At the beginning of 2021, I wanted to share with you some interim resolutions I have made for myself that may help you on your journey of preparation for more than just surviving this year.
Every year in January we reach a moment of reflection on the past year. In a normal year, I usually only have a few major events that are my reference points. There are good times with family and friends, maybe I had a good holiday with my family. The loss of a loved one has been a time of grief for many years. Whatever the year, the idea of a new year looks promising. A promise or a hope if you want something better.
I didn’t create a list of pre-made resolutions like this, because my 2013 article on the subject was only a year old at the time, and the year 2020 we all just experienced didn’t exist yet. Back then, my list of resolutions was much more specific about what I needed to learn or what additional skills I wanted to acquire.
After 2020, I sat down and tried to take stock of the year and identify areas for improvement, and so begins this year’s list of resolutions.
Overview of lessons learned from the past year
How can we not see 2020 as a harbinger and use the lessons we have had to learn both personally and globally. We all are:
And that was just the beginning. We are now talking about the appearance of the virus, how the vaccine will be introduced, whether it will be mandatory or not, the mutations of the virus and the arrival of a new president, which certainly raises other questions.
As a drafter, I can check off at least 7 of the items central to the hypothetical scenarios we plan as a drafter. And most of us, for the most part, survived their (very sweet) version. Yes, there wasn’t much toilet paper, but we made it too. Over the next 20 years, each of the ferrets will have a COVID history that will justify much of their pre-transition activities.
I’ve often recommended family exercises where you turn off the power for a weekend and try to live off your reserves, but the last 9 or 10 months of last year were much better trials than I could have done on my own. I understand that some people have been through very difficult times, and some of you may have lost loved ones. I’m not trying to ease your suffering. But for most of us, this past year should have been very educational.
Identify gaps and blind spots
When the shopping trip began, it was a little more tame than I first feared in my mind. But in hindsight, I think it’s all in proportion to the event itself. There was a lot of skepticism in the early years, and I think that made people a little more relaxed, even though they were pushing their carts around the islands like I was. Although we all heard that the grocery stores were running out of food, there was still plenty to eat.
It happened when I had a large family here with me for a month and we had to walk more than average to get to the grocery store. It probably looked like we were running away, but I still had six mouths to feed. I haven’t made a long-term connection with my grocery store, precisely because you can buy groceries anytime.
But this event reinforced one thing, that the fears surrounding grocery store operations are very real. If this had been a more serious event or if it had affected supplies more severely, the camps would have been quickly evacuated. What I’m talking about in my article is that if you only have one trip left to make, which is basically when supplies are cut, unless there is a risk to your health, getting to the store before the crowds empty will help you.
My business is always long term nutrition, but it is a limited resource that I only use as a last resort. So food remains a blind spot for my family. Nothing was growing in the garden at the time, but strangely enough, the panic of COVID-19 was a great motivation to start a garden as soon as possible.
What have you found that you don’t need or that might be better for you? If you work on these points this year, you will be in a better position if we face a similar situation in the future.
Reconsider your plan
Have the events of the past year caused you to rethink your training plans?
Another opportunity for reflection this year is your preparation plan, that is, what are you preparing for? Have the events of the past year made you rethink your fear of a super volcanic eruption or peak oil? Have you ever dusted off your Faraday cage and taken a moment to wonder if it was your wisest investment in preparation?
I’m not saying your reason for exercising isn’t valid, but there are certain things that are statistically more likely to happen to you. A few weeks ago I was on Reddit and a poster asked a question that I’m really paraphrasing here. They were concerned about global warming and were looking for ideas or suggestions on how to build a bunker or another way of life if the land became uninhabitable.
No matter how you feel about global warming, it’s just silly to worry about building a bunker now to help you survive when almost everyone else is dead. I said it was like you were planning to survive a nuclear attack in your backyard. There are many more likely events that you will have to endure, but even in the worst case scenario, our planet is not going anywhere. If so, it will be a long time before we are all dead and buried.
The year 2021 has given us real examples of what we can realistically address. Events allow us to see how successful we have been and to reassess what we should have done better. It’s a great step in planning for survival of the next thing you might encounter. At least that’s more effective than being afraid that something will happen that no one can be sure of, and if it does, it won’t happen for another 100 years. Of course, it depends on who you talk to.
Check and make an inventory of your current stocks
2021 gave me a real reason and the opportunity to review my inventory. We even used some of the items in our inventory that needed to be restocked, which really helped my wife and I understand our current level of preparedness.
Our N95 masks and hand sanitizer were initially discontinued, but they were quickly replaced and were not used at the same rate throughout the year, allowing us to replenish our stock. I noticed that my MREs expired a long time ago and I took note of that. They have been stored in relatively cool conditions since they were purchased, but you always take risks. They’re not good enough to eat, but they can still be absolutely delicious. My plan is to test them to see if we ever need them before we open the food section, which I’m sure is still good.
The batteries I kept years ago started leaking and ended up in the trash, so I ordered a few extra mega-packs of AA and AAA. They say they have a long shelf life, but I may have gotten a bad batch. I also had some tarps and rolls of tape that had been used over the years, so those needed to be replenished.
Most of my provisions were in good condition, but perishable food did not survive long in isolation. I’m out of painkillers and antibiotic ointments, so we have to take care of that too.
Extent of your financial form
Fortunately, I was able to continue working without interruption. We were forced to stay at home and work remotely, but when the internet works, I can do my work anywhere. If I had to rely on any other kind of work being shut down during the mandatory shutdown, it would hurt us.
Part of my plan for this year is to get serious about my rainy day reserve, but that’s just a stopgap. Paying all the bills and hiding money under the bed for years is only worth it if you have the money or the ability to use it. We are supplementing and diversifying our income so that in the worst case scenario, if we can still work, the loss of a job will not be dramatic.
Decided to be self-sufficient
You don’t have to have a farm. You can start with the chickens or the rabbits.
This is consistent with the point above, but self-sufficiency is an ambitious goal. Think of all the things you need to do to be truly self-sufficient. Can you provide for your own housing, medical care, food, clothing and financial security?
Most people think of self-sufficiency in terms of independent wealth, and I think that’s one way to look at it. But let’s assume for a moment that this money is worthless. Maybe you have twenty thousand dollars and no one wants to give you anything back because it’s worthless to them. This has happened many times in history and it is pure pride to think that in the United States we are protected from what happens to us.
True self-sufficiency is very difficult, but there is nothing to give up. Yes, you may not be able to weave your own fabrics, but learning how to repair clothes that are fine except for a sleeve tear is the first step. Don’t worry if you can’t make a dress, just focus on fixing the hole in your socks.
The same goes for self-sufficiency. You don’t have to have a farm. You can start with the chickens or the rabbits. Start with the garden. These are steps you can take to make yourself more resilient.
Repeat missing skills
I’m guilty of letting my skills lead me. I can’t tell you the last time I went to the range, and my excuse is that the ammo is too expensive and I don’t want to attack my hideout. But that’s not a good reason. I know dry shooting is better than nothing, but real training and time on the trigger are important and necessary for me to get good with my guns.
I’m still kind of rationalizing by saying I’m not going to end up in a shooting anytime soon, but you never know what’s going to happen. I have hidden clothes on, so I still need to be very competent, and I want to work on that.
Ham Radio is another great radio show I missed. I took the antennas (CB and Ham) out of my car because I was traveling and never turned them back on. That’s been almost a year now, so I need to get back in shape with the radio, so to speak.
What skills are you overlooking that would have been useful in a disaster situation?
Increase your understanding of what is possible
Ultimately, the last year has taught me to think outside the box. I was right about some of the assumptions about what I saw during the various crises, but I was wrong on other points. But it’s not so bad that I have to stop this blog. Seriously, the year has been a surprise on many levels, and some things I didn’t expect have me down.
I stopped receiving news and information from a single source and started considering other viewpoints and perspectives. It opened my eyes to new potential threats and perspectives on the twists and turns we see every day. It just gives me a new perspective and I needed that in my life. How about you?
So here’s my list of tentative resolutions to try this year. I hope 2021 will be much better, but even if it isn’t, I will try to be better prepared for what is to come.
What are you going to do this year?
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