Over a recent dinner at my place with like-minded friends, the conversation turned to the state of the world, our country, and society in general. While this was supposed to be a fun evening and a much needed break from long work-days, the conversation became quite sobering as we started to rattle off all of the disruptive events that the four of us prepare for. Events that may happen tomorrow or events that may never happen.
I began to squirm in my chair as I realized that each of us felt challenged both by the need to keep our preps up (meaning stuff and skills) and the need to live a joyful life. The two, it would seem, do not always mix. We want it to, and most assuredly I write about it, but believing and doing are two different matters altogether.
Since then, I have given some thought to coping while living in a world where a disruptive event could turn life upside down. Today I want to throw down the gauntlet and tell you that even for me, it is a extremely difficult. And if I am feeling it, you must be too.
What the Heck is a Disruptive Event?
Do you like that word? Disruptive Event? For the past year that has been my catch-all phrase for the myriad of things that could happen to alter life as we know it.
I use this term to describe any event that could potentially transform our personal lives into one of chaos, distress, confusion, or all of the above. Interestingly enough, today I could not find many references to this term using Google so the how, where, and why I started using it most likely has to do with my own thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.
Note: TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It
TEOTWAWKI was a commonly used acronym in preparedness and survival circles until the end of 2012 when various predications of the end of times did not materialize. The term is still used today, in a much broader sense. At Backdoor Survival, for example, TEOTWAWKI refers to anything that disrupts our normal way of life. This could be something as devastating as an EMP taking down the power grid, to a more mundane (but equally devastating) job loss or loss of a family member.
Disruptive events are common and that is why we prepare. In 12 Months of Prepping, as I have defined it, we are preparing for short term disruptive events and in doing so, we are better prepared than 95% of our friends and neighbors.
But honestly and truly, that is just a start. What about after that?
The trite answer is that we focus on skills and projects that foster self sufficiency without modern conveniences. We also focus on defensive tactics and how we will defend not only our homes, but our person, and our rights under the Constitution. More difficult is that we prepare our mental state so that we will be level-headed and calm when our world becomes a sea if chaos.
The Plight of the Prepper Who Carriers the Burden of Truth
The past four years have been rather remarkable in that on the surface and to the naïve and uninformed, they have appeared outlandishly normal. Those in the know, however, have been able to peel away the layers of deceit and recognize that information coming from so-called official sources changes daily to suit some unwritten agenda.
While living in the moment, everything appears copacetic. But in truth, for me it almost feels as though we are entering twilight zone. Does it for you?
Plenty has already been written here an elsewhere about being prepared but precious little is written about how you overcome the personal sense of being alone and lonely in your preparedness quest. That, to me, and I suspect for you, is the plight of the prepper who carriers the burden of truth.
So, without resorting to doom and gloom, today I am sharing my take what we need to do to prepare for a “disruptive event” or tipping point in a reasonable and calm manner. This is a mixed bag of both practical preps and lifestyle choices. I hope this list helps you, as it is helping me.
10 Ways to Stay Calm and Prepare for a Disruptive Event
1. Have a frank and unemotional discussion with a close family member or someone you trust about your concerns. Share with them the specific disruptive event that will constitute your own tipping point. Even if they are not a prepper (and many times, a prepper goes the journey alone), it will be good to share your concerns out loud.
2. Relieve stress with laughter. Don’t be afraid to have fun. Tell jokes, do something goofy, play stupid games and try your best to have a good time. If things get bad, you will undergo extreme stress. Plan for that by thinking through some fun activities now, while your mind and focus are still clear.
3. Having an abundant back stock of food will give you peace of mind. Fill your pantry with enough food to eat during an extended lockdown. How much is enough? I am not one to quote specific quantities as it relates to time because individual calorie needs vary. That said, here is a list to get you started: 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.
4. Go the extra mile when it comes to clutter, cleanliness, and sanitation. If a disruptive event happens, your own personal ground zero will be clean and tidy. Your personal space will be much easier to maintain going forward and besides, when the disruptive event occurs, doing routine housekeeping chores will be the least of your worries. Store fresh bleach (no more than six months old) or pool shock.
Print out instructions for disinfecting surfaces and purifying water. Stock up on hand sanitizers, alcohol, and purifying essential oils. Read Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage and How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.
5. Nail down access to water within your home. By that I mean within your living space and not outdoors in the carport or an out-building. If there is a disruptive event and you are required to hunker down, you will want plenty of drinking water in your home, not outdoors, Start filling repurposed juice and soda bottles with water and tuck them away so that they will be accessible.
Learn how to remove water from your hot water heater and if you can, keep a hose nearby so you can get the water out of the tank and into your living space.
6. Stay informed by reading news from a variety of sources. Take the time to visit a variety of websites in addition to tuning in to mainstream media reports. If something you watch or read sounds like fear-mongering, move on.
7. Protect your immune system with healthy eating including lots of antioxidants in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables plus plenty of high quality protein foods.
8. Practice saying “no” in everyday life. This, for some, can be extremely difficult. I am someone who has difficulty saying no to people and as a result, I often find myself in a pickle as I become overworked and burdened with things I have promised to do for others to the exclusion of my own task and chores. You are going to have to say “no” to those that come knocking on your door asking for help if the SHTF. Better start practicing now!
9. Prepare a written plan of action detailing what you will do if a disruptive event occurs. Start with one type of event then later, create a plan for a second type of event. Speaking from experience, having a plan helps even if, when the time comes, a portion of the plan has to be tossed. The added benefit is that if you are a solo prepper, you can share the plan when your non-prepping family starts to come around (as I guess they will if things get bad enough).
10. Continue to live your life normally. Go to parties. Enjoy family events. In the back of your mind you my think or even know that a mess of a freight train is heading your way. But while you are waiting, just live!
The Final Word
Now is the time to be calm and to mobilize your energy so that you will be mentally prepared for a disruptive event that we hope will not happen. More than anyone, I realize how difficult this is. It can be lonely, depressing, and tiresome. Trust me, I feel your angst and your weary spirit.
Hang in there and know you are not alone. As I said in point #1, sometimes it helps to just talk about it and to share your feelings. That has worked for me and I hope it works for you.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!