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StockRisingNon-preppers don’t get it. They think we’re wasting our time and our money. They think we live in constant fear of calamity. They think nothing will ever come of it and all of our preparations will be for nothing.

I respectfully disagree, but for more reasons than might be apparent. Whether TEOTWAWKI occurs during my lifetime or not, prepping has improved my life in numerous significant ways. Here are a few that come to mind:

Peace of Mind — We recently had lunch with a non-prepping friend who knows what we’ve been doing. While discussing current events and the potential threats they present, he said, “I couldn’t live like you, always worrying about all the problems that could happen.”

He is only half right. We think about these things often. But we don’t worry about them. Why? Because we are better prepared to face them than the average citizen. We are thinking three moves ahead and staying vigilant so we don’t get taken by surprise. We have supplies set aside for such events. We have skills and plans that we didn’t used to have. And above all else, Sandy and I don’t place our hope and trust in our equipment and our skills, but in God. Our trust in God isn’t Plan B, our last resort, but our first and foremost place of refuge. All of these — faith, knowledge, supplies, plans, and watchfulness — give us tremendous peace of mind, much more so than before we started prepping.

Our non-prepping friend brought up his apprehension about the instability of North Korea. He also talked about his fears concerning the vulnerability of our nation’s electrical grid. He knows the threats (these two, at least), and yet he has willfully chosen to do nothing to improve his ability to ride them out. He says that he wants to spend his time and money on things that help him enjoy his life. My preps make me significantly better prepared to deal with these kinds of threats, if they ever occur. Who do you think has greater peace of mind, him or me? What is peace of mind worth?

Greater Security — Our introduction to firearms has been written about many times in these pages. Next to storing food, learning gun safety and acquiring firearms were among the first preps that we did. (Notice that learning came before acquiring – that’s a good order to follow.) Being able to comfortably and competently handle firearms has provided both of us a greater sense of security. Home invasions are on the rise everywhere, but now we’re better prepared to defend our home and our lives if anyone chooses to target our house.

I’m More Healthy — I spend more time outside since I’ve become a prepper. That’s a good thing. I still don’t get as much exercise as I should, but I get more than I did before I started prepping. If the lights ever go off across America, there will be a lot more physical work to do. It’s wise to be in good shape to be ready to deal with it. I’m nowhere near being up to speed in this area, but I’m closer to it than I used to be.

Prepping led me to plant a garden two years ago. I started small but added to it last year, and this year’s garden will be even bigger. I grow my vegetables organically, so my garden enables me to eat better than I used to.

One of Sandy’s new areas of prepping expertise is with essential oils. She has used essential oils to treat congestion, insomnia, sore muscles, and wounds, all of which lead to better health. We also routinely diffuse healthy essential oils in our bedroom and living room. We’re helping our body fight off all the bad stuff before it reaches critical mass.

Research shows that as we age, learning new things is important for our ongoing mental health. Consistent training has prolonged effects on the brain, improving our memory and impacting our ability to do everyday tasks. Well, I’m learning lots of new things, so my brain cells are getting their exercise regularly! And one of the great things about prepping is that there is always more to learn.

Closer Marriage Relationship — I’ve read a lot of questions on prepper forums and message boards about how to get your spouse to join in your prepping efforts. (These aren’t all men. There are a lot of prepping women whose husbands don’t agree with their activities.) I feel their pain. It must be terrible to be divided on such a critical issue. Fortunately, that isn’t the case in our household. The need to get prepared was impressing itself on me in numerous ways over the course of several months before I ever said anything to Sandy about it. I’m incredibly blessed that her reaction almost immediately was, “You’re absolutely right. What should we do about it?” She has been a full partner in all of our prepping efforts, leading the way in many of them. For example, it was Sandy’s idea to start this blog so that we could help get the word out to others who are considering prepping or are just getting started with it.

Partnering with your spouse in any significant endeavor brings you closer together. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Sandy and I have always been blessed with a good marriage, but prepping has brought us even closer. We plan and work and learn and grow together. We see the importance of what we’re doing and we do it together. I’ll allow for the possibility that Sandy may not be the best wife in the world, but she’s the best one for me.

It Makes Me a Better Citizen — There are different ways to approach prepping. Some people do it to provide for themselves and their loved ones to the exclusion of all others. I won’t fault that approach, but I don’t follow it myself. We have voluntarily violated OPSEC (operational security) by writing this blog. We publish information on the Internet about products that we’ve bought to become prepared for hard times ahead. I’m not saying that everyone should do this — in fact, I would caution against it. Practicing good OPSEC and not spilling the beans (so to speak) to the world about all of your plans and preparations is a very good thing. But I would encourage you to leave room in your heart and in your preps to help others during a time of hardship.

Sandy and I prayed about starting this blog before we ever started broadcasting it to the world. We recognize the fact that we can’t become prepared enough to go it on our own if things get really bad. We just can’t do it all. I can’t be a mechanic and a farmer and a construction worker and a doctor and an infantryman and everything else that I would need to survive a real hard crash. I need a community. As such, I’ve taken some steps in my preps to provide for some of the needs of other people. One example that is near to my heart is the spiritual needs of others. When things get bad, many people turn to God, but knowledge of God isn’t as prevalent in our society today as it was a generation or two ago. So I have included in my storage cases of inexpensive Bibles and New Testaments that I will be able to give out to friends and neighbors when they decide that they want them. Sandy writes another blog, www.ApprehendingGrace.com, that talks about integrating our faith in Christ with our everyday lives. These are a couple of the ways that we want to be able to help support those around us when calamity strikes. We want to be a part of the solution, not a part of a problem.

Prepping has led me to become a better citizen in some broader ways, as well. I’m more ecologically aware and sensitive now than I ever have been before. I might need to rely on a nearby stream for drinking water at some time down the road. I don’t want to see it polluted or the water table depleted. I want to make sustainability a priority. I want to incorporate more solar energy into my home. These are things that help make the world a cleaner and better place than we found it, and that’s good citizenship. Prepping did that for me.

Convenience — Yeah, what could possibly be more convenient than being a prepper, right? But prepping really has made my life more convenient in at least a couple of significant ways. First, following the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared,” I now carry more stuff with me than I used to. My Mom lived like a prepper. Seems like anytime we were out and needed some small item, she’d rummage around in her purse for a minute and then produce the very thing that we needed (or a reasonable facsimile). Taking a cue from Mom, now when I’m out and about, I might not have everything I need to deal with every possible situation, but I’m better equipped than before with tools, pocket knife, flashlight, etc.

Another example is with my food preps. Following the dictate of “store what you eat and eat what you store,” I tend to not run out of things anymore. I have more of whatever I need in my storage pantry. It’s like having a grocery store in my own house. You can’t beat that for convenience.

The Bottom Line — Being a prepper hasn’t been a drain on my life and resources, it’s enhanced both. It doesn’t make me more anxious, it gives me peace of mind. It helps me be a better version of myself. And that’s a good thing.

13 Responses to Prepping Improved My Life

  • messenger says:

    Good article and thanks for the info. There is a point that may seem out of context that I want to address here, please. This is a more senior specific prep than one that spans across all ages, probably. In my age group, over 60, physical issues abound, but fortunately most of the maladies are correctible. However, we have many friends who are postponing things like knee replacement surgery, cataract removals, hip replacements etc, until they can’t take another step or their vision is one step short of carrying a white cane. After teotwawki the ability to correct these problems will not exist and total breakdown of the physical structure and blindness will be unavoidable. Worse yet what if the grid goes down indefinitely while one of these operations is being performed. It would seem that good advice to all ‘seniors’ is to get these operations completed now, while we still have time. Thanks and keep the FAITH! Christ be with you always.

    • Dog — Thanks for the tangent that you took. Besides running a business, writing a blog, and doing some ministry, I also work part-time in a hospital. (I wasn’t looking for something else to do. I had to find a way to get someone to pay for my health insurance.) I see two kinds of cases over and over again. First, there are those who run to the ER for the least little thing, all of which are far from being a true emergency. The other thing I see is people who wait too long to come in — mainly macho guys who don’t want to have anything to do with doctors. Here’s a word of wisdom to all my readers: If someone who loves you tells you that you need to see a doctor or go to the ER, shut up and do it. Chances are real good that their judgment is working better than yours at that point. They know what you’re like when you’re well, and they can tell when you’re not well. Don’t put it off. It won’t get better on its own. Go see the doctor. I’ve talked to too many widows who have told me that their late husbands refused to see a doctor and died needlessly as a result of it.

      But I digress. Yes, Dog, some people who don’t procrastinate in any other area of their life will drag their feet to the grave rather than go to a doctor or have a needed procedure done. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent. I hope that if folks don’t listen to me, they’ll listen to you.

  • patjflynn@bex.net says:

    Phil, good for u and Sandy !

    I agree with your comments and yes, I am a tough guy senior ( never thought I’d EVER say that ) at 53 years of age but have come to realize that I’m no longer capable of doing the mechanical, machining, electrical or construction labor I used to enjoy. But there’s nobody younger than me who would benefit from my knowledge or experience, at least no one I am familiar with although there never seems to to be an unending line of folks who can’t find their rear ends with a flashlight in a telephone booth who show up at my door looking for help and of course I do help them because they’ve braved my grumpy nature. Brave or desperate souls I reckon.

    I do love Christ and this confounds many of my friends and family because I’m so mean.

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

    BTW, I am trying to learn to play guitar, am writing 2 short novels and building several WW2 airplanes.

    • Snake — It sounds like you’ve got quite a list of skills that would be valuable to a group of like-minded, cranky, old fart preppers. And if you found such a group, I’m reasonably certain that they would provide some beneficial services and expertise to you, as well. As for the guitar playing, I read an article recently that said having a musician in your post-SHTF group could be good for morale. Of course that would depend on how well they play. I told a friend of mine that I knew a guy who was taking bagpipe lessons. My friend asked, “How can he tell if he’s getting any better?”

      Thanks for writing. Loved your work in Escape From New York. When’s the next sequel coming out?

      • patjflynn@bex.net says:

        Now that’s downright hilarious Phil: ” How can you tell if he’s getting any better?” LOL! Made my day.

        Not sure when the next Snake Plisken sequel will be due. ” Escape from Mosul ” has a certain ring to it doesn’t it?

        Getting back to you your original topic: prepping makes me feel secure. I can feed myself, warm my house, provide clean drinking water and defend myself for many months if required.

        For instance, I resigned from a job last week that I’ve had for 7 years and am in the job hunt process outside of the industry I’ve been in for 24 years. I would never have done that drastic move if I didn’t have 3 months of savings and plenty of supplies on hand. I’ve got that cushion to rely on and am now agressively pursuing new and interesting opportunities. I could have never done this had i been unprepared. Luck favors the prepared mind and yeah, I’m a bit scared and anxious but prepping has given me the opportunity to pursue what I want to do.

        I’ve been putting in applications at all the Big Box hardware stores in my area because ever since i was a kid I’ve wanted to work in a hardware store. Kind of odd I realize but my sales and construction knowledge would be a big advantage to a company.

        If things get dicey by early spring and i don’t get hired on by the companies I’m targeting then I’ll happily go to work at WalMart or Costco. Pride goes by the wayside when the rent comes due and I refuse unemployment.

        BTW, my Dad had a canyption fit when he found out that had resigned. He wasn’t freaking out too bad but was disappointed. My brother and i took the old fella to lunch and the old man wanted to know if I was applying for unemployment or welfare. My youngest brother laughed and said ” Snake has more beans and bullets than the DHS.”

        Not only is being prepared for emergencies very important but prayer is too.

        I am at peace!

        Best to all!

        Snake Plisken

        • Snake — You make an outstanding point there! Prepping gives us the freedom to make decisions and take risks that we otherwise couldn’t. I think there’s a future blog article there, my friend. I’m honored to have such wise readers who share their good stuff with me. Thx.

  • Randy Bock says:

    I entirely agree with your post. My wife and my son both tell me I’m the most organized person they know. Although I know that God is in control of all, I can’t help but want to keep a hand in things. I believe in being proactive instead of reactive. To that end, I have on hand what I KNOW I’ll need, sooner or later, be it food, water, water heaters, firewood, animal food, tools, duct tape, etc. And, I usually ONLY buy things on sale…just a lot of it. So, being a prepper saves me money, time, trips to the market. Plus, it’s just fun.

    • Randy — Nothing wrong with being an organization enthusiast. Every group need one of them — but it’s best if there is only one, or conflict is certain to ensue. I loved your comment about being proactive versus reactive. I looked at a lot of stock photos and illustrations for this blog post before I settled on the ascending stock chart image, but one I liked played up the proactive / reactive theme. I might have to go buy that one, too, for a future post. You’re dead on about the benefits you receive from prepping: saves time and money, and yes, it really is fun. Thx for writing.

  • patjflynn@bex.net says:

    BTW, Phil, did you know there are people out there who don’t even know they are preppers?

    My next door neighbor is one of those unaware that he’s a prepper. He heats his home with wood that he cuts and cans/pickles food from his father in laws garden and has a well for water. The guy has a Morton building that abuts my property and has just about every kind of metal or wood odds and ends all neatly organized. When i need some lumber or galvanized pipe I ask him and when I offer to pay he won’t take any cash. I guess that’s normal around here because I do provide lots of fresh veggies from my gardens to his family ( he’s got 3 kids and one on the way bless his heart ) and in turn he often needs screws, bolts and fasteners then he comes to my place and picks through my collection ( which is well organized BTW ) and takes what he needs at no charge.

    I’ve been in his nice home several times and noticed that he has a well stocked pantry but I’ve never said anything about prepping. Really no need to is there?

    He kind of reminds me of my grandparents who grew up on farms in the Great Depression; your survival depended on hard work, canning and pickling, raising chickens and butchering your livestock for food or sale. Like my neighbor, my grandparents were completely unaware of prepping because to them, these activities weren’t a hobby, it was survival.

    We have a pass thru gate on our privacy fence that he unlocked a couple of years ago ( the person who owned my current home at that time had a serious pill problem ) and I plan on approaching my neighbor and asking him if he would be interested in working together to raise chickens for meat and eggs. I’ve never raised chickens but if the neighbor is willing I’ll learn to provide for them and I think his kids would get a kick out of collecting the fresh eggs. I can’t have them on my property due to HOA regs ( the chickens that is!).

    So I guess I’m not as grumpy and mean as I like to think I am. I just want to surround myself with smart, hardworking and industrious people. I use my ” grumpy face ” to keep others at bay.

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

    • Snake — Yes, my parents were young newlyweds during the Great Depression. Many from that generation became preppers for the rest of their lives just as a good “insurance policy” against the unknown. Sounds like a darned good idea to me.

  • Snake Plisken says:

    I forgot to mention another aspect of how prepping changed my life Phil. As I mentioned before, I recently left long term employment for a whole variety of reasons I won’t get into but 2 years ago I was already planning my escape from being a corporate officer and manager. I began to squirrel away whatever cash I could to fund my grubstake so I could have the luxury of time to find the job I wanted. 50 dollars there a 100 here and it adds up quick.

    I also reduced my monthly costs as much as possible. I no longer have cable but rather a digital antenna with 9 crystal clear channels ( still have high speed internet ) and negotiated with the insurance and cell phone companies for more favorable rates. We also installed two low volume toilets and within 14 months they had paid for themselves in water cost savings. Got rid of the BMW ( it was a 200 5 series ) and bought a well maintained Ford F150.

    I now shop at three different stores. Aldi’s for bread and english muffins, Kroger for fresh fruit and veggies then hop on over to Meijer for anything else the pantry needs. I never used to shop around like that and have found that the savings add up to about a full tank of gas every two. And it’s fun!

    I also quit drinking last year and have saved a bundle on that alone. I used to have a weakness for good Scotch which was costing me around 60 dollars a week.

    I don’t miss the expensive doo dads at all and come to find that my prepping has put me in a good place mentally. If it wasn’t the planning and prepping over the last many years I’d be in deep Sh!t. In fact paring back on all the luxuries I used to enjoy has simplified my life by a power of 10.

    Prepping has radically changed my life for the better! I am very blessed.

    Keep on posting Phil. I enjoy reading your posts very much

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