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By Jesse Utz 

A list for the rest of your life

Jess Shut Up


So, let’s say someone said to you, “You can only take 10 things with you for the rest of your life.” All of the rest of your stuff will be destroyed, and the clothes on your back don’t count against you. What do you take?

My mind instantly goes to survival mode, thinking of knives, guns, ammo, filters and so on. But soon I become overwhelmed. I know I will want at least one picture. What about food? Does my wife count as an item and does she get to bring 10 things too? Can I choose 10 friends and select their 10 things? My mind soon becomes overwhelmed with memorabilia, food, survival gear, and loved ones, making the task of picking 10 things to pack with me the rest of my life almost impossible.

So, first I must make some priorities or decide what my priorities are before any decisions are actually made. My family, my God and survival: those seem to be the big three. So I know this. Whether she comes with 10 things of her own or not, I will select my wife (1) as one. I will also bring my Bible (2), my hunting knife (3), my 30-06 and ammo (4, 5). This is where things start to get messy on my list. It is half full and I have many items I think I need, but I’m not sure they are a must-have. I am assuming I am wearing my tennis shoes at the time and will, of course, need to add a pair of boots (6). A large, two-person sleeping bag (7) seems to also be a great item to have.

Now I am at a point of no return. Somehow, I believe that the first items were all pretty simple and must-haves, although Levi will continuously debate me on item one. Not necessary, he will say. One thing that is necessary is a water source. So instead of bringing water I will bring something to filter water (8) and a jug to carry it in (9). Now the last item. Somehow I have a feeling number 10 will either break me or make me for the rest of my life.

My first thought is to go survival again, but then I want to go sentimental. I just don’t know which way to go. Electronics of any kind are a definite no-go. Not reliable and won’t last very long. More weapons are a thought, but I must be forgetting something important. I don’t want to make a big mistake, but inevitably I will need something that I do not bring. A coat is also very close to being the last item, but I just cannot pull the trigger on that item. So my mind flip flops back and forth.

Then the “Aha!” moment occurs. I will never be happy with my list. I live in a world of too much stuff. We think we need all these things that we surround ourselves with, and we just keep filling up the space. Sports memorabilia, gadgets, trophies, clothes and other non-essential things that we think we can’t live without that don’t even make the top 100 when we construct an items-of-importance list. We are all hoarders, really. Some are just worse than others. We try to comfort ourselves with stuff filling every bit of space with inanimate objects that really mean very little to us at all.

So what was the 10th object I took as I walked away from everything else, hand in hand, with my bride? The truth is it doesn’t really matter what the 10th thing was. I had her and my Bible. The rest of the stuff might be needed and it might not. I know where my provisions come and, if I trust in that and what I know in my mind, then the other eight things on the list are just things on a list. But if you must know, garlic salt. I’m just saying.

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