Cold. Damp. Dreary. Like yesterday.
Cold all day. Wet, with intermittent rain. So I didn’t do much outside. Everyone from my wife (who follows all the online weather guys for us) to the national forecast said the same thing- we’re not getting freezing temps in Houston until the weekend. So I didn’t cover the trees as I’d have to do it in the rain. It was 36F and falling when I went to bed. Not freezing but way too close.
I spent the day dry and warm working on ebay stuff. I had a bunch of speakers and vintage amps/receivers piled up that all needed to be tested, photographed, measured and weighed, etc. I also needed to re-cover one grill. So I did that. Now that stuff can be listed, and the items themselves can go out of the house to storage. Unfortunately some of it will be listed ‘for repair or parts’ that I was hoping would be in working condition.
A bunch of auctions closed yesterday and I was watching prices. There was a lot of stuff that went cheap. I am afraid that people might be done buying. At some point, they will have other concerns than buying stuff they don’t really need. I am hoping to get rid of a bunch more stuff before that happens. I’m getting nervous about timing.
Which brings us to the question, “what do you really need?”
I could talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I could do the usual prepper list of categories -water, food, shelter, defense, health, welfare, hygiene, communication. Instead I’m going to ask the question, What do YOU need for YOUR threats, in YOUR location, given YOUR resources? And as a refinement, What do you STILL need?
The current world and US situation complicates the answers a bit. We are in fact living through a disaster, the global pandemic. The disaster has many different features and facets in different places and so like the blind men and the elephant, it looks different to different people in different places.
Further, in the US we have the unsettled political situation, with many people believing the current President is a usurper, and illegitimate; but even if he isn’t, his policies and party are anathema to half the population. The continued polarization of the populous makes it far more of an issue in this time than in previous times. This has many people considering the likelihood of a Civil War, or insurrection, or a massive increase in the police state and persecution of conservatives.
Pandemic and civil war are not normally high on the typical American prepper’s list of threats, but we’re currently in one, and facing the real possibility of the other.
On top of those, there is the very real threat of an economic collapse or prolonged depression, brought about or exacerbated by the pandemic, and the shift in US politics. Again, not normally an urgent threat in the US, but here we are, MUCH closer than 4 years ago, or even 6 months ago.
Three really big, massive even, threats that were barely on the radar 2 years ago, and they are suddenly top of mind for preppers. Add in the normal issues caused by human stupidity and Mother Nature, and it’s really hard to answer, What do I NEED?
Start with which of the threats do you think are most likely? How will each affect you? What do you want? Those questions will lead you to answers to what you need.
I think some version of all three threats will be active at the same time. I don’t know the sequence of cause and effect, but I do believe we’ll be engaged in some level of street fighting/terror attacks/low intensity conflict. Whether because of it, or the cause of it, there is no way our economy, mostly built on gambling with other people’s money and constant buying, will survive a de facto Civil War. Economic disruptions, with violence and civil unrest, coupled with restrictions on movement, speech, assembly, supply chain breaks, and a general breakdown in the social and civic structures we take for granted, will not be pretty.
What do I want? I want to continue living my current lifestyle with as few changes as possible. I want to shield my family from the worst aspects of the new abnormal. I want to survive to get to the recovery and rebuilding phase.
Ask, What do I need to accomplish my goals? And that will tell you what you need.
I need a safe and secure base (my home). For some people, that will mean moving, now or later when it becomes a life or death issue. Sectarian violence drives out the ‘other’. You will not want to be the last of the “whatevers” to be in your area. You can move while conserving as much of your assets as possible, or you can leave as a refugee, with nothing but the clothes on your back. Lots of people have faced choosing one or the other throughout history, and some even face it today in other parts of the US and the world. Don’t wait too long, and if you choose to stay, build your plan around that.
I need to accumulate the resources now that will be unavailable or VERY expensive later. That might mean food, a good education, medical supplies and Doctor friends, or a skill that will be hard to come by. It might mean having the tools needed for an income stream. If you weld, do you have wire, gas, and spare parts for your machines? If you sew, do you have fabric, thread, buttons, zippers, patterns, etc? Money is always good, as long as your “money” is something that will hold value in the future you see for yourself. Bolivars didn’t do so well. The dollar has already lost ~98% of its purchasing power since the institution of the Federal Reserve. It’s not impossible that it will lose the rest. No one is taking Confederate Dollars at the grocery store…
I need the support of other people. I need people to feed me work, to buy anything I have on offer. I need people to teach my kids. I need people with the skills I don’t have, whether that’s medical, technical, or political.
I may need to change my politics, or my public persona. That might mean going grey, it might mean running for the School Board. The goal is to survive. -To be here for my kids. -To rebuild if it’s possible. -To remind if it’s not.
Every one of those needs can be further unpacked into specific things to have, specific actions to take, skills to learn, or people to meet. And each one of those things can be further unpacked, and once more, and again, recursively and fractally, forever. But don’t let that dissuade you or dishearten you. You are likely to be further along than you think.
Take a mental or physical inventory of what you already have. What stuff have you been accumulating? What skills do you have? Who do you know? What processes have you already begun? Because BEGINNING is key. Start work on filling those needs once you start identifying them. Don’t wait until you have all of them documented in your 3 ring binder, start filling in where you know you are short WHILE assessing where you need to be. Start extending and building on what you have.
Every project has tasks and milestones that need to happen serially and in order. Every project has tasks that can happen in parallel. Every project has tasks that can happen in any order. Prepping is no different. Identify which of your needs can be met by which sort of task, and proceed accordingly. And when in doubt, the prepper basics are basics for a reason. Get started with them, then keep building on what you have. Always be working to improve your position.
And of course, keep stacking.