When it comes to living a preparedness lifestyle, from the get go I have focused on what I like to call “prepping for the rest of us”. To me, this has always meant embracing survival strategies that transcend the weird, the strange and the off-the-wall.
The focus is and has always been prepping for ordinary folks who simply want to reduce their dependency on others, regardless, or in spite of, the woes created by Mother Nature, big business, and, sadly, the government and its political machine.
I call this living a Strategic Life.
I first wrote about living a Strategic Life back in October 2011. A year later, that article, 10 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, became the basis of a book that I co-authored with my BFF George Ure at Urban Survival, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: A Guide to Survival During Uncertain Times.
A lot has happened since then. The world did not end in December 2012. The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima became a lesson in cover-up and misinformation. Ebola arrived in the Western World, and hurricanes, tornados, storms and natural disasters of all types have become extreme if not downright bizarre. One other thing has happened. Preparedness, encompassing both preppers and hard core survivalist types, has become big business.
Whereas those 10 initial steps were a starting point for living a prepared life, they now seem rather mundane and commonplace. This is because in their own way, bloggers and mainstream journalists write about these very same steps everyday of the week and at times, it seems as though everyone is writing about the same thing.
Get out of debt and grow your own food? Sure, those are as much a part of the Strategic Life equation now as they were then but to me it feels like a been there, done that.
All of this brings me around to today and the here and the now.
A month ago I took pen to paper (and yes, some of us still do that), and renewed my personal goals for the year. While doing so, it became clear to me that what I had done was to define 10 new steps for living a Strategic Life.
Today I share them with you.
10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life
The following steps are presented in no particular order and, as a matter of fact, should be shuffled around as life and your current mental state dictate.
1. Harden your home and prepare to hunker down if things get bad.
Note that only you can define “bad”.
For me, bad means a pandemic, a collapse of the economy or worse, society. It also means a major natural disaster resulting in hungry and desperate people seeking food, water, and shelter.
2. Define the word “comfort” in your own terms and surround yourself with whatever it takes to fulfill that definition.
Comfort can mean many things depending upon time and circumstance. My definition includes a warm home and a full belly. It also means a life with lots of hugs and without an iota of loneliness.
3. Reduce dependencies on big pharma and prescription drugs that are being force fed by the medical and pharmaceutical communities.
I always recommend that you do this in partnership with an understanding physician who has your best interests in mind.
Experimentation is fine as long on you are not dealing with a life-threatening illness. Natural remedies such as herbs and essential oils can work minor miracles but, in spite of what you might read and to the best of my knowledge, they will not cure dread diseases such as cancer or Ebola.
What they can do is mitigate the symptoms, and possibly stop the spread of viruses and bacterial infections.
4. Learn to cook and eat simple foods that are low in cost yet nutritionally sound and calorically dense.
Eating healthy food should be no-brainer but sometimes even I struggle because let’s face it, chocolate cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream is really good. That said, learning to maintain a sourdough starter, cooking beets, and smoking meats are high on my bucket list.
5. Exercise your body and mind by walking, reading, and opening your mind to new ways of thinking about life.
Almost everyone I know is stressed-out these days. Those that work outside the home are putting in long hours, leaving home before dark and coming home after dark. Those that work from home are often always on call, with work related texts and emails seducing them at all hours of the day and night.
For a brief period each day, shut down the smart phone, the iPad, and the laptop. Step away and breath some fresh air. Bundle up if you have to, then stand on the porch or take a walk so that you can take in the universe. Think about yourself, your life, and your loved ones.
If you are spiritual, think about God or a higher being. Open your mind to the possibility and try to remember that in spite of everything, the glass is always half full.
6. Learn at least three pioneer skills that you will be able to call upon if we reach a tipping point and the SHTF. See 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader.
No one person can do everything, so pick three and learn to do them passably well. I want to learn to bake with a sourdough starter so I am not dependent upon yeast for bread making. I have already started to grind my own flour using a manual mill; it is not easy but I did it. I still need to pick two more.
If you pick three skills that interest you and they will become hobbies and not chores.
7. Take time out everyday for yourself and the pursuit of hobbies that fulfill your need to relax and to be creative.
This is a close cousin to numbers five and six but because it is so important, it warrants its own strategic focus.
8. Laugh. Laugh more.
When is the last time you laughed? While compiling this list I had to ask myself that because honestly, I could not remember.
9. Keep a journal.
I hope you will choose to take pen to paper but even if you write a few words into a computer log, memorialize your thoughts and experiences. Hit the delete key when you are done, or not, the choice is yours. It is the process that counts.
10. Don’t put off living while waiting for an apocalypse that may never happen.
Sometimes I feel that hard core preppers and survivalists want something to happen so that they can put their plans into action. Doomsday preppers, perhaps?
Please, if you do nothing else, don’t put off living the life you want for yourself and your family. Just because you prepare, does not mean it will happen. Could it? Darn right! Will it? Sorry, I don’t have a time machine that will launch me into the future so that I can come back and tell you it is so.
This is important and between now and the end of summer, am working toward my own “living in the present” goal. You need to do the same. Don’t put something off just because the SHFT might happen between now and then and your efforts will be moot. Just do it.
What Happens Next?
As you can see, these are all simple things that anyone can do. Of course a lot more can be said about each one and I plan to do that. I have recruited George, and together we plan to write an all-new book on living a Strategic Life, this time with a distinct, long-term preparedness and survival focus.
The Final Word
A few weeks ago I found a description of Backdoor Survival that said:
While this site is slightly more difficult to navigate, it has a wealth of in-depth preparation tips, particularly for those with large families and those who want tips on training their mind as well as their bug-out bags.
That made me smile because I have always felt that training the mind, and developing both a survival and coping mindset, were important components to long term self-reliance. With that being said, I want to ask you for your thoughts. What steps do you feel are key to living a Strategic Life?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.