25 January 2011

Telling Secrets

I mentioned last week's serious letter from Hannah.  One thing she said was how she felt trust and communication were very important to her in a FEC, and that together we are good at both.

She said that I'm the first guy that she has dated that she felt she could talk about and tell anything.  I KNOW that she's the first girl I've been that way with.  In general, I'm an open person, there's nothing about myself I'm afraid to talk about if it comes up, save one thing.  I have a secret, and with every girl I've dated I've kept it, until Hannah.  I would assume that trying to keep this thing hidden has contributed to the failure of previous relationships.  I also now feel that divulging the secret would have resulted in the same endings anyway.  It's a thing I've kept hidden from everyone but my family until recently, I think telling Hannah, and her accepting it and me, has made me feel like I can be more open about it.  Of course some people weren't as accepting as others and there have been acquaintances that have dissolved as the news has gotten out, but that's life.  You can't keep secrets for that long, eventually pieces of them start getting out, it's one of the reasons I believe in courting for so long before you get engaged.  Of course after reading what I just wrote, that strategy has, in the past, most likely been my eventual undoing.

I guess the difference between now and then is that, before I didn't think any girl would ever accept this secret, I was told they wouldn't, but Hannah has shown me that there are those girls out there that will.


At church this last Sunday I was really welcomed.  I don't really know if it was because people were asked to(the first counselor is from my home ward) or if it was because I resolved to turn off the "leave me alone" vibe I usually emit when I go to church alone.

This week's meeting was nice, one of the speakers was one of my Pioneer Trek brothers, who gave a great talk about having good judgment and listening to the spirit.  Before sacrament I was asked by one of the fellow elders if I wanted to come and sit by he and his friends.  In Sunday School I girl named Brianne introduced herself to me.  She's a cute girl, I had noticed her before sacrament meeting had begun(I'm a sucker for tall-ish girls with long, straight, blonde hair, what can I say?) and I also noticed she had gone through and looked up all of the scripture references for each of the Hymns we'd be singing.  I'm wary of church-y girls, ironic coming from a guy who's waiting for a missionary, I know...

I ended up feeling really welcome at church for the first time in a while, probably since the student ward a couple years ago.

22 January 2011

The Wanderings of a Meandering Mind.

I've been a little stressed this week, I feel like I've been playing Diplomacy non-stop.  A job hunt and interviews, training the new guy at work, another serious letter from Hannah.

I tend to over-focus when I'm under stress, as a coping mechanism my mind wanders any time it's not busy.  The topic really ranges far and wide- what I'd do with super-powers, whether I believe Relativity or String Theory, the future of space exploration, how Heroes could have ended, how well I would do on Survivor, what kind of genetic advantages or disadvantages future children with Hannah might have.

The letter from Hannah wasn't really "bad" serious, I guess I would consider it the beginning of a pre-homecoming discussion- how we've each grown and changed the last year, how to play it when she comes home, etc.  I think we're both a little surprised with how much we're both on the same page with some things.  She says she wants us to be with each other a lot when she gets home, but still have some time alone to re-find herself, I've already mentioned how big of a concern it is for me that she has that.  She thinks I've put her on a pedastal, I probably have in some ways, I'm aware of her faults but I've still found it difficult finding girls who measure up.

Hannah did tell me that she prayed about whether she and I are right to be married to each other.  When I read this sentence my stomach turned, how many times have I heard this story... Girl prays about FEC, gets affirmative answer, guy goes into debt buying the ring so they can be married ASAP.

Tangent Alert:  What's up with guys in Utah going into debt for rings?  Moreover, what's up with the girls thinking they're such geniuses for making the guy pay off the ring before they'll set an actual date?  If I was a chick and a guy went into debt to buy my ring I'd probably say "No."  First off, marriage is a pretty big deal, if you haven't saved to buy the ring in full before proposing I think two things, either the ring is WAY too expensive and you went outside your means to buy it, or you haven't seriously been considering marrying this girl long enough.  Call me old fashioned, but I always though the engagement ring was supposed to be representative of what the man could provide, I've heard that the ring should cost about two pay-checks or one month's pay.  I think that's reasonable, based on my expenses, even playing it safe that's only about three months of saving, plenty of time to consider if I really want to be doing this. 

Back to Live action.

Hannah told me she prayed about whether she and I should get married.  Her answer she feels she got was that she isn't ready to know.  Good answer, I know for a fact we're not ready.  Spoiler:  For those who think that they'll see an engagement announcement here in eight months, I'm going to have to disappoint you.  It's probably somewhat blasphemous to say, but Hannah and I have our own lives, and I hope to some extent we always do.  That's the thing, when both parties are ambitious a young marriage usually(almost always) means someone has to give up their ambition to support the other's ambitions.  I've seen it in just about every young married couple I know, whether friends or siblings.  I guess, to me, waiting two years for marriage is a low price for both parties getting to keep their dreams.  So those of you who I've so recently disappointed, I'm sorry, I don't know about Hannah, but you won't hear about this person getting married for 2.5-3 years at the least.  Doubt me?  You should talk to the girls in my seminary class who scoffed when I said I wouldn't get married 'til 25 at the youngest.

12 January 2011

Nearing a Milestone

For those who've noticed my counter up top I'm closing in the six months remaining.

Sometimes I'm surprised I've made it this far, other times I'm surprised it's been as difficult as it has.  Ever since the phone call on Christmas I've been really excited, which is something I've been trying to avoid.  For the last few months I've been trying to keep my hopes low, but after hearing Hannah's voice, and having REAL communication again my negativity and cynicism on the matter has been shattered.

I find myself wondering what I will do when I see her, probably 7 months from today, for the first time in 1 year, 5 months, and 2 weeks.  I definitely don't want to be a smother-er, the only sister missionary I ever knew got home and was engaged before her second Sunday back.  I will want to be with her as much as possible, but at the same time I don't want to be with her so much that I have an impact on her re-assimilation and subconsciously shape her my way.  I embrace our differences, I like that she'll openly disagree with me, I need that.

The other reason I don't know what I'll do is that I'm afraid.  I'm afraid of becoming attached too quickly and then having the post-mission Hannah be no longer compatible with me.  I guess that's my biggest fear overall.  So many people were surprised that I supported Hannah's choice to serve a mission, a few even made it clear that they felt after a year and a half of dating we should've been getting married instead.  I guess I'm afraid that it won't work when she get's home because that will mean I found a girl that was perfect for me and, not only did I let her get away, I helped her out the door.

I won't deny, Hannah and I have become distant in our letters.  I think it taking nearly a month to get responses to specific question has made real two-way communication impossible.  I'm given hope by the phone call, and how easy talking again was.  I'm hopeful, but I'm trying to be pessimistic.

10 January 2011

New Singles Ward, Take 2

I'm a realist.  This year one of my New Years Resolutions was to have 75%+ monthly church attendance(work permitting).  Since I didn't go last week I have to go the rest of the month.

I decided I didn't like the YSA ward for where I live now.  First it starts at 9AM, I'm sorry, but the church should make some kind of mandate that YSA wards can't start before 11AM.  Second, it was way out of my way.  Third, as I mentioned when I described it the first time, I am the youngest AND the oldest single person in the ward, I seemed to be in a void, too old to be never married, too young to be re-single.

My Dad told me a few weeks ago that they were creating a YSA ward out of our stake, and that they were creating a YSA Ward building.  I figured this was a good opportunity to become more active again.  Is it out of my way, Yes and no, it's like 20 minutes from where I live, but since I've been going to my parents every week for Sunday dinner I'm out there anyway.  It's not bad, even though I am an outsider right now I know a few people from the Home Ward.  Apparently there are just over 200 YSAs in that ward, but only about 20-30% of them are active so sacrament meeting was a little sparse.  Another thing is that they should really take the "S"
out of YSA.  As it was my first time in the ward I spent most of it people-watching like I'm fond of doing in any new group.  I've concluded that in my ward there are fewer single young adults than unavailable ones.

I've never really liked singles wards outside of the activities.  This one already covered two of my pet peeves in the first day I was there.  One, why do the elders always seem to find a reason to get a raise of hands for who's gone on a mission?  I mean how does Zacharias and Elizabeth or Joseph and Mary in Sunday school have anything to do with who's been on a mission?  Two, I dislike the neck-craning that goes on at church, I don't really know why, but it's always bothered me.  Like whenever anyone gets a new calling even though everyone in the ward knows them they all have to crane their necks to find where that person is sitting/standing.  Well in priesthood quorum meeting they asked if there were any new people or visitors.  I never raise my hand at this question, but after asking for volunteers to admit that they're new,the first counselor in the bishopric proceeded to single out every person he didn't recognize, no matter how much some of us were trying to avoid being called out.

Of course I'll still go, the ward shows promise, plus ever since I didn't go on a mission I've learned to separate the religion from the people who observe it.  Here's to 2011 and 75% church attendance.

09 January 2011

Long Distance Relationships; Why they're horrible things.

Every relationship I've been in since High School has more or less been a long distance one.

In some way I've never knowingly entered into a long-distance relationship.  When Hannah and I started dating she was home for the summer, so she was only 5-10 minutes away from my parents home.  Liz was even closer, she lived one floor above me.

That changed eventually, Liz and I moved back home for the Summer, hers was about 45 minutes away.  Hannah moved back down to school about 2-2.5 hours away.  For each I had different experiences, I think with Liz the distance was the beginning of the end, with Hannah some of my favorite memories of us together were the times I'd go to visit.  Even so I don't know if I'd ever enter knowingly into a LDR.  There are a few aspect of a relationship that can't develop living that far away.  For one, there's no spontaneity, you can't just call them up and say, "Hey, let's go do something." everything has to be planned.  That can be a good thing, planning gives you something to look forward to, in the case with Hannah it worked out well because we're both pretty structured, we know when and how to create free time.  With Liz it was a little harder to predict when we'd have free time, in the dorms it was easier because I could pop upstairs for a few minutes.  That could be why things with Liz didn't work over a distance, we got so used to being 15 seconds apart that adjusting to 45 minutes was just to dramatic of a change, going from filling in free time together to trying to plan free time was too much.

As well as things have gone with Hannah I'm still not sure distance relationships in general are worth the hassle, even though I've been in a couple I don't understand how people meet online and pursue relationships over a distance of a state or two.  Beginning a relationship over distance seems like a high-risk, low-return investment of your time.  As I like to say is that at most you're only going to have one successful relationship over the course of your life.  So odds are that you're going to have long distance relationships that fail, and if you were traveling a long distance to be with someone, that's a lot of time, and probably money that's going to seem wasted when it doesn't work out.

I'm not a negative person, there's a good chance a long distance could work out, but that causes a whole new set of difficulties.  One side-effect of being in a relationship with someone is that you tend to want to spend all of your time with them, with a long-distance relationship this is impossible.  You're probably not going to see your LD even close to the amount you want, and every time you do you'll feel rushed to do things together before your time is up.  Of course there are some traits that could assist you in successfully pursuing an LDR.  Being a phone-talker is one of them, I'm not a phone talker, I think I pick up too much on visual cues so speaking over the phone I feel lost, I need to talk face to face or text.  One thing that will be utilized if things with Hannah work out, since she'll pretty quickly move away for school again, is Skype.  Too bad I didn't know about Skype back when I was dealing with LDRs, it probably would have helped a lot.  A few other things that could help a LDRs success:  A job with hours other than the traditional five-eights(my situation luckily), a job with a high rate of PTO accrual, high personal independence, a near by airport, a personal jet?

Right now I feel I'm in the ultimate long distance relationship, it totally sucks all the time.  I was so optimistic at the beginning, but now I would honestly tell anyone who is considering waiting not to bother, it's an unnatural situation.  Let's say hypothetically I met a girl from Price, UT at a party and somehow in the course of a night became crazy about her, would I knowingly enter a long distance relationship from the beginning?  Assuredly No!  It's my opinion that you can MAINTAIN a relationship over great distance, but you can't DEVELOP one.  Unless one of you owns a jet.

05 January 2011

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom...

Until they hit the Canadian border, apparently.

I'm a little frustrated with the United States Postal Service right now.  Today I was informed that Hannah still hasn't received my Christmas gift.  It was expensive for a procrastinator like myself to get a 2lb. 13 oz. package to Canada in 3-5 days, but yet here we are 15 days later and it still hasn't been delivered.  The lesson I'm taking from all of this is that the US Postal Service must not have any jurisdiction in the Great White North, or probably anywhere else outside of the US.  I sent her birthday present via FedEx and it got there exactly when they told me it would, exactly when I PAID for it to arrive.  As I look back I've yet to receive one of the letters that Hannah sent in about mid-August.

Lesson learned- FedEx > USPS

03 January 2011

The Story

Everybody has their relationship story, I guess now that it's been nearly a year it's time I told mine.  I already laid out the background.  As much as I like to tell people when they ask how I met Hannah that "She was one of my high school girlfriend's friends."  I guess I'll go in to a little more detail about how we actually began dating.

It started in early May 2008 when I was helping Hannah and Jessica move their things home at the end of the semester.  Girls have a lot of things, and I was the only male helping pack up their cars.  Even so we all made a day of it, we had a lot of fun.  At the end of the night, after everyone was home and cars unpacked, Hannah and I were talking about our respective summer plans, and we each made sure we had the other's correct phone number.  For the first couple weeks Hannah and I got together every few days to go do something random.  Going to Nickelcade(I don't care how old you are, it's still fun to buy cheaply made prizes with tickets), going on hikes, exploring The Gateway, I still remember the first movie we saw together that summer was Prince Caspian.  After a few weeks we were getting together 5-6 times a week, we weren't dating, we were just friends making the most of our summer.  Thinking back makes me chuckle to myself, at one point we each set each other with a blind date and doubled up, let's just say neither of us have a future in match-making.  

Throughout the Summer we went on these things called Adventure Days, where we'd find a day we both had off of work and we'd fill an entire day, morning to night, with stuff to do.  If any of those had been considered dates they would have been the best.  The last one was the most memorable, we woke up early and went to the Museum of Natural History at the UofU and got in free for being the first visitors of the day.  If you ever get a chance to go to a University museum when no one else is around I highly recommend it.  It was way cool, as we were checking out the area where they clean, cast, and prep the dinosaur bones one of the workers poked their heads out and told us to come in and check out some stuff that wasn't on display.  After the Museum we ran down to The Gateway where the Chalk Art Festival was going on, also totally cool, definitely something to see each year.  We finished off the day at Discovery Gateway.  It's pretty much the new Children's Museum, it has a lot of hands on exhibits geared towards creativity and you can't really go in without your inner-child wanting to run wild, it really takes you back.

By the time August was beginning I came to the horrible realization that I wanted Hannah and I to be more than "Just Friends" and that if I was going to attempt a break from the "friend zone" I only had three weeks to pull it off.  I say it was horrible because anyone who has been in that situation know the inner turmoil that is weighing the risk and reward between remaining friends and attempting to break "the threshold."  I'm big on the pro/con, risk/reward strategy, I approach nearly every situation with it.  I finally decided that I was too afraid to try the just-get-it-out-there strategy and decided that I'd take a more transitional approach.  I eventually stepped out of my completely enamored state and attempted to see if I was getting any hints from Hannah one way or the other, I felt like I was getting the vibe that she was interested in me as well so I set my plan into motion.  Over the last two weeks I began planning more and more serious, intimate activities.

My plan was set.  Her birthday was two days after she moved in back up at school, that's when I'd make my final move and either be victorious or return home in shame and only see her when she came back my direction.  Everything was going according to plan and eventually the day came for her to move back the week before school began.  I was all set to help her move her things back, but unfortunately so was our friend Trevor...

Trevor was mostly Hannah's friend, I had met him through Hannah before and we had done a few things together through out the summer, including going on a group camp out in my favorite spot down in southern Utah.  There were other instances, but this camping trip was when it became really obvious that I had competition.  Many have heard of "woman's intuition," well if males have a gender-specific sixth sense it's how to detect a rival.  The hardest thing about being around Trevor and Hannah at the same time was that Trevor would always completely smother Hannah.  Now this camp out was at the very beginning of the period where I was interested in Hannah.  As hard as it was I resisted the urge, to the best of my ability, to avoid openly competing for Hannah's attention.  Back to the present...

Trevor had also volunteered to help her move, and let's face it, you don't turn down free moving help.  I had planned to stick around for the next day, as Hannah went to school entirely too far away to make two round-trips in a week.  Much to my dismay when Trevor became privy to this information he also resolved to hang around.  Needless to say I was, as were my plans, frustrated.  We ended up all going to dinner for Hannah's birthday together.  My plans were ruined and I had to get back, so I left feeling as though I had failed.

Some people call me extremely stubborn, I prefer tenacious or determined.  That week I decided it was clear that my plan could be recovered, after all I had already laid the foundation, plus I'm nothing if not adaptive.  I asked Hannah if she was coming home that weekend, and when she said that she was not I told her I'd pick her up Saturday night, because I wanted to take her to dinner.  She agreed and days later I was making the trek out once again.  At dinner it was made clear that Hannah felt the same way I did, I told her about my plan from the previous four weeks and we just laughed together.  That night we cuddled and kissed for the first time.  I know, kissing on the first date right?  Pfff... I was justified.  After that I made the trek out every weekend that she didn't go home.

Writing this all has really made me smile tonight, but it's also got me a little down, these days those few hours out to see Hannah seem an even smaller price to pay.  Now I'll go to bed while the happy memories are fresh...