Moments after he started talking, we knew what we were in for.
“Off grid? I’m going to go off grid someday. Well, when I convince my wife. But we’re going to have chickens and cows, and I think maybe we’ll move up into Northern Ontario. Really far up north where we need to trek for a week to see other people. It’ll toughen our girls up. And …”
The last time we saw him, he was planning on surprising his wife and three young children by cutting the power and tricking them into an electricity-free week. We didn’t stick around to see how that turned out.
You want to lower your stress levels, simplify your life and be healthier? You enjoy the weekends at the cabin but want more of that? It is true that people who are prepared and self-reliant are calmer than those who fret and worry daily about what might happen.
Many people get tired of the rat race and long for something more calming. They see the difference between the relaxing weekend at the cabin and the snarl of traffic on Monday mornings.
Over and over again, people tell me that they wish they could leave the city and move out to the hills.
And some do it – they sell their suburban homes and head for remote locations with the determination that they will be “lone wolves” and lead a completely self-sufficient life.
Those who know that we have, in many ways, done that might be surprised to hear me say that preparedness is not about pulling yourself away from society and living like a hermit. For me, moving to a mountain homestead was the culmination of a thirty-year-old dream. It just happened that preparedness and my personal dream meshed perfectly.
And even then, I decided, after three years, that would be much happier and healthier with a supportive community.
Preparedness is living a life that doesn’t rely on the others to see you through a short term or long term disaster. Or as my youngest son says ‘It means that you can rely on yourself – and others can rely on you.”
And the next hard truth is that not everyone is ready right now – as much as I would love everyone to be.
So how can you tell who’s a good fit and who will absolutely hate it?
First, becoming truly prepared for disasters and emergencies takes a lot of commitment. It’s very hard to be “prepped” on the weekends only! You must be able to switch your mind to thinking constantly about ways to increase your self-reliance and improve your chances of successfully managing disasters.
You’re either into it, or you’re not. If you’re ready to give up the way you’ve been living until now, and you’re ready to break free of the capitalistic mentality taught by society, then the lifestyle is for you.
Now, let’s take a moment and realize that you can still get prepared over time. In fact, I strongly recommend that those new to food storage start with a three month food supply for one person.
If you know that you’re ready to walk away from being totally dependent on others for your needs, then this is for you. You have to believe that what you’re gaining is a better life for yourself and your family.
If you know that you’re ready to get organized and are committed to building your short term and long term inventory of goods and supplies, then the prepper lifestyle is something you’d find to be a good fit.
Being ready to become totally self-sufficient is a good clue that you’re ready for a life change. If you’re ready to learn about self protection and first aid and how to take care of yourself and your family through anything, then you’re ready.
Preparedness is not about living to the extreme the way the wacky survivalists you see portrayed on television live. Really and truly, no tinfoil hat is required! It means you accept that there are things outside your control that could impact your life greatly, such as injury and illness, disasters, government collapse, etc. – and you want to be ready for whatever comes.
That’s when you know you’re ready to start prepping.
But not everyone who thinks they are actually is ready.
If you’re in a relationship and your partner is dead-set against it, hates it, wants no part of it, you’re not ready if you don’t want to risk ruining the relationship. This is not something that one person in the household can do without the help and support of the entire household. Focus on getting your partner on board.
You’re not ready if there are certain luxuries in your life that you feel you absolutely can’t give up – such as a daily trip to the local delicatessen or that expensive cup of coffee. You’re not ready and the lifestyle is not for you if you set aside money for supplies but then spend it on going out to eat or shopping for a new pair of shoes or the latest video game.
You’re not ready if you are quick to ask others for a bail out or if you have a deep expectation that other people “should help you. Expecting constant help is a path to discouragement (because the help will run out) and failure.
You’re not ready if you have a deep attachment to the conveniences of life and rely too heavily on technology. You can’t imagine your life without modern technology is a sign you’re not ready. Modern technology is wonderful, but make it your servant and not your master. Always know how to manage well without technology. And that includes those “must have” items like a refrigerator.
Are you willing to learn how to manage without those “vital” appliances? You can certainly arrange your life so that most of those luxuries should be available, but when they’re not, you have to find ways to manage.
Are you willing and able to think outside the box, or are you rigidly stuck on ‘This is the way I’ve always done things.’ Preparedness requires the ability to adapt and learn quickly.
And again, if you’re of the Lone Wolf mentality and think that you can manage without others, I would say that you’re not ready. Failure to prepare for the children and seniors in your life means that you lose out on a lot of valuable skills and knowledge.
If you have an unwillingness to learn how to prepare for the future or aren’t interested in sustainable living, then you’re not ready for the prepper lifestyle.
But most people can envision a day when the worst case scenario happens, and if it happens to you, you’ll have to deal with it – ready or not.