At some point, the information you have been processing must turn to action. The knowledge that you have been gaining and the perspective of someone who now sees the world differently has to be used to do something for yourself or your loved ones. You must make the choice now to be proactive, to lead and to take control of your life from a prepping perspective because Hope won’t feed you.
In my own prepping journey, there have been phases. Initially I was on a serious information gathering mission and devoured all of the material I could. I can’t nail down precisely what if any event caused me to wake up figuratively, but I do remember strongly feeling that I needed to start thinking long-term about my family’s future and by that I didn’t mean retirement. I don’t think there was any real event like Y2K or any terror attack. There had not been any natural disaster that spurred me on, but there was a gut-level awareness that kept me awake at night and consumed most of my thoughts for a long while; almost like an itch that you can’t scratch. I believe that someone was trying to tell me something and I started listening.
The easiest way to get started for me and most others was the Internet. You can spend days staring at your computer and wandering down rabbit holes getting lost in a sea of information. The rabbit holes are sometimes pretty shallow, but other times if you are curious, go to levels you wouldn’t dream. For me with my background I was able to believe some sources of information easier than others in my same place in life. Initially I was drawn to what some would consider conspiracy theories. I think these are more interesting to the average person if you don’t seriously believe that anything bad ever happens. I on the other hand knew just enough about history and the capacity for evil in the hearts of man that I viewed these theories and concepts with an almost academic view. Instead of saying to myself “that is just stupid”, I would evaluate each and rationalize individual pieces of the narrative. I used each to give me another piece of the puzzle of information but I did my own research and came away with my own opinions. There is an old saying (and at least one cheesy 90’s song that I own) that there are three sides to every story. Yours, Mine and the Truth. I do believe that there is truth in almost everything out there, but you might have to dig for it and that is what I started doing.
This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping are too numerous to count. There are people concerned about space aliens, the shifting of the poles, fires, mudslides, EMP, tsunamis, zombie attacks and adolescent girls with PMS. There are a million scary reasons to prepare and none of them are more “right” than any other. Prepping is frequently distilled down to a reason or threat but I don’t know why. This seems to exist purely to give people a way to shoot down preppers for what they are doing when the reason why doesn’t matter at all to me. That is one problem I have with the Doomsday Preppers show in that they focus on debunking the reason for these people prepping at the end of every segment. Why? You spend 15 minutes watching someone prepare for adverse events and then you hear, “Experts say you are totally stupid for worrying about that”.
I don’t want to get bogged down with reasons for prepping. I think it is perfectly fine to just say you don’t want to be caught off-guard in the case of an emergency. This is simple common sense. If your car slides off the road into a ditch in a driving snow storm are you going to be happy you had the contents of your Get Home Bag to keep you and your young kids alive? Sure! Are you going to complain that survival kit was only for when the zombies attack? No. Would you keep it locked up and not use it unless the government started letting the aliens that they have been partnering with finally attack us? Of course not and yes I am being intentionally silly. The bottom line is that bag is there to help you when you need it. The reason you need it doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you have it when you do need it. That is the best place to start.
OK, so the rather lengthy introduction to this post is over now so what am I trying to say? Take this knowledge you have been amassing and do something with it. I know that some of you are new to prepping. You may (like me) have already spent days researching what needs to go into a Get Home Bag and have the list sitting right next to the bed on your nightstand. Now, you need to go to the store and get the bag. Pack it and take it with you. Having knowledge of what you need is only the first step, action is required for most of that knowledge to be any use to you.
You may have been researching the best shotgun for home defense and have price spreadsheets and are watching the now infamous actions of the DHS and their ammo buying binge, worried that you have waited too late. Do Something! Get out there and get you a firearm if that is what you are looking for and as many boxes of shells you can get your hands on. Thinking about this to the point of inaction doesn’t help anyone. We call this analysis paralysis and you have to break out of that trap.
I am not one of those copious note takers. My wife is and I know a lot of other people who have little notebooks filled with detailed notes about every meeting and conversation. I know one person at work who can just about dictate exactly what was said by every person in every meeting from two years ago. That isn’t me.
What I can do pretty simply though is create simple lists of things I want to work on. For my prepping items I have a couple of spreadsheets to help me track the things I need to focus on. The first spreadsheet started with all of the items I thought I needed to be super prepared for most any contingency and has highlighted some items that I had overlooked. This had things broken down into different categories that I thought were important. I started with Power, Shelter, First Aid, Water, Food, Garden, Tactical and Livestock. Under each category I had lists of items like tents, sleeping bags, spare tarps, water filters, etc. and I used this as my guide to how I was doing. The great thing about a spreadsheet is that you can easily add or modify how the results lay out and add priority or cost to each item.
For my ammo spreadsheet I listed all of the calibers I needed and what my goals were. Then I conducted an inventory of everything I had on hand, made a simple calculation and that showed me where I needed to get to. I still haven’t made it to my goals, but I know right where I am and can easily see what I need to focus on first. I also added cost per rounds and projected what my eventual cash outlay would be to get to where I wanted to. That has since been blown out of the water, but the spreadsheet can easily be updated.
Getting started is the hardest part of any project. I view prepping as a lifestyle that you begin slowly and grow into over time. Taking that first step is really all you need to put you and your family on a path to preparedness. Once you have started with putting your plan into place, acquiring tools, equipment or skills to help you, the next phase is to broaden your reach. Talk to your family about prepping. Help neighbors see the wisdom of having some food stored up for a rainy day. Take steps to prepare yourself financially for whatever may be headed down the road and you will see how your perspective changes again. I think you will see that you may become less focused on the boogeyman (and there are many out there) and more on the idea of being self-reliant and prepared for any situation you are faced with.
As with my previous comments about research on the internet, as you start prepping you will identify other areas you may not have considered. Once you start thinking about food storage, that may lead you to think about what you will do after all of that food storage is gone. Planning for your Get Home Bag may logically lead you to consider how your choice of vehicles could impact your preps. Analyzing your defensive options may cause some thought about what immediate threats or strengths you have in your own neighborhood.
The main point is to start. Get into the game and start making positive progress toward your goals. As I said at the beginning, hope won’t feed your family. You have to make that happen and the time is now.