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And if so, what can you do about it?
For many, prepping has been a mission and a passion for many years. It all starts innocently enough. We are bit by the prepping bug and typically start storing some extra water, food, flashlights and batteries in response to a widely publicized natural disaster. Soon we move on to first aid supplies, home defense systems and bug-out-bags. And it goes on from there.
Somewhere along the way, prepping takes over our lives and becomes a significant lifestyle shift. Our spare time is spent planning for the BIG EVENT, be it a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse.
We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear. And still we are compelled to do more.
And so I ask: Is being prepared an addiction, an obsession, or a chore? Can we call it quits if we had to? Do we know when enough is enough? Or are we hoarding? And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?
These are tough questions which we each must answer for ourselves. To get you started, let me offer up some definitions so that you can begin to formulate a response and arrive at some personal conclusions.
- Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
- Obsession: a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
- Chore: a routine or minor duty or task.
- Hoarding: a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.
Perception often blends with reality so what I say next needs to be taken within that context.
In my own household, it seems as though every spare moment is spent learning or doing something related to preparedness. When we shop, foremost in our mind is “would this work if the SHTF?”. We learn new skills and revisit old ones so that we stay current and up-to-date with our survival skills. We garden because we feel we have to and not simply for the joy of it. Even as we consider moving to a different home, the punch list of must-haves is dictated by the need for isolation, storage facilities for three years worth of food, and a place to raise chickens and goats.
This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting! And not only that, with extra money being directed toward the purchase of prepping supplies and gear, the budget often gets stretched to the point were a non-prep related purchase becomes a gut-wrenching exercise in guilt.
This is not an isolated phenomena. The like-minded people I pal around with feel the same way. With a life that was busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities takes precious hours away from the rest of our lives. A breaking point is reached and without realizing what has happened, prepping becomes work.
A Call For Balance In Life
How do you feel? Has prepping taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your every day activities? Or not so much?
To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list:
Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?
Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?
Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of your work, family and prepping activities?
What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?
Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month? What is that?
Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?
When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?
When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?
Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?
I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself, for in spite of the dire outlook for our country and our planet, we still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and, depending on your age, a lifetime.
Be content with the knowledge that you have prepared to the best of your ability and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.
Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession. Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life. Go out for an occasional movie. Have a few beers with friends. Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie. But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.
Being prepared can be a chore, yes. But it can also be a chore with a happy ending.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight Item: 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life
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Bargain Bin: Today I share a mixed bag of items, including a few of my favorite books.
One Second After: For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared. If you have not read this book, you really should.
Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less: The first Peter Walsh book I read was It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and I have to tell you, it inspired me to get rid of the clutter in my life and to start focusing on the things that really mattered. His latest book, Lighten Up, is more of the same and truly an inspiration. Great reads and especially good if you feel you have fell like you are hoarding rather than then prepping.
Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.
Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: An instructional guide and planning tool that addresses defensive preparation of a location. If the government can no longer protect your home, farm or property, Holding Your Ground will teach you how.
550 lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: I wish I had known about Paracord years ago. There is no reason not to have a few hundred feet around your home, in your car, and in your bug out bag.
Magnesium Flint Firesteel Fire Steel Starter: Here is how to use it:
1. Place the flint on ground upwardly, and put the scraper vertically to the flint, then scrape some magnesium powder on inflammable material like paper or branch
2. Place the flint on ground at about 45° and 2.5 cm from the magnesium powder scraped just now, then scrape the flint fast to produce spark so as to light up the inflammable material.
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30 Responses to “Are You Addicted to Prepping?”
This is such a needed article, I’m so glad you tackled it! I belong to several online forums and some folks are just WAY far gone and living in fear and waiting for the Ax to fall. It is so about balance and like everyone else I struggle with finding that sweet spot. I’m not Mormon, but one of the my favorites quotes is from Kimbell “Preparedness when properly pursed is a way of life not a sudden spectacular program.”
I’m showing my house right now to rent, and so it is impossible to hide how much food I have stored. Yesterday a prospective tenate turned to me and said, “Oh…you are Mormon, that’s it!” I smiled, “no, but I do believe as they do in being prepared.” My motto is trust God and prepare as best you are able!
Gaye, does this mean you are moving off that island? If so, that shows me you are becoming more fearful of the future and that bug out site you were looking for, you have found. If you have decided on Ky, let me know and I will give you some rabbits and chickens.
John – No, we are staying put. The island where we live is really an idyllic bug out location because it is difficult to get to. It just happens to also be our primary residence
We did have a very high tech secondary location near Seattle which has now been sold and the money is in the bank. Although it was totally outfitted for survival, it was just too darn close to the woes of urban life. Plus, in taking my own advice, if someone is going to have a second location they can bug out to, it should be geographically away from the same disaster risks.
As far as being fearful? Yes, that is true. I feel a bit impotent to control what happens in the future but can still be ready. My biggest problem is that my preps are woefully disorganized. Anyway, we are still planning to find a BOL aka “cabin”. Can I have some rabbits and chickens even if I do not move to KY? Perhaps in thought, right?
OK, so your not moving but you are renting out your house, you must have more than one house on your island. That’s OK. One of my rabbits just had a few little ones. Do you want the all white, all black, or the black with white markings? I think you need the all white ones. Is that OK?
Just one house. No renters. But we are seeking a cabin somewhere away from earthquake country. Preferably where the weather is more cooperative while gardening in the winter months. Alas, not as far away as Kentucky.
When it comes to the rabbits, I am a-ok with your pick. This is virtual so send over some pictures. Is it okay to name them?
Sure you can name them, but no “cotton” or “floppsie”.
I’ll send pics when I am back from Front Sight. By the way. I received an email from Front Sight yesterday telling me we will have the opportunity to shoot the fully automatic weapon of our choice for $40 a magazine. When I told my grandson and his dad about this, they both (as me also) said to sign them up.
Here is somebody who is obsessed with survivalism: thosefirstfewhours.blogspot.com
preparing for the worst should be an integral part of our life, we should practice being self-sufficient. ~gomowpropane.
I disagree with the definition of hoarding…it’s acquiring ‘stuff’ with the thought it may come in useful ‘later.’ The hoarding starts as the person loses the ability to discern garbage from something useful. i.e. I save jars, but not every jar because I have goals for those I save. If/when the time comes and I can’t/don’t use or reuse those jars, then they are just stuff taking up space and w/o purpose.
As human beings, we are all subject to any of these happening to us. It just takes the right trigger/event. So while some might believe me to be any one of these, that’s their perception. Their experiences aren’t the same as mine so what I do won’t necessarily fit for how they choose to live. I’ve been doing what I do long before I ever heard of prepping or hoarding. I prepare for the lean times during the fat times.
I won’t say I am even partially prepared, for me, it’s an ongoing process. Since I rotate my stores, I regularly go camping and turn any opportunity like the loss of power or water as a chance to sharpen my skills, I couldn’t tell you what it’s called. I just accept it as a part of my life and keep my mind and body learning new skills and sharing what I know when someone asks.
BTW: If some are feeling a sense of urgency, either from being new to prepping or because of their awareness of world events, that’s still not the same as being addicted…it’s more like knowing a winter storm is coming and you have limited time before you won’t be able to do any more prepping cuz it’s here. 😉
What a timely article, for me at least. I have been wondered, lately, if I am addicted to prepping. We are pretty new to prepping, maybe just over a year or so.
We have a month’s worth of freeze dried meals for our family and I have reasonably well stocked pantry of about another 30+ days or so. I am trying a concept that instead of having a stockpile of food that is separate, just for an emergency, that our home is just well stocked and I constantly rotate items out of our pantry, replacing them with newer. I have a goal of 6 mo of food.
Everyweek at the grocery store I try to buy a little bit extra, an extra canister of salt, grab 2 cans of pineapple instead of 1, etc, and it is working. Slow and steady wins the race. But sometimes I start panicking that we don’t have enough. A trip to Costco is sure to set me off. It is a good thing they don’t take credit cards. I would be in BIG trouble.
I just got off the phone with my mom we are planning a big family vacation in the fall. There is a part of me that feels guilty about planning this trip and spending the money on that and then there is another part of me that says YES, do it! I view it as the difference between surviving and living.
After 9/11 I had an airline ticket booked to fly home to see my parents and attend my 10 year HS reunion. My ticket, booked months prior, was for 3 days after they reopened the airports. My mother cried and begged for me not to get on the plane. She begged me to wait and fly with my husband, who was coming later in the week. I asked her what good will that do? She said it would just make her feel better. I wouldn’t because I told her that the terrorists win when they change our lives and make us afraid. I borded that plane and felt a small personal triumph.
I have a bucket list which inclued things like walking as much as possible of the Great Wall of China, seeing Macchu Picchu, shopping in bizzars in India.
I want to live not just survive. Gaye, this is why I love your blog. I love your advice about comfort items. I especially love your canning jars of M&Ms with oxygen absorbers.
**To the tune of: I Have a Thinking Problem by David ball**
Yes, I admit I have a prepping problem, it’s always on my mind
Lists and plans go round and round
I’ve tried to quit a thousand times
Yes, I admit I’ve got a prepping problem
Fill the barrel to the top
I’ll start with beans and rice
But I don’t know when to stop…
Personally i think it becomes a personal choice after a bit.
– when i first started prepping, it was just after i quit my job and times got tough, i had to learn to do things differently to save money. buying things when i had a buck, cleaning out the clearance shelves when there was a bargain i couldn’t afford to pass up, learning to make thing by hand on the cheap to save money. ive been learning to do more thing naturally, learning homemaking skills that would come handy if the electricity went off due to not having the money to keep it on. could i cook food, would i be able to flush my toilet, would i be able to take a bath, things that would take importance should an emergency arrive.
– that’s when i came across a prepping site, after dealing with many hippies, vegans, and another natural DIY sites. the preppers were my kind of people, and had more answers than those other sites. answers i longed for and needed.
– Especially living in Florida watching a Hurricane outside my hotel window, you need survival skills i learned living in the Pennsylvania mountains on a back road with no groceries/ flat tire/20 miles out of town, In a small town in Nebraska with the fresh snow burying your house from a Blizzard, or watching a tornado on your back porch go through the next town picking up trains and houses like they were toys.
– I really enjoy your site, and your editorials. very helpful and insightful indeed
I agree it is a personal choice and one I hope more people will make. Living through the different disasters that I have over my 60 years would not how been possible with preparing ahead. good luck in all your Prepping!
Thank you for your very real insights, Kamiko. Until these things happen to you personally, it is easy to forget about the risks that are out there while just living your life normally.
My Dad and fellow family members think I’m addicted to prepping but I don’t think I am. For me, prepping is a hobby ( one of many ) and I like the idea of being as independent as possible. I try to balance my life with hobbies I enjoy ( just started a real raised bed garden last summer and have built another ) and playing guitar which is still just noise not music.:) I find that I tend to have several projects going at any one time. I set a goal for each project that day and if I get tired of that particular project I move onto another and revisit the project another day. Maybe I have ADD? I do enjoy just standing in my ” Prep Room ” and looking over all my stuff and wonder to myself if I’m missing anything then making a note if I have. Also prepping can be a great source of pride and well being. If I’m addicted to prepping it sure beats any other addiction I’m aware of.
I feel like it’s more of a state of mind or a way of life than any of those things, but that’s just me.
Wife and I have been preppers for a few years now and really enjoy the satisfaction and security our supplies and new knowledge give us. We are in our 60s and have five grandchildren age seven and younger (with one or two more likely to come). Much of our prepping now is done with their futures in mind. We want to be able to pass the stuff and know-how on to all of them. It helps that their parents are of the same mindset. It is interesting for us to look back over our lives and see how God has orchestrated the events to bring us to where we are today. He is our real source of satisfaction and security.