Grief counselors often talk about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sounds like grief beats you into submission. What a buzzkill.

My experience with prepping suggests that there are predictable stages in the life of a prepper, too:

First is ignorance. There is trouble brewing all around us, threatening our security and our way of life, but in this stage we’re blissfully oblivious to the potential dangers and what we should be doing about them.

The second stage is awareness. It can creep up gradually or come upon us like a flood, but at some point we come to the awareness of the threats all around us, whether they be personal, national, global, environmental, political, economic, or all of the above. Awareness is a good thing, but when it comes, it can scare the crap out of you.

This leads to stage three. There are a number of different responses to awareness. The big three are denial (this could never really happen; our government will rescue us), fatalism (oh well, whatever will be will be; there’s nothing I can do about it), or action. The first two of these responses don’t lead to prepping. Quite the opposite. They lead to intentional unpreparedness, working under the belief (or wishful thinking) that IF anything bad were to actually happen, someone else would step in and take care of you. As if living in a FEMA camp for months is an appealing solution.

So for those who have become preppers, the only choice in stage three is to begin to take action. What actions are taken and to what degree they are pursued will be different from one person to another, based largely on what their starting point is. We all have a unique set of experiences, skills, knowledge, and motivation that defines our starting point. For those who have been blessed to grow up on a farm with lots of land for growing crops and raising animals, there won’t be much of a learning curve. They’ve grown up in a culture of self-sufficiency and sustainability.

At the other end of the spectrum is me: a die-hard, convenience-loving, city kid who doesn’t know which end of a hammer you’re supposed to hold on to. Folks like me have a hard row to hoe when it comes to prepping. I’ve come to awareness, but part of that awareness is an evaluation of how deep a hole I have to climb out of to become prepared to ride out an extended emergency. This blog is aimed at people like me, those who are total greenhorns in most of the areas necessary to becoming prepared. Folks who need someone who’s a step or two ahead of them in preparedness to help them get started.

Gettin’ Busy

So what does the action phase look like in the newly minted prepper? For the more self-sufficient ones it’s a matter of filling in the gaps in their already significantly prepared lifestyle. But for folks like me, it can be overwhelming. Now I have a couple of things going for me. I have the ability to see the Big Picture, I’m a life-long learner, and I’ve been blessed with a wife who has worked as a project management consultant to some of the largest companies in America. So while being overwhelmed was my immediate reaction to awareness, it soon became an exhilarating journey of discovery – boldly going where I had never gone before. I developed a burning interest in things that have never so much as been a blip on my radar before. I’m interested in solar power and gardening and self defense and ham radio and a whole lot more. Still overwhelming? Sure, but often it’s overwhelming with things that I want to do, not that I have to do. Having an interest and a purpose takes the drudgery out of work.

I admit that I’m still often overwhelmed when I get into a new aspect of prepping. What do I really need? How do I begin? What should my highest priorities be?  When you find yourself in this situation, break your action into categories. You can use our “Prepper Topics” menu as a guide. Then, identify tasks in each area that represent your next steps and prioritize them. (That’s what my project managing wife helps me do.)

What’s Next?

In the weeks and months to come, we want to help you map out your specific plan for preparedness as well. In addition to providing tools like checklists and baby step recommendations that will get you headed in the right direction, we’ll be starting an email prepper school. (We’re working on a catchy name for it – got any ideas?) The weekly email-subscription will help you focus on one prepper task each week that will move you toward your goal of becoming more prepared for an emergency.

We do a lot of reading and research here. It’s what I like to do. I might not be able to fix a broken tractor (yet), but I’ve been given the ability to absorb a lot of information and pass it on to others. This site exists first of all to sound the alarm of the potential threats that surround us, but most importantly to offer hope to those who might become overwhelmed or lost in the sea of details. Who among us is as fully prepared as they would like to be? I’m guessing none. But we can all take some kind of steps to become a little more prepared than we are right now. Let us know what your challenges are and we will strive to provide our best guidance in those areas.

We’re all in this together. Let’s commit to becoming a community of foresight, hope, and readiness.

7 Responses to Stages in the Life of a Prepper

    • Anita — Thank you for the nice comments. I took a peek at your blog. Very nice! I’m sure that our readers, especially those that are interested in canning or raising poultry, will really enjoy your site. Good stuff. Thanks for checking in.

  • GREAT! Good, sensible, clearly detailed article. We’ve been “PREPPING” for at LEAST 20 yrs., to one % or another, and VERY SERIOUSLY, for the last 5 yrs. Our biggest snag has been funds. But, the Lord HAS provided (even miraculously), and we are well established in MOST ares. Our next BIG Prep, is to get a house, instead of the apartment we’re presently in. We HAD a REALLY NICE house we were renting, but lost it to the owners desire to sell it…so…we’re house hunting, and working towards that accomplishment. Thanks for your help…look forward to your counsel!

    • We’re really glad you liked the article. As for your house plans, keep looking. Interest rates are going up right now, but there are still some good bargains to be had. Some people have had their houses on the market for a long time without selling and they’re ready to deal to get rid of the property before the higher interest rates become a problem for buyers. One of the main goals of this site is to help people see the hope that God offers to those who are going through difficult circumstances, whatever their emergency might be. It’s good to have food in your pantry and outdoorsman skills, but it’s even better to have a God who watches over us and answers our prayers. Thank you for reading and for the nice comment.

  • Elise says:

    And of course you can never really be too prepared, so once you get busy you’ll probably always be busy ;). Though hopefully to lesser extents as time goes on..

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