The cough got worse and is junky, so I went back to Urgent Care yesterday morning. I was started again on the Prednisone and Z-pack as well as cough syrup with codeine. I opened the cough syrup, reached for something and knocked the bottle over spilling half of it. I grabbed a napkin and sopped it up and squeezed what I could into a cup and then strained it You’d laugh at me for doing that. I was able to get two tsp. saved. I still have half a bottle, and hopefully will be able to get through that and have the cough gone before it is empty. If not, I had already bought some cough medicine over the counter. I am feeling better today, and I did go to social hour and dinner last night. It was good to eat with people, although my friend Helen stayed clear of me. It was funny to see because it was so evident. I rather chuckled to myself.

    When you talk about where you are “from”–you were born in Connecticut, lived in Massachusetts, moved to California, then to Texas, then to Ohio, and then Texas where your family is now living. Also, Utah for school and Brazil for your mission. It is wherever you feel most comfortable that you could call HOME. Also, you have family in Utah which is awesome, so you are not alone. I was born in Quincy, Massachusetts and lived there until I was 18 months old when my father bought the family house in Forest Hills (Jamaica Plain). I lived there for 75 years and then moved to Walpole. Although I grew up in JP all my life, I love Walpole and consider this my home. It was Uncle David’s home as well, as he lived here all of his life until we were married and he moved to JP. I’m happy for the most part, still miss being with Leif, but at least we are talking and I see him periodically around the campus.

    Well, my sweet nephew, time to read the next letter from you, take my shower and get dressed for the day and eat breakfast.

    Sending you love and hugs.

    Aunt Shirley

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