I was driving around the other day listening to a podcast that I enjoy. The host as usual was covering a wide range of topics and began to list for the millionth time a lot of things that I am personally concerned about. Without getting into too many specifics; events such as our economy, relationship with Russia, eroding freedoms, growing police state, the threat of Ebola, chemical bombardment of our bodies from our food and water, the open borders and a million other side topics seem to be coming at us constantly. The noise from all of these events, if you are paying attention and not losing yourself in other distractions, can sometimes give me a headache. There seems to be so much happening right now in our lives. It feels like we are speeding towards some catastrophe ahead at breakneck speed. I can’t visualize what it is or how it will appear, but I know it is coming. I swear I feel it in my bones.
Am I being paranoid? Maybe, but I like to consider myself a rational, grounded person. I know, what crazy person thinks they are crazy, right? Well maybe I am but I go through my daily life without any breakdowns. I have a wonderful family, a great job, plenty of friends and I feel good about my life. How can I feel good about my life when I just said that I feel like we are speeding towards catastrophe? There are several things that I think make this possible and I will try to lay them out in a coherent way here, but at the end of the day I think it comes down to having a good prepping-life balance.
You have no doubt heard the term work-life balance to describe the proper prioritization between what you do to pay the bills (work or career) and the rest of your life that isn’t devoted to bringing home the bacon. For years companies and the consultants who make money selling their advice to companies have said that “people” want a good work-life balance. This I believe is just a fancy way for saying they don’t want to work too hard or long. A proper work-life balance would seem to be that you didn’t even feel like you were working at all. To this end companies have offered thousands of programs like bringing in lunch, adding gyms to the facilities and offering daycare for your children for free. This side of the work-life balance is to the company’s favor in that you will work more because they are keeping you at the facility for some of the lifestyle things you would normally need to leave for. OK they aren’t completely evil and I have to give them credit for making some concessions like this. They know that happy employees are productive employees and this turns into all sorts of advantages for the company.
What are you focused on?
But on top of providing perks to their employees in the way of lunches, fitness facilities, rides to work etc. Some companies have instituted programs that allow you to take a couple of weeks off a year to go work with your favorite charity or one day each week to spend working on anything you want that isn’t related to your job. The conventional wisdom is that we are happier when we work on things that we really feel connected to and by giving their employees time off to find their happiness they will return refreshed and focus more on the work they were hired to do.
But what the heck does this have to do with Prepping? There were a couple of things that prompted these thoughts. One of them was that I was reflecting on all we do as preppers and how easy it is to get caught up in the news of the day. Listening to the news reports constantly rehashing from every angle the threats to our families, begins building these items into that list we all keep in the back of our minds. You have one too probably. That list of threats or concerns that we preppers itemize as easily as our weekend chores, occupies a percentage of my focus. At least it does in my case and each time there is another news story that starts to push at my prepper buttons by making me think about prepping supplies I still need to acquire or refresh. The reminders of that training that I need to schedule time off work to do bends my daily focus tends towards the prepping side of my prepping-life balance. In other words, I think much more about prepping sometimes to the detriment of the rest of my life and it isn’t reserved for when I am off work. It is like they are all competing for my attention. Prepping-life-work balance.
Another person reminded me of this recently when a reader of our blog, C.Love asked me a question about budgeting. His question was really about how much of your money would you budget for prepping, but it made me think of how much time should you budget as well and how together these two items if not kept in check could upset your own prepping-life balance. It was a good question because I started thinking about my own prepping habits for lack of a better word and how much of my money and time were spent on this thing we call prepping.
Getting back to my earlier point about how I believe I have a good prepping-life balance I say that because even though I know there are things out there to worry about, I am not truly worried. For me I try to remember the following things:
Have hope – Above all I have hope that even though I sense something bad in the future, we will be able to ride it out. We as a family will survive and that is why I am prepping. I am not prepping to die, I am prepping to live and that is my goal.
Appreciate the life you have now – By this I mean you have to take time and love on the people you love. It is so easy to be consumed by prepping for this disaster or planning for some other crisis. You are probably planning because you don’t want anyone you love to be hurt, right? Well take a day off and go spend time with these people you are prepping for. Go help someone you don’t even know, give some of your time off to a person who could use some help. Listen to your kids tell you about their day – all day.
Take care of the basics – Prepping for me boils down to simple things. The rest of it is window dressing but the core requirements for survival through almost anything are water, food, shelter and security. Once you have the basics covered relax a little and work on the rest as you can. Prepping isn’t a race and even though I swear it feels like something bad is just around the next corner, if I am being honest it has felt like that for 7 years. The impending sense of doom is one of the things that drives me to prep and hopefully keeps my guard up but I don’t need to spend time everyday working on my preps.
Whatever happens will happen – Lastly, I try to have the outlook on life that we are all small pieces in this giant universe and whatever is going to happen will happen no matter what you do. There are some things I will just let roll off my back because I can’t do anything to affect them. I do try to take care of the things in my sphere of influence but the rest is out of my control. If you have a plan and supplies to take care of your family you can relax in some ways knowing that you have taken care of part of your prepping needs.
I think if I can keep those things in the front of my mind, I will continue to be happy with my life and hopefully my family will too. I have prepping supplies, but not everything I would like or think I need. I am confident I can take care of my family, but I don’t know all the threats out there. I am concerned on one hand about the future, but I know that when the time comes I will just play my role in whatever is supposed to happen. I know that each and every one of us goes through storms in life, but until that day comes I will enjoy the sun. I still prepare, but I am going to keep living too because that is what I want to have my family remember about me and life is what I want to share with them.
How’s your prepping-life balance?