Gaye Levy, Contributing Writer
And if so, what do we do about it?
For many of us, prepping has been our mission and our passion for one year, two years, or perhaps even longer. It started with storing some extra water. Next was food and first aid supplies. Ultimately we set up defense systems and evacuation routes to ensure our safety in the event of a disaster — be it a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse.
We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear. And still we are compelled to do more. So I ask, is being prepared an addiction, an obsession, or a chore? Can we call it quits if we had to? Do we know when enough is enough? Or are we hoarding? And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?
These are tough questions which I will not even try to answer since the context of each may differ for different people. I will, however, offer up some definitions so that you can come up with your own answers and your own conclusions.
- Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
- Obsession: a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
- Chore: a routine or minor duty or task.
- Hoarding: a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.
- Habit forming. Check.
- Compulsive and persistent? Check.
- Routine task? Check.
- A hidden accumulation that is carefully guarded? A definite check.
Oh boy – four for four – not so good
Perhaps it is merely a perception, but it seems like every spare moment in our household is spent learning. It is spent drilling. And it is spent practicing the skills that will be needed in a SHTF situation. This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting! And not only that, any extra money we have is used to purchase more supplies and gear to get us through the tough and uncertain times ahead.
You know what else? The like-minded people that I pal around with feel the same way. With a life that was busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities has taken precious time away from other activities. I say it is time to regroup.
How do you feel? Has preparing for the unexpected taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your every day activities? Or not?
To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list:
Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?
Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?
Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of you work, family and prepping activities?
What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?
Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month? What is that?
Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?
When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?
When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?
Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?
I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself now, for in spite of the dire outlook for our country and our planet, we still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and for some of us, a lifetime.
Be content with the knowledge that you have prepared and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.
Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession. Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life. Go out for an occasional movie. Have a few beers with friends. Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie. But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.
Being prepared is a chore, but a chore that should have a happy ending.
Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us. Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!