Driving Through Memories

Right now (not literally right now since I would never write and drive) I also driving through Utah and it has been one memory after another. It is always so fun to come through the areas of your childhood.

I saw the gas station where my dad didn’t pay for his gas and got pulled over by the cops for it.

I saw the Mexican restaurant my wife and and stopped at on our honeymoon in Price that had the most amazing quesadilla and tortillas I have ever had.

I drove through the beautiful Spanish Fork Canyon where I once saw a massive herd of elk.

I saw the place where we picked up a stranded couple with their two small children on our way back from having been snowed out of Canyonlands, in April.

It really hit me as I was driving these roads how many great memories I made in Central Utah, and the incredible beauty that exists here. I was so blessed with people who installed a love of nature and adventure growing up. I’m glad other people love cities, and I don’t mind visiting, but I would gladly love in the mountains for the rest of my life.

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I Get to Spend a Whole Week With My Family

One of the super fun things about moving and starting somewhere new is that you have no vacation time. Unfortunately, that has meant that we haven’t been able to really go anywhere and do much fun together.

Now it’s spring break though, and even though I will miss out on some pay, I am super excited to get a whole week with my Queenie and kiddos. One of the other awesome parts of this trip is I get to see my great little sisters, unless they are too cool for me now.

On top of that we are also going to visit some friends that we met in China last year when we were adopting our son. We haven’t seen her in almost a year, and we actually never met him so it will be great to see them again. They also have a helicopter and snowmobiles so it is going to be an awesome week.

My biggest complaint in life is that I don’t get to spend more time with my family. It is the hardest part of my life trying to manage working and being with my family. I am not independently wealthy, so for now that is just reality, but this is one week where it will all be about family.

It’s Important to Know Your Limits

I was supposed to fly again last night. In fact it was supposed to be my longest flight yet. It was also going to be at night, and the furthest I had flown yet. But it was a bad idea.

I already had flown five flights in three days and in the middle of that fifth flight I realized I needed to let my body catch up. I really didn’t want to, but an important part of life is realizing where your limits are, and stopping well short of them.

I could have totally gone and flown and I am confident I would have been safe, but why risk it? Why go and try and learn when your mind is telling you it needs a rest. As fulfilling as it can be to push through the tired and get things done, it shows a lot of good sense to call it off when you know you should.

To be clear I am not talking about being lazy and using fatigue as simply an excuse. I still came home and pounded ten fence posts into the ground. I am talking about learning who you are and realizing where your limits are. At the same time learning to expand those limits is also an important part of learning and growing. If we didn’t have people who were willing to extend their limits, and the limits of society, progress would be almost non-existent.

Have You Ever Flown a Plane by Yourself?

No?

Well you totally should!

In keeping with yesterday’s theme, I am in the middle of training to get my private pilot certificate, and yesterday I took the plane up by myself for the very first time. It was just an incredible feeling.

I started training about 10 years ago, but it got way too expensive for my life at the time so I stopped. I got a little more training from the Air Force, but I’m a navigator not a pilot so it was limited. When I started back up about a month ago, I was really struggling with landing smoothly, and landings are kind of important when you are flying a plane. So I had been a little anxious about going up by myself with no one to save me if I dick it up.

Fortunately, my landings had been much better my last couple of flights so I was feeling pretty confident when my instructor climbed out and I was all but myself, about to do something I had dreamt of doing since I was a little kid. I will spare you all of the details, which you can find later on my aviation blog, aviationguy.com, but I will tell you it was the most liberating, free feeling I may have ever had in my life.

Flying is already something that I find incredibly peaceful and enjoyable being up in the sky overlooking everything and getting a view that so few people will ever experience. However, being the one at the controls and feeling the plane cut through the air at my command is truly an indescribable feeling. That may seem a little like I just don’t want to go to in descriptive detail, but I honestly don’t have adequate words to describe it.

While flying is my thing, you can feel the same way about whatever your thing is, just go and do it. Life is meant to be experienced and enjoyed not just sitting behind a desk through school and then at a job for 40 years. If you can’t get out and get your heart racing, or get so excited that you just yell, which is what I did after flying by myself yesterday, then you are missing out on this great adventure called living. Money is only a thing that will never bring you happiness, and while it is necessary to have some in order to fill your needs, it is the experiences of life which truly bring us the most joy and fulfillment.

So whether your thing is flying, hiking, or even home decorating, stop wishing you were doing it, and go freaking do it. You will never regret persistently pursuing your dreams.

Why Don’t We Spend More Time Doing What We Love?

Yesterday was just an all around fantastic day, and today and tomorrow should be for the same reason. I not only got to fly my beloved C-130 for work through some incredible mountain valleys, I also got to fly in a small plane as I work on my private pilot certificate.

It is something I have wanted to do since I was a little kid, and even started about ten years ago, but it just got too expensive at the time. It is even more expensive now, but I just could not wait any longer. So I jumped in head first, and have had more fun up in the air then I can remember having anywhere in quite some time.

All told I spent about 4.5 hours flying yesterday and loved every minute of it. I just can’t figure out why I didn’t start this sooner, and why we as a people don’t spend more time doing the things that bring us the most joy?

I know that my excuses were that I didn’t have the time or money to do it, but that is all they were, excuses. My financial position and time commitments have not changed recently, but my enjoyment level has because I stopped making excuses and just went for it.

My question to you all is what is one thing that you absolutely love doing that you wish you could do more of, and what is keeping you from doing it?

Sometimes even just thinking very specifically about those two questions is enough to help you find a way to do it more often.

It may require sacrifice like less sleep or no more Starbucks for awhile, but in the grand scheme of things those will be minor sacrifices compared to the enrichment you will experience in your life.

So take a minute to honestly assess where you could be happier, and then get to work making it a reality. The only person stopping you from being happier is you, so get out of your own way and make it happen.

Why Does Food Bring Us Together?

I really love food. There are just so many delicious options and combinations out there. You can take the same ingredients and with just one or two adjustments make a significantly different meal.

One thing that is incredibly fascinating about food is how it brings people together. Pretty much every church activity I have ever been to involved food of some sort. When you help someone move they generally provide donuts or pizza. When babies are born we often make food for the new family. At weddings we always have food and drinks. Even when someone dies it is common to share a meal together.

So why do we always eat together? My thought is that food is one of the great unifiers. No matter who you are or where you come from, we all have to eat if we want to stay alive. Food is also something that is universally enjoyable. While we don’t all enjoy all of the same foods, there are common staples that are widely enjoyed and give us a common ground from which to start conversations and build relationships.

While it would be easy to overlook food as simply necessary to sustain life, I really feel that it plays a much more important role in the social dynamics of our society.

Change Can Be a Good Thing

Change is one of those things that is a real mixed bag for people. Some people absolutely hate change in any way. While other people change so much and so often it is hard to really know who they are.

Personally I have almost always enjoyed change. That may be because my young life was full of so much change that it is my normal, but I am actually grateful for this adaptability in my life.

One of the cool things about being Mormon is that we have specific boundaries for our church units. We don’t pick a church based on the pastor or music or any other of a number of reasons. Instead we are organized geographically so that you go to church with those you live close to. The blessing of this organization is that we are nearby our fellow ward members so that we can take care of each other. I can’t begin to tell you the number of ways this has blessed me in my life, but suffice it to say that it has.

Yesterday the boundaries of our wards were realigned because the metrics of the different units were very uneven. This was a traumatic thing for many people who had been with these same people for many years. For us, who had only been here about 7-8 months, it was not as big of a deal. We are also used to change having lived in 7 different wards in our 11 years of marriage. In fact, my Queenie and I were actually excited about the change because we hadn’t really felt a connection with many of the people we had been with. It would have come with time, but it just hadn’t yet. No one is to blame here, you just don’t always click with people.

We are excited to meet with this new group of people with great hope that we will make new friends and feel much closer to them. Change is an inevitability in life, and can also be very scary. The awesome thing about it though, is that change provides great opportunities for us to grow and learn. I look forward to those opportunities as we embrace this new change in our lives.