It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden change of direction at the bottom.
It’s not necessarily the disaster that kills you. It’s the severe dislocation of normal societal systems and the chaos and peril associated with it that comes in the two weeks, to a month, to six months following a major disaster that’s really going to determine whether or not you survive. I say this because as a society, we are completely and totally dependent on our wholly integrated, just in time delivery systems to supply us with the basic necessities required for life. Our water, our food, the energy we use to power everything that makes this super sized, got to have it right now society of ours whir, it’s all at our fingertips. The unpalatable truth of our reality is that most people have completely lost touch with all that it takes to procure these basic necessities of life for ourselves. The really frightening part of this situation is that most in our society do not or will not recognize the fact that by a whole boatload of metrics we are already falling, but because fresh water still flows from the tap, there is food on the shelves when you go to buy and there is still relatively inexpensive gasoline at the pumps when you go to fill up, people are able to turn a blind eye to the nation’s ills because they believe they do not impact them personally. This of course is a fallacy, but normalcy bias is a powerful thing and the majority chooses to simply not acknowledge the problems they see all around them because it’s just easier. Never mind looking to the future and where we may end up if we continue on our current trajectories as a nation, most folks only care about next weekend.
The unfortunate truth is that you will stop falling at some point and that’s when things get ugly. That is when reality demands a cold, hard stop to the continuations of life as we know it and we are forced to make a new way forward. Or we don’t.
When faced with this new reality, most people will have a very difficult time because they do not have the tools or the skill set necessary to take care of themselves.
So what do I say?
1. Embrace a big picture, long range viewpoint in an effort to see the unhinging before it happens. This will give you a chance to spot when trouble is ahead and begin to take steps to get better prepared to handle it. Educate yourself about the most probable threats for your area to start and grow your threat matrix from there.
2. Develop a plan to navigate these disruptions that best fits your circumstance based on your capabilities whatever they are. Everyone can prepare. Don’t waste your time worrying about a hurricane if you live in a desert. Focus your planning and tailor it to suit your needs. Furthermore, it does not matter what your limitations may be, there are very useful ways for everyone to become better prepared. Remember, knowledge doesn’t have to cost anything to attain and weighs even less.
3. You can’t know the future for certain, so learn practical skills and don’t just acquire stuff. There are more than a few folks out there that want to sell you the latest gadget or piece of gear, but if you don’t know how to use all that stuff it will do you no good. Skills learned, practiced and verified in the back yard or on a family camping trip will most likely be way more valuable in the long run. Acquiring these skills will make you flexible and adaptable and you will be able to use them any time.
4. Know your tribe. You may be a verifiable bad ass, but none of us can effect sustainable, long term survival by ourselves in the long run. Figure out who in your circles is of a like mind now before the storm rolls in and begin to take steps to strengthen those relationships. You will want to surround yourself with people you know you can trust, that are hard working individuals that understand the importance of team concepts, that most likely share your general world views and who will excel in any area that you may not be as strong. You will be glad you did.
5. Enjoy life, but keep your eye on the ball. Most of us prepare because we want to be able to take care of our family should we ever find ourselves in a bad situation and every one of us should be proud of that fact. With that said, don’t allow yourself to become so focused on your preparations that you lose sight of why you’re working so hard to get ready in the first place. Remember to make time to enjoy your family, friends and loved ones now while the world is still rolling along. There may be dark days in the future, but while the sun is shining get out there and embrace the good times with those you care about. Take a vacation, play with your children and take your wife or husband out to a nice dinner. Live your life! Isn’t that what it’s for? Preparedness will never fall completely out of focus for people like us because it is a fundamental part of who we are, so don’t worry about that. While you’re out there doing the hard work of preparedness day after day, just be sure to remember to take a little time to enjoy the good stuff. Those people you are working so hard for will appreciate and love you for it.