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There is no other way to begin this article than to simply begin.
Back in the day, meaning 2011 and 2012, survivalist preppers were a curiosity. Those of us that chose this journey ended up soldiering their way through a maze of trial and error, amassing supplies and traditional skills that would carry us through the next apocalypse.
Early on, I chose to refer to the next apocalypse as a “disruptive event” and the label stuck. Whether a natural disaster, economic collapse, or manmade event, it was always my feeling that a broad foundation of self-sufficiency would carry us through the worst of times.
And so it has been for all these years.
Unfortunately, so many years later, I find that prepping has become an industry filled with bad information, shoddy ethics, and fraud. I am saddened by all of this, so much so that there are days I want to give it up lest I am caught up in a cycle where raw capitalism supersedes common sense education.
But I digress.
In this newest Backdoor Survival think piece, I would like to challenge you to take a look at yourself and your needs and judge yourself by your own standards and not those of someone else. I ask you to walk the walk and stay true to your core belief system so that you can become as prepared as you need to be. No more, and no less.
To help you along, I am including an excerpt from Dan Chiras’ book, Things I Learned Too Late In Life: It’s Never Too Late To Be Who You Might Have Been. It has helped me a lot, and I hope it helps you, too.
It’s Never too Late to Be Who You Might Have Been
Most of us live two lives: a secret inner life decorated with high ideals and moral principles, and an outer real life in which we often abandon or compromise our morals and ideals, sometimes our most cherished ideals, for the sake of expediency, fitting in, getting by, or hundreds of other flimsy excuses.
In essence, each of us is a complex mixture of who we are and who we’d like to be. No wonder that we’re each a conflicting maze of emotions and ideas and actions.
At a keynote address at a conference at the University of Colorado in the 1990s, a prominent health-food advocate told her audience, “Don’t judge me by my cupboards.” She went on to explain that her children insisted on her buying all kinds of less-than-healthy goodies – cereals loaded with food dyes and, of course, dripping with sugar. All these products violated her beliefs – and teachings — about sound nutrition.
I fully understand and sympathize with her and don’t stand in judgment. All parents know how difficult it is to get our children to eat right. I offer this anecdote, however, as an example of one of many often powerful forces that steer us off the path of being – or becoming — who we really want to be – in this case, our children’s unrelenting and plaintive whining.
This speaker’s proclamation was just one example of how we all live lives nagged by many niggling little white lies – believing in one thing, acting in ways that contradict our beliefs.
Bottom line, however, when all is said and done, we have to judge ourselves by what’s in our cupboards, not by the slogans on the bumper stickers on our cars or the T shirts we wear on weekends.
What we do is who we are. We are not what we believe in but fail to do or be.
The Final Word
When it comes to prepping, talk is cheap. It is the doing that is expensive. As I learned from Dan’s book, “walking your talk” takes time, energy, money, and commitment.
My wish for all of you is that you continue to walk your talk. Do it your way. And when in doubt, ask a lot of questions. If something smells wrong, most likely it is wrong. Go with your gut instincts, instead.
Prepping, and being a survivalist prepper, is hard work so define your needs, and go from there. Be true to yourself and your moral compass and you can not and will not go astray.
And that, as I like to say, is all I am going to say about that.
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Spotlight: Things I Learned Too Late in Life: It’s Never Too Late to be Who You Might Have Been
This remarkable book by Dan Chiras is highly recommended for anyone who has felt doubt, distress, or burnout in life. Each chapter provides a bit of motivation and for me, at least, gave me the courage to keep on plugging away with the task at hand. A couple of my favorites? “Anticipation’s almost always worse than reality” and “Don’t believe everything your think”. See what I mean? The ebook is worth three times the price.
I carry my portable survival kit whenever I leave the house. The nice thing about it is that it fits neatly in a pocket, day pack, glove box, or handbag. If you are interested in more details or need assistance building your own kit, see 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit. The only thing I have changed since writing the article is to add Band-Aids to the tin. Lots of Band-Aids!
In the meantime, here are some items you should consider carrying with you as you travel near and far.
BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full-size BIC lighters at a bargain price with free shipping. Don’t forget to test them to ensure they work!
Paracord Lanyard: I prefer a paracord lanyard over a bracelet because I can use its clip to attach my whistle as well as other items that I may want to add from time to time such as a second flashlight, a Swiss army knife, pepper spray, or a flash drive (thumb drive).
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V 6 LED Flashlight: I own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds. I love my cheapie whistles but this is the one I would depend on for wilderness survival.
Lavender Essential Oil: This is the Swiss army knife of essential oils. My favorite lavender oil is from Spark Naturals. Enjoy a 10% discount with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.