As adults, we are expected by society to be mature enough to take care of a few basic but important things; namely ourselves and anyone we have responsibility for. Responsibility is a word that I use frequently on the Prepper Journal blog to describe my sense of duty to others. I feel a sense of duty to take care of and love my wife, children and family. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t something I look at as a chore that I begrudgingly do, but I look at this responsibility as a higher valued aspect of my job as a human in some respects. Anyone can go through life only thinking about themselves and how they feel, what they want or need. When you take responsibility for someone else, you are placing them and their needs above yours even if just for a relatively temporary period of time. Your friends, neighbors and even complete strangers could briefly fall into your sphere of responsibility if the right situation allows, and you would offer them your time, compassion, energy or resources in some way over your own immediate needs or concerns. This trait is in most of us to differing amounts at different times and I think prepping is another example of being responsible.
You might be prepping for yourself or your entire community. You could be getting ready for an economic collapse, a global pandemic or the renewed threat of nuclear war. There are people preparing to survive natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, solar Flares and polar shifts. Even more common occurrences like an extended illness or the loss of a job can be motivating factors and just as worthwhile reasons to prepare. People from all walks of life, races, countries and beliefs are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. But in order to be able to start this journey of becoming prepared you might have to begin by going through the end of your world as you know it first.
You have to wake up first
Many of you reading this have already been making plans for how to survive any number of different scenarios with your family for years, but there are so many more who are just now sensing that tingling in the back of their brain. For those new to prepping, you might have seen or lived through recent events that proved to you how your life might have been better with some simple precautions. For others, your spidey sense is going off and you may not quite know why, but you feel that something bad is coming that you need to prepare for. This is what happened to me back in 2007/2008. I had a gnawing feeling in the back of my mind that wouldn’t go away so I started researching various topics on the internet. One thing led to another and my viewpoint of the world and more importantly, my sense of responsibility to my family changed. My initial research started at a high level but ended up going in a myriad of directions. From basic home safety tips to deep conspiracies and the stuff that most people laugh at. The end result was that learning and research evolved into a greater appreciation for just how fragile our society is. For you reading this, your reason could be completely different. Anything that trips your trigger to wake up to the fact that life isn’t always bed of roses. We don’t all have happy endings and some of the things you have been told, might not be true. It’s time to wake up Alice.
Don’t believe in conspiracies? No problem, you can still be a hard core prepper or someone who simply takes steps to protect and provide for their family and hold your head just as high as anyone else. You don’t have to believe in anything other than this one simple fact. You and you alone are going to be responsible for taking action to provide for your own survival no matter what happens.
Any threat you imagine from zombies all the way down to that lost job will work for this exercise. No matter what you think is possible, this much is almost certain and that is that neither FEMA, the National Guard, Navy Seals, your police, the neighbors, your family, the Avengers or the X-Men; none of them can be counted on to help you in a real emergency as quickly as you will need them to. You have to take responsibility now, for taking care of yourself and that means looking at the world differently.
The most overused (but very appropriate) example of this is from the movie The Matrix. The lead character Neo must make a choice between finally seeing the truth around him (waking up) or going back to a false reality that keeps him safe and secure (or so we think). I don’t mean to imply that we are all living in pods with our brains hooked to a computer, but the metaphor of waking up is pretty similar in my opinion.
To start with, you have to stop thinking that any organization or government and by that I mean any bureaucracy at all is going to be able to take care of you if a disaster happens. You don’t have to look very hard to see example after example of people who when faced with a real tragedy were forced to rely on themselves. Help may or may not have eventually arrived, but I guarantee it was not speedy. In hurricanes, floods, wars, conflicts, famines, uprisings, whatever situation you want to point to I can show you how a blind reliance on any government agency to fix any problem, bring quick relief or to save you was a futile hope. I am not talking about the US solely either. Look at the governments of other countries and you will see the same thing. When all hell breaks loose, you have to look out for yourself. The sooner you accept this as reality, the sooner you will be able to effectively take steps to take responsibility for yourself.
What you should do
Learn – Everything you do should begin with a learning component. If you want to learn about prepping, then the Prepper Journal certainly has a lot of information that you can use to get a decent understanding and make plans. There are tons of additional sites out there and information in our resources section that can help as well. Get up from in front of the TV and start learning about potential issues that could affect your family. Research your area and learn about geographic threats that might be around you but you didn’t know about. How close do you live to any kind of power plants? Are there military bases near you? Do you live in a flood zone? Is there a chemical plant that produces possibly dangerous compounds near your town?
Learning can also be in the form of skills that can help your family. This could be skills that could save a life like an EMT course. It could be skills to defend yourself or your family. It could be skills that would increase your ability to take care of your family if you suffered a layoff. This might mean that you don’t watch Dancing with the Stars every night, but I think that is OK.
Take action – Once you understand a little about the types of things you think are valid to prepare for, start with a plan. This doesn’t have to be complicated; I started by writing down a list of items on a notebook. Some of these items were simple to accomplish, others took time but writing that list gave me something to look to and check off as I made progress towards my goal of having everything on that list covered.
Start with the basics of Water, Food, Shelter and Security and build from there. Just having a basic supply of food and water for your family could be the difference between life and death, but don’t think that a gallon of water, some pop-tarts and a flashlight are all you need to be prepared. As you learn about the additional threats you are preparing for, increase your plans to be able to sustain longer duration events and that will further ensure your families ability to weather whatever you go through. This might require you to get organized and proactively look at elements in your life that need improvement like exercise. Action usually changes something.
Teach others – Getting back to that responsibility topic I started with. Once you have made a plan and started on your path to getting prepared, you need to share what you know with others. We all have a responsibility to take care of those around us and it is far easier to teach someone what you know so that they can do the same work as you than it is to plan for taking care of them too. Start by talking to close friends and extended family to broach subjects like this. We always seem to be having some weather event that knocks out power and disrupts life for people so there are plenty of examples of how being prepared could be a great thing. Don’t be afraid to talk about this because it is simple common sense. You don’t have to share the Matrix movie with anyone if you don’t want to. That will be our little secret…
You may find that your world has changed from the way you used to know it. You may look at events differently and take information and use it differently because you will be proactively thinking about how you as the responsible person for your family will need to act, or when the time comes, will be ready to act. I am glad I took the red pill and I think you will be too. I am pretty confident that if you are prepared to take care of your family, they will really appreciate it in the end as well.