by Daisy Luther
Right now, every prepper I know is busily trying to tie up any loose ends before the pandemic outbreak racing across the country becomes even worse. They’re buying last-minute supplies, securing their homes, and organizing their plans. They are managing their families, many of whom aren’t taking the situation seriously.
They’re trying to think of every last thing they possibly can before the situation becomes worse. They know there is more than likely going to be a point in time at which they have what they have and adding more supplies will be unlikely, if not impossible.
It’s important to know right now that things will not go perfectly. That’s just not how it works. You won’t think of everything, you won’t be able to afford everything you might want, your family members who aren’t on board are going to think you’ve gone off the deep end, and there are skills you’re going to wish you had learned.
You are causing yourself undue stress in an already highly-stressful situation by demanding unrealistic levels of perfection.
I hate to break it to you but the SHTF is upon us and you probably won’t handle every detail “perfectly.”
Don’t worry about that. I know this is the big thing we’ve been training for, but it’s okay for things not to go exactly right. You just need to make peace with that realization now.
The stuff you forgot to get before the apocalypse
One thing I see a lot in the emails I get and in the groups where I’m a member is people saying, “What am I missing? What did I forget?”
In fact, when I talked to Selco recently, I asked him the same thing. After all, this is my first real-deal apocalypse. He replied, “You probably did forget something. Everyone does. No one thinks of everything.”
And it’s so true. I know this is a whole lot more life-or-death, but for example, have you ever gone to the store to get one thing, left with a cart full of other things, and forgotten the thing you went in for?
We forget things.
None of us are “perfectly” prepared. No matter how many checklists we dutifully fulfill, no matter how many times you inventory what you have, no matter how often you mull over your plans, you’re either going to miss something or some crazy variable is going to come out of left field and make you say, “Oh, crap! Why didn’t I get any whatchamadoodles!?!?”
And this is okay.
This is life. Even in an apocalyptic situation.
This is where your prepper mindset comes into play.
Maybe you don’t have a whatchamadoodle when you need one, but perhaps you can make one. Perhaps you can improvise with something totally different than the whatchamadoodle and come up with a unique but acceptable substitute. Perhaps you can do whatever it is you were trying to do without a whatchamadoodle at all.
All you can do is get the things you think of ahead of time and hope you got most of what you need. Hoping you got all of what you need is a pretty extreme goal, even for those of us who’ve spent years preparing.
There are going to be things you never realized you should have gotten until the moment when you need them.
The stuff you couldn’t afford
I have limited funds. You probably do too. There are very few of us who can buy everything on our prepper dream list. A lot of us can’t afford to have a home where we work and another home to bug out to on a magical piece of property that has the prepper triad of fresh, clean water, defensibility, and a good place to grow food.
You may not be where you wanted to be before the apocalypse struck for the plain, simple reason that you don’t have enough money.
And especially now, with people losing jobs left, right, and center, it’s possible that money is even more of an object than it was before.
We can only do what we can do with the amount of money we have. You don’t have to be rich to survive. People have survived terrible situations for as long as humanity has existed without special gear that would have made it easier. You can too.
The stuff you wish you’d learned ahead of time
I was going to buy a shotgun before this all happened. But I waited too long (see above – I needed to wait until I had the money to do so) and once I had the money, all the gun ranges in the state where I’ve found myself were closed, so I wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn how to use it. I decided, what good will this purchase be if I have never shot this particular firearm in my life? If I don’t know how to safely load and unload it? If I don’t have a clue what I’m doing?
I decided to stick with the handguns I’m familiar with instead of adding something I don’t have the time or capability to learn about.
Before this is over, there will probably be things that make you think, “Why on earth didn’t I learn how to do this when times were good?”
You’ll need to repair something, grow something, build something, or deal with a medical issue that you never even considered handling before. You won’t know how to do it. If you’re lucky, the internet will be here and you can YouTube it or ask people online. If you’re less lucky and the internet is kaput, but still somewhat fortunate, you’ll be able to look it up in one of the umpteen-million prepper books you purchased.
And if your luck has run out you’ll either figure it out, find someone who can teach you or who you can bribe with a good barter to do it for you, or you will come up with some kind of workaround.
Is it ideal? Maybe not, but every person does not possess every skill. Learn what you can, get the educational resources you can, and work with this.
The family members who think you’ve gone off the deep end
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have family members who think they’ve taken this “prepping stuff” too far. Nearly everyone has one of the spouses, the aging parents, the rebellious teenagers, and the young adults in our lives who think we have truly and finally lost our marbles. And as our intensity increases to remember to buy the things we may need, to be able to afford the things we may need, and to learn the skills we may need, the doubters in your life will be even more certain that you’ve lost your mind.
In situations where you can, you have to ignore these people. That isn’t so easy when it’s a person with whom you share a budget who is upset about how much money you’ve been spending. It isn’t simple when your teen announces that you have 794 rolls of toilet paper by posting a photo of it on social media. It is far from easy when your elderly parent tries to sit you down and explain that you’re going overboard and the current situation is being blown out of proportion. Your kid may miss his social life and do something shockingly stupid, putting everyone in the home at risk and you may have to crack down to a level your spouse thinks is unreasonable.
It’s so hard to do when everyone seems to be working against you. It can make you doubt that you’re doing the right thing by preparing so feverishly. It can make you question whether this looming event is “the big one” we’ve all been talking about and planning for, ever since you became a prepper.
You just have to carry on and do your best within the limitations you have. One day they’re going to be thankful that you did.
The stuff you didn’t see coming
The thing about SHTF events and disasters is that there are always variables. There are often concurrent disasters that make Disaster 1 even worse than it was already. These concurrent disasters may take you completely by surprise.
You cannot think of every variable in the entire world.
I mean, who expected a massive tornado to hit in the middle of a pandemic? Jonesboro, Arkansas probably didn’t but guess what? It happened. Who expected a hurricane in the middle of a pandemic? Guess what? There are 7-9 of them brewing at sea right now. Who planned to have their baby during a pandemic? Well, the pandemic happened and there are buns in ovens and…these babies will be born into the chaos of this crazy time.
Your primary breadwinner could lose his or her job -that’s happened to millions. You could break your leg right before all hell breaks loose. House fires can happen at any point in time. If someone decides to break into your home, it will probably be through some means that never even crossed your mind. A friend of mine who is extremely well-prepared had thought of everything… except an unexpected series of events with loved ones – events that were completely out of her control – which decimated part of her plan and caused her boundless stress.
Stuff is going to happen. Stuff over which you have no control. This is especially true when our entire system is already running differently.
You’re just going to do the best that you can and you’re going to have to be ready to swiftly adapt your plans to your reality.
It’s an SHTF-level disaster
What’s happening in the world right now is just the beginning of an SHTF-level disaster. Now, I’m not saying I expect things to go totally Mad Max this weekend or next, but I am saying that we’re stepping into previously uncharted territory. We’re in the midst of a deadly pandemic and our economy is crashing as officials try to mitigate it. (Look – concurrent disasters!)
Definitely keep prepping in any way that you can, for as long as you can do so safely. But keep in mind that there’s no way you have thought of everything you might need, been able to afford everything you might want, learned every skill that might possibly be needed, and are surrounded only by people who think you’re a genius as you empty the bank accounts buying preps. None of these things constitutes a failure on your part.
You have to stop being so hard on yourself. You have to control your levels of stress. Becoming overly stressed and panicked before the event has even unfolded to an epic SHTF-crisis level is a terrible waste of your energy. It can even lead to you becoming more susceptible to illness.
You can’t think of everything. After all, you’ve never lived through a pandemic, an economic collapse, and months of lockdown before. None of us has. It’s okay to have forgotten things.
We will all run into setbacks and unexpected catastrophes. It’s the nature of this particular beast. When part of our social norms goes to hell, other parts will follow.
It’s your ability to shake off these perceived failures and keep pushing forward that will determine your true level of preparedness. Do the best that you can with the resources that you have and keep your mind clear.
That’s all any of us can do.