This is a question I’ve been grappling with lately. Don’t ask me why – I’m not sure exactly what got me started on this. Maybe it was finding a few youtube videos by this guy, the MainePrepper, and realizing he’s not a complete nutbag who thinks that his views are the only possible views out there in the world, or maybe because I am the granddaughter of someone who lived through the Great Depression, and always had her “reserve” cabinet of food in her house, even in the early 2000s.
I definitely want to get rid of extra stuff in my life. But I also want to be prepared for emergencies or disasters, too. Thing is, my $ sources are not unlimited, and my space is somewhat limited too, living in an apartment. And my plan is to live in a small home/rv/manufactured home, etc., so it’s not like that space is going to get any bigger from what I have now…
So, where does this leave me? Well, I’m working on preparing myself in a few ways.
Food. A lot of preppers/survivalists say you want to work up to saving three months of food at your home. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much extra space. However, I will slowly build up some of my food stores – this just makes good economical sense to have some extra foods set aside for a rainy day, be it if I lose my job, or there is a natural disaster that occurs in this area. The possibilities are endless. It can’t hurt to buy extras of things that have a long shelf life, and which I eat regularly anyway, especially if I can get them on sale. The saying is to “save what you use and use what you save.”
Physical and mental fitness. This is one area where I think I am already in good shape (hm….not sure, pun intended?!) If, god forbid, something absolutely awful happens and I end up having to travel somewhere far on foot or by bike, etc., I want to be in shape. Seeing as how I want to eventually transition into doing personal training full time, that’s one area where I am totally on board, and already there. Just have to keep maintaining it.
And where the mental fitness comes in, that means you need to have a positive attitude that you can get through times of crisis, and that you are a survivor and don’t just say “oh, I can’t do this….I just can’t…” as you sink down the side of a wall and curl up into a ball and cry yourself to the point where you can’t really breathe right, like a little kid who is hyperventilating. (We’ve all been there and been “that kid”, you know what I mean.) That’s giving in and being a victim. And if any of you know me, either virtually or in real life, you know that’s just not who I am.
Getting rid of debt. Yes, this is actually part of “prepping” for a disaster. You all know how I’m doing on the debt front (think, slowly but surely), and saving up as much as I can. I’m happy to say that I met a personal milestone goal this week in terms of saving, but because this is the internet, I won’t say exactly what that is. My adviser and I have agreed that any money made from my freelance work will be split three ways – some into savings, some into paying down the student loans, and some into my account in which I’m setting aside funds for next year’s taxes.
Learning self-defense and other skills. Some of you know that I have been going to self defense classes recently, and they are taught at a school that teaches the art of Krav Maga. While I’m not so naive as to think that’s all I would need to know, I figure that is good knowledge to have whether or not the world as we know it collapses. While I’m stronger than most women my size, truth is, I’m small. I need both physical strength and mental smarts, as in how to avoid conflicts, etc. Also, I don’t plan on living in the city forever, so if I am in the suburbs or even a more rural area, I will need to know how to take care of myself.
I am considering saving up to buy myself a physical weapon, but believe me, I will have so much training on it before that happens. And, of course, I will research the hell out of it before I buy anything. Whether or not to own a gun is a very controversial issue and it’s one I am still figuring out for myself. I won’t judge others on this, so I ask you to not judge me either. (I welcome your thoughts, just say them in a constructive way in the comments if you have an opinion.)
Learning practical skills. In this area, I have a lot of work to do. I’m not a handy person at all, so I need to learn how to use tools, do bicycle maintenance, etc. I haven’t done a whole lot of research into this area, but I definitely plan on it, whether it be through adult education classes or via watching gazillions of youtube videos on how to do things, make things, etc.
The problem I’m having with resolving these two different frames of thought is that I feel like with survivalism, there is a bit of negativity and a whole lot of fear, and that’s not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to live every day like “oh my God, the sky is falling!” I’ve developed a positive attitude about a lot of things and I like being that way. It didn’t happen overnight – my attitude took a hell of a lot of work and self-reflection and I went through a whole lot of pain to get to the point where I am now in life. But, with minimalism, are the people who follow that line of thinking just living in a dream world?
What do you think? Is it better to be a minimalist and only have what you need for right now, or is it better to be prepared, even if nothing happens?