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After the Apocalypse: What Will You Do Then?

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Many Preppers get into the lifestyle of prepping, trying to solve a problem. The individuals and scenarios each person has in mind while contemplating their own unique problem are a different as any can be, but the problem usually is the same. We are all trying to avoid suffering needlessly when we don’t have to. Preparedness can be summed up simply in my opinion. It is the act of taking proactive measures to mitigate the risks to life of disasters. We prepare so that if something bad happens we can be ready to stop it, to avoid it or to live through it. The “IT” is different for each of us. Everyone has their own version of something bad but many preparedness supplies can address the needs of numerous bad scenarios because at the end of the day, prepping is all about staying alive.

Frequently, as we begin planning for those bad scenarios, we envision all manner of horrible problems that we could face with our family. Perhaps the direst and most drastic vision we can collectively focus on is some form of Apocalypse. This is the worst movie plot imaginable, a Mad Max world where it is literally Hell on Earth and survival is pictured as every man for himself. The Road and Book of Eli and dozens of other prepper movies paint the picture so well of a bleak, dangerous landscape. The apocalypse is usually planet-wide and can be the result from many potential factors but the actual definition of what an apocalypse is varies according to every person’s interpretation. Without splitting hairs, we can likely all agree that an apocalypse is the worst prepping problem that any of us can imagine facing.

Some call it TEOTWAWKI and that is a good acronym, but can we have a true apocalypse without it being ‘The End of the World as We Know it’? Could most of the life on earth be wiped out or lost due to calamity without the world coming to an end? Maybe I am taking it too literally in this context, but I am not planning for the end of the world. If that happens, we will all be gone anyway.

But an apocalypse is something that you could still live through, right? At least that is what many of us seem to be prepping for. What could life be like after the apocalypse and why do so many preppers need to adjust your thinking about the probable facts of life we all plan on living through.

So you lived through the Apocalypse, now what?

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Let me start out by saying that I may be just as guilty of thinking the way I am going to address here as anyone else and frequently, my thoughts on prepping tend to evolve or shift with something in the news. I have been known to write on the same subject from a couple, maybe contrasting viewpoints and I just chalk that up to some of the duties of writing a prepping blog and learning like so many others as I go. I don’t have too many prepper ideas that are set in stone and have been known to change my thinking occasionally.

Case in point is this one. Most of my preps to date have been what we should realistically categorize as short-term preparations. I have an amount of food stored up and the means to grow my own going forward if the conditions are favorable, but I am not guaranteed food forever. I have water stored up to last me through short-term emergencies and methods to collect and treat additional water in virtually limitless capacity provided it rains, but that doesn’t guaranty I will always have water. I have shelter options, a suitable amount of weapons and ammo stored, first aid supplies and medicine enough to last a while and knowledge in the form of books to teach myself or others a plethora of skills should I choose to read them, but all of those things guarantee nothing. I have prepping supplies but what does all that mean?

You may be thinking that all these supplies I have are meaningless if they are swept away in a house fire and you would be right. You may be saying to yourself, well that just proves that stuff is irrelevant; skills are what you need to focus on for survival and I can see that argument too, but everything above assumes that the situation will never change.

Life will keep moving after the Apocalypse

Preppers seem to be planning for these big problems in our lives that we can foresee coming down the road. I have talked openly about an Economic Collapse but I still think that even globally that would not be something we could say was an apocalyptic event.  Whatever event you think could bring on that Mad Max scenario, war, famine, plaque, global warming, solar flares, earthquakes, meteor strikes, our preparations are at best going to last a short while. If you are amazingly prepared and also very fortunate, maybe you will live a couple of years after the unknown event has wiped out most of society. But what then?

Too often I talk to commenters and even other prepping bloggers who seem to have the thought that all we have to do is live through the initial chaos of our apocalypse problem and then we will be free to live out our lives in peace. As if we just need to survive the initial die off and then everyone left will be the ones ‘who were prepared’. Do we assume that the ones who were prepared will be free to just go back to farming our land? I don’t see this happening in history at all and even if it does, the initial period will likely not be months or years but decades. Are you prepared to survive on your freeze-dried food for that long?

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Do we assume that the ones who were prepared will be free to just go back to farming our land?

Two thoughts I have on this are that first of all, it won’t just be the ones who were prepared that survive. It will be those who want to survive that live and many preppers will die just as quickly as those who weren’t prepared at all. Give me a desperate individual with nothing to lose and put them up against a scared neophyte with a basement full of supplies who believes in their own superiority without any practical training and expertise and I would bet on the desperate individual every time. The most well-armed ‘prepper’ in the world is nothing without the will to shoot when necessary and the good fortune not to be shot in the back first.

The second thought is that people throughout time have formed communities and eventually those communities need more resources. When they need more resources, that usually means that they have to expand their territory. If someone is in the way, there could be conflict. Where there is conflict, usually people die. Life in the apocalypse won’t be any different. Eventually you will need to form up with a larger group unless you are living in the trees or a cave somewhere. You can’t expect to just while your days away in peace and happiness growing a small garden and tending to your livestock while your solar power generator charges each day and allows you to watch your DVD collection that was stored alongside the DVD player in your Faraday cage forever.

Prepping isn’t a permanent solution

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Preppers sometimes seem to have the attitude (and again, I have been slightly guilty of this myself on occasion) that we will by nature of our preparedness survive longer than anyone else. Perhaps that may be and many steps of preparedness certainly place us in a better position to do so in most situations, but nothing is guaranteed in life.

Prepping in my mind gives us an incredible advantage that many people don’t have, but it isn’t a superhero suit. Our prepping supplies don’t imbue on us any magical charm that will keep bad things from happening and even if we do outlive most people we are simply back to square one in a new game. When it comes to anything resembling apocalypse, your preparations if you are lucky will allow you to live for a while longer, but there won’t be any rest at that time. You will just advance to the next round and hope your planning, skills and preparations can continue giving you advantages over the next person.

As preppers, we need to be equally concerned about the other side of the disaster, not just making it through it when we are talking about Apocalypse. We need to plan not only on surviving, but rebuilding. What remains to be rebuilt will depend on the disaster I guess. In an apocalypse, it will probably be everything from our local level on up. This could take a huge amount of time and even if we make it to some rebuilding period, life as we knew it won’t ever be the same. We should all look at our prepping supplies, skills, plans and strategies as tools we hope to use to get us to that place where we have another opportunity to survive.

Prepping is a great lifestyle to practice and it has benefits from simple run of the mill problems to end of the world as we know it scenarios, but it is not a solution in and of itself. Prepping gives you a leg up, but you still have a part to play. There will still be difficulties even if you do make it through and knowing that going in may better prepare you when you come out the other side. Hope I see you all there.

24 Comments

  1. Caljack

    May 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Now! this would be a great topic to discuss at a group meeting. Not just to kick around-but one that should be seriously discussed and plan for. Should Prepper groups construct a 5 year or 10 year plan?
    Will the planned bug out location support your group for such a time period?
    Survival is one thing- BUT- starting to re build, deal with domestic situations that will arise -is something totally different. Just look at the candidates running for President today. Deciding which path to take is not easy. What qualifications should your leader have. What is their back ground? Have they built or managed any businesses.
    Being a leader in a Prepper SWTF event requires a certain set of skills.
    Being the leader of a new and growing community, requiring a QRF (Quick Reactionary Force, to protect it, promoting skills and educating others -so that the community can prosper and grow…is drastically different. Thanks Pat – I would have like to see more details-but as I type this I wonder if that is possible since we are dealing with so many unknowns and so many possibilities. Good Job….. Thanks

    • Pat Henry

      May 26, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks for the comments Caljack! I am sure we could get into a lot of different details, but it would be hugely speculative unless we started with a baseline. Still a worth thought exercise in my opinion. I know of some who have tried to coalesce all of this type of information into a guide book for their own communities with varying degrees of thoroughness and in some cases, communistic style dictatorship.

    • BobW

      May 27, 2016 at 1:57 am

      I agree that this is a great opener for a live discussion…over beer.

  2. Mike Lashewitz

    May 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Survive and rebuild. Next Question?

    • Pat Henry

      May 26, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks Mike. I will try to come up with something harder next time…

  3. Kula Farmer

    May 26, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Reality is something could happen thatcompletely destroys all your preps and shelter, then your screwed period

    • Pat Henry

      May 26, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Very true Kula. Assuming that doesn’t happen though, what do you plan to do when its all over?

      • BobW

        May 27, 2016 at 1:35 am

        Well shoot, I thought this was going to be tough. What do I do after it happens? The same thing I do every day, make plans to take over the world…one acre at-a-time.

        But seriously, expand the footprint into the vacant land around us, branch out through filling vacant homes nearby with family and friends who’ve fallen in with us, and build our own, self-sufficient community.

    • BobW

      May 28, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I agree with the reality part, but completely disagree with the ‘your screwed’ part. Sure it will be hard, but I for one will not give up.

  4. Country Lady

    May 26, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I think the main thing is to be prepared, and having a way to get home even if it’s 100’s of miles away.

  5. BobW

    May 27, 2016 at 1:56 am

    To me, this speaks to the mental aspect of prepping. Not speaking of survival skills, but the ability and willingness to put said skills to use.

    I’m not talking about finding a couple grubs in the forest for a snack. I’m talking about understanding when you need to put your morals and values in your rucksack, and accomplish the mission of survival, regardless of the emotional damage your actions SHOULD bring to yourself.

    Can you put away your ‘civilized self’ and unleash the primal beast to ensure your family survives?

  6. Cowmama

    May 27, 2016 at 6:05 am

    PLAQUE??
    AS IN:
    Whatever event you think could bring on that Mad Max scenario, war, famine, plaque, global warming, solar flares, earthquakes, meteor strikes, our preparations are at best going to last a short while.

    • BobW

      May 28, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Which is why skills are so important. Being able to make and sustain a ‘victory’ garden, wrangling up the wild rabbits and breeding them, etc.. are the methods through which one might be able to survive. Sitting in a hole eating canned meat will eventually result in well fed skeletons.

  7. GRAMPA

    May 27, 2016 at 10:03 am

    We will have as many problems as we will have solutions. Prepping will take you hopefully past the majority of the chaos. Many will have food on the shelf for a few days. the poor in the intercity even less. Water will be in short supply so we will see the migration start. They don’t know where they are going but they are on their way. If government is able to organize these people will be moved into camps with little resistance. You don’t want to be in this. It offers prime conditions to spread disease. This will kill the majority of our population. Others who have a plan and moved quickly will spread out into the countryside and consume Many could last months. The challenge isn’t only to survive the initial crisis but to survive intact. The military will look for stragglers. They will want to do it as quickly as possible. If you can look deserted and sacked they will move on quickly . The multitude will be the greatest concern.
    After the first week the military will have many miles to cover so detection should be easier. From this point nothing is predictable. To adapt will let you survive. Your brain is your best asset. Without knowledge and correct data you are no better off than the others who failed to prepare. Food and water will be the biggest problem Knowing how to feed yourself and family is a critical step. What good will knowing how to find a mushroom in the forest if you are in the intercity? Thinking that you can depend on the tools you pack into an Altoids can will let you die. Knowing how to start a fire with two sticks is great but if you have never done it you die. It takes little planning along with the food and water for if you eat all the food and waste some you die. Time to exercise that asset so you don’t march into the camps to be disposed of at governments convince.
    Grampa

  8. Bolofia

    May 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Three axioms:
    1. If you live long enough to plant a crop, you will also need to live long enough to harvest and defend it. Otherwise, it will only be of use to someone else.
    2. The big die-off will reduce competition, but not eliminate it.
    3. There will always be more problems than solutions.
    Good, thought provoking article!

    • Pat Henry

      May 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks Bolo! Those are great axioms for the future many of us will need to consider should the worst happen.

  9. Chuck Findlay

    May 28, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    As far as what I (all of us) will do after the Apocalypse is easy and at the same time hard to answer.

    The easy answer is that I want to die from growing old and to have done so in relative comfort.

    The hard answer is that events well beyond my control could make comfort or even living to old age hard to do.

    Like most of us I buy food, grow food, stock all kinds of supplies I think I may need. I have guns to defend myself, solar panels, tools to keep doing my handyman / repair work so I can continue to make money.

    So even if it is bad I hope to live in some comfort and try to stay under the radar of those that intend me harm.

    We can only guess as to what extent the do-badders will be able to destroy our lives and plunder what we have.

    Our biggest threat is the government and it’s policy’s and actions. And bad government is hard to plan for and even harder to defend against as it decides what is right or wrong, what is moral and immoral, and it ALWAYS thinks it’s in the right and has the power to push it’s will.

    A brigand can be defended against, you just kill him or her, but you can’t go around killing government.

    So keeping out of the governments focus and under it’s radar should be a priority if you want to live to an old age.

  10. Paul

    May 31, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Great start and thanks. I tried to rate it but the rating function failed. I live in an urban setting and don’t plan to bug out when the SHTF. I have talked to most of my neighbors and know where they stand for the most part. A few will stay and we can defend ourselves from the rabble unless it’s folks who have training and advance in a military fashion.

    Those who know me also know I plan to burn everything around me as it becomes empty to deter squatters. Unless of course family or friends want to move in or neighbors want to get a little closer. I’m not opposed to fortifying and growing our numbers, I just don’t want those unknowns so close. Move along, nothing to see here folks.

    As BobW said, this speaks to the mental aspect. Going in with the understanding that it’s going to suck and being prepared to embrace the suck is major. If you don’t know yourself and what you can and will do then you have already lost. Live in comfort now and enjoy what you have while you have it and then bow out gracefully so you can skip most of the suffering. As for long term planning you need a running or moving plan.

    What this entails is to create a plan based on time, supplies, and trigger points. You will have knowns and unknowns. A quick list of knowns is time, seasons, supplies (food) on hand, water, and equipment. The unknowns are harder, but some can be charted. Number of people consuming food, water, and medical supplies. Accidents or injuries through conflict (you don’t know when, but you do know it’s a given).

    Make a chart based on time and how much food and water you have based on the known number of people in your group. This tells you how soon you have to have your garden planted and how much you have to produce. Since you won’t know when to start the clock, add in contingency pages with what-ifs. What if the SHTF in early Oct and you live in Upper Peninsula Michigan? You’re not going to plant a garden outside so you will need a greenhouse or plan on planting inside the house. What will grow best inside and produce the most.

    If more people join your group and they don’t bring supplies then you will have to adjust your plan. This would be major. Your stores won’t last forever, but you will know what you have to do to keep going. Your chart can be extended out for a month, three months, six months, a year, two years, and so on. Now start adding in additional trigger points. When will your food stores be exhausted, which will dictate when you have to be producing enough to feed everyone in your group. How much fuel do you have on hand, how fast you will consume your fuel, and how do you plan to replenish your supplies.

    The bottom line is you don’t know what you don’t know. Brainstorm with your group and decide what you are planning for. Then take this list and rate them 1 thru # with 1 being the most likely and # being the least. These can be your triggers. When you hit a trigger an event takes place which you will act on. Triggers are linked to contingency plans.

    A contingency plan is an unknown based on knowns. If this happens then do this. The best laid plans only last until you engage the enemy and then everything changes. Have a plan and know the plan will change. Know yourself and know that you cannot predict how you will react in any situation. Also know that no matter how well you think you know the people around you, you probably don’t really know them. Don’t expect them to act, react, or perform to what you think they should.

    • Pat Henry

      June 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Great points Paul! Thank you so much for your thoughts and perspective.

  11. overit

    June 6, 2016 at 9:26 am

    chuck F and granpa have the longterm views.
    Ive also thought along similar lines
    yes we can store food fuel seed etc
    but
    in every nation I know of
    the military (or remnants of (will assume)are assigned the power to TAKE all food gold animals and fuel from the citizens in declared emergency..
    for the “good of all” for the ptb to apportion.
    managing to keep your few animals safe and hidden? and with feed..
    you dont have a functional national log of guns yet
    but theyve got a pretty good idea
    some of us are screwed that way before we begin
    ie Aus.
    only the illegal guns are not tabbed n tracked..great move by our idiots in power.
    todays petrol has a damn short useby date
    so you need diesel and huge stores.
    not exactly easy to do or keep hidden unless you fill thousand litre tanks by the 20 litre in sloooow task.
    for us older ones many of us did grow up without much and make do.
    our younger and the ones that will have the futures kids..hmm?
    not many have good coping skills for a bloody easy life as they have now
    take the phone the tv the fast food ec etc and how many know or do jackshit of real use?
    once in Aus in the depression which I will use as a near example of many people with little income or none and the need to survive, we could hunt rabbit it got called underground mutton:-)
    now calici virus is decimating them, normally a good thing, but not if thats your sole source of free food and easiest to trap/catch.
    so assume a biowarfare attack that removes all your meat supplies nationally in one week or so.. and maybe even the dogs you might have planned to hunt with..take out the chooks and wild birds too..no eggs little protein, no easy calorie milk for babies and others let alone butter cheese for comfort and travel foodsno horses to ride to save fuel and get to harder spots.
    and many dont know one end of animals from the other anyway;-(
    you need to be well over a fuel tank and reserve tank distant from suburbians..cos they will head outwards. that means you also have a damn long way to go to forage for bits later..or for meds etc you run short of.
    Depending on the bio used, going anywhere for years maybe a huge risk, some diseases have the ability to linger a long while. manmades prob more so. Anthrax in soils for decades as can polio for two.
    then if the reason for the disaster was foreign assault, and your mil who might have protected you..is decimated or captured as well
    then no stores or much else is going to do diddly when the invasion forces hit.
    truthfully the poor nations will fare best, they already get by with bugger all and serious health and other risks daily and they cope and endure.
    As someone pointed out in a media article invading a nation without anyone even getting an idea isnt so hard. imagine every single incoming supposed civvy flight to usa being filled with armed mil from another nation, they get the airports immediately, they can get to the main biz power water and comms in short time.
    the general pop wouldnt stand a chance or even be wise till its too damn late.
    enough from me..;-) we can prep we can hope but in the global scale of things? hmm?
    I dont honestly fancy many of us would make it more than a year if that.

  12. walcon

    June 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    They will bang down your doors and take what you have prepped. You will not be able to stop mob after mob after mob, nor individuals flowing through 24/7 armed and ready to kill you without batting an eye and from a hidden position they have been watching you from. They already know if you are in the deserted areas that you are a prepper- they will head for you first. Your garden will give up it’s food to them at night. You will just be in their way like an ant they will treat you and squash you under their strength and desperation.

  13. Badger Badgerism

    June 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    HAVE YOU READ the BIBLE?…THIS IS IT…IT ENDS THEN JESUS COMES BACK AND RESTORES BALANCE…the ONLY AFTER IS HIM REBUILDING the WORLD AND NATURE…
    the TRICK IS TO SURVIVE UNTIL HE GETS BACK

  14. Marty Stamler

    June 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    If the apocalypse you’re talking about is the scriptural tribulation and final battle, there won’t be any reason to “prep” at all. Everyone who is part of government in any way, part of religion in any way, and anyone else who directly opposes God or Jesus, or believes pagan things about them like trinity and such, will be exterminated in an instant. There will only be the “great crowd” alive, and they only number less than ten million at present. They are those whom God says He will protect alive during these apocalyptical events. All else will be gone. All infrastructure of this system of things will also be destroyed. But the great crowd will be looking for your survival supplies. Keep on buying them. They will need them.

  15. Sandesh S.

    July 12, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Predictions
    2016 – Superquake in Pakistan
    2017 – Start of war in Middle east
    2018 – Start of WW3, Nuclear weapons used towards end of the war.
    Till 2023 – USA, China, Indian continent massively hit by WW3 nuclear war.
    50% Humans dead.
    70% worlds cities, infrastructure in ruins.
    Between 2016 – 2023
    Massive Environmental disaster in California, possibly a superquake.
    Superquake in Japan
    Melting of all ice caps and all Islands submerged in oceans.
    Post 2023 –
    30 years after effect of WW3
    100 years to rebuild the world.
    World Peace for 1000 years.
    End of ‘Fidel’ Religion.
    New countries, new cultures evolved.
    1. Firstly, when things really begin to degenerate in 2018, it will happen very fast post Aug – 2018.
    2. An estimated 1/3rd of the world’s population (i.e., over 2 billion people) will perish due nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Millions more will die due to the radioactive pollution and other miscellaneous reasons primarily caused by the nuclear fallout.’ In total, approximately 1/2 the world’s population will perish either directly due to war and natural disasters or due to its aftermath.
    3. Emergency services and government aid will be non-existent or unable to cope with the extent of the disaster and destruction.
    4. 70% of the world’s infrastructure will be destroyed. Most of the cities worldwide will be completely destroyed.
    5. There will be a great shortage of medical supplies and minimal access to doctors and hospitals
    6. Radioactive fallout will contaminate people, animals, fish and the land.
    7. As a result of radioactive fallout, on average water bodies will remain contaminated for 12 months. There will be a scarcity of clean drinking water and water borne diseases will cause epidemics.
    8. There will be food shortages for a 10-year period*.
    9. There will be severe shortages of gasoline for 10 years* thus adversely affecting all forms of motorised transportation.
    10. Severe electricity shortages will prevail for 10 years*.
    11. People will suffer from various mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and grief.
    12. There will be a complete breakdown of law and order and the need to survive against all odds will bring out the worst in people. Looting, crime and fighting for survival will be the order of the day. The real behavior of people, good or bad, will emerge during such times of crisis..

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