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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
A couple of years ago, my pal George Ure and I wrote this little eBook. The message is timeless and it ties in nicely with today’s article. I just know you will enjoy it.
Bargain Bin: Today I share a mixed bag of items, including a few of my favorite books.
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.
I love my Mobile Washer. This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub.
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