On Mental Preparation

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As I was doing my daily blog reading this morning over on Thoughts from Frank and Fern, Fern wrote something that for some reason struck a nerve central to my emotions:

“Mental preparation is the most important aspect of preparedness and survival”

I’ve stated before that my husband and I are beginner preppers, and very much so. This concept is not only new to us, but new to our family and friends. When they bring up the books I’m reading, the supplies we’re buying, and the many other things we’re doing…there is an obvious sense of discomfort coming from them. Which in turn, makes us feel uncomfortable sharing our journey.

We get various responses from being laughed at, a few curious questions, but mostly just being blown off. We hear things like:

“I’m not a survivalist, I’ll just give up.”

“We’ll just leave if a crisis ever hits our town.”

“The government and Red Cross will help us.”

And my favorite:

“We’ll just come to your house.”

Scenarios quickly start coming to my mind…

You’re not a survivalist? What about the children you’re responsible for, how will they survive? Will you give up on them too? When your town, your state and your world is ready to rebuild, do you not want to be one of the people helping do that?

What if you can’t leave town? What if the roads are blocked? Do you know alternate routes? What if it is unsafe? Can you walk miles to safety?

What if there is no one to come save the day and you’re responsible for yourself? What if there is no food left in the stores? No water left in the pipes? The government is not a knight in shining armor, I think we all know this.

The daily headlines are enough to make me want to lock up in my house, crawl under a rock, and hide from the world. But, avoidance and denial won’t solve anything. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. Civilization has collapsed in one form or another how many times in the history of the world? We’re still here, because there are survivors among us.

Survivors persevere. Those who are willing, prepared, and determined to survive do.

I’ve been told I’m a pessimist because I’m “preparing for the end of the world” (not my words). We still live our lives. We have date nights. We get on the floor every evening and play with our daughter. We visit family, cook dinners, and enjoy time with friends.

Life is all about balance. I balance enjoying the right now and being grateful, while preparing for the worst. Rather than watching 3 hours of television after my daughter goes to sleep, I read. I research. We talk.

My to do lists keeping getting longer and yes, some days it feels overwhelming. A friend I’ve made throughout this blogging gig, Dayna, summed it up perfectly in her comment on this post. She said:

“It is good to have a fire lit under me to prepare. However, the enormity of it can paralyze me. I have an overwhelming urge to have it all in place RIGHT NOW!”

 At first, I felt somewhat insulted when people would react by throwing the sensationalized stereotypes and assumptions at us. But that insulted feeling turned to frustration, then to pity, and now worry. I worry that the people I care for most in this world will not be ready when they need to be. I fear they will be caught with their pants down, frozen with no idea what to do next. Me on the other hand, I’ll be ready to run and ready to survive and feel satisfied, even if only for a moment, that I’ve done all that I could leading up to that moment to prepare my family and give us a better chance.

Frank and Fern said that fear is a powerful thing. It can paralyze you or motivate you.

I also believe that life is just time made up of choices we make.

I choose to be motivated. I choose to live the best life I can, while preparing for the worst.

Maybe that’s the real reason why I started this blog. Maybe there are other people out there who feel a little insecure about what their choices are, maybe this will serve as a safe place for them to openly talk about it. Or, maybe this will serve as inspiration to those that currently don’t have a desire to survive.

Either way, whatever purpose this blog serves, I hope it helps someone. 🙂


2 thoughts on “On Mental Preparation

  1. I think one of the best things about getting a bit older (I’m in my 30s) is seeing the fruits of small efforts over a long period of time. I remind myself of that when I feel overwhelmed. Knowing my tendency to feel overwhelmed is important in being mentally tough. I know how to work past it too.

    Asking myself what small thing can I do to get me past that feeling is helpful. A deep breath and a cup of coffee, for example. Sounds small, but knowing I have a french press, water, coffee grounds, shelf stable half and half is a comfort. Not as important as some of the other items and I could go with out it. Perhaps my anchor will be a deep breath and remembering what I am thankful for.

    My son and I (he’s 9) are reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I haven’t read it since I was a girl and am really enjoying seeing through adult eyes. The family relied on the supply chain (the train) to make it through the winter. When they train stopped running and the town ran out of food they had to make it work. They ran out of coal so they burned hay twisted in sticks, and reduced their heated area to one room. They ran out of kerosene so they made “button lamps” with axle grease. They ran out of milled wheat so they ground it themselves in a coffee grinder. The best part though is how the parents kept up the spirits of the family. They kept up their routine as much as possible. They saved reading material to use as treats. They told stories and played music. They recited things and marched around the kitchen. They made games out of things. They were not allowed to complain. When Laura started to complain she was tired of bread she was scolded and only then did she noticed how low they were on wheat. It can get worse.

    Once last thing. Today my son thought it was PJ day at school but wasn’t sure. He wanted to wear his jammies but had to think about if he was wrong he would be the only one wearing them. He was confident but at the last minute started to waver. I told him “be confident. If some one says something, just shrug your shoulders and say ‘at least I’m comfy'” That how I deal with people that comment on my life, or try to. “We feel it’s important.” “It’s what we do in our family.” “This our goal” We don’t have to explain ourselves beyond that. Be confident in your ability to figure out your own priorities and what risks your willing to take. And what ones your not.

    Thanks for quoting me in your post!


    • Dayna, thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind response. It means the world to me that you took the time to respond to my random concerns and stream of consciousness. I am about to bust into the 30’s (3 weeks!) 🙂 I LOVE the advice that you gave your son and the advice you had for me in response to the naysayers. It means so so much to know that there are like-minded individuals out there that are “friends” 🙂


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