Slow Descent: Investing in an uncertain future

TIMES ARE CRAZY RIGHT NOW!  Protests, riots, unjust police, COVID Madness, political discourse and unemployment are becoming the norm.  Not a day passes by that you don’t see outrage and lawlessness in the media with no obvious end in sight.  Yes it’s an election year, and you might think that when Nov 3rd comes and goes things will start to get back to normal, but what if they don’t? 

No matter who is elected this November, it’s not likely that the public outrage regarding police brutality & corrupt politicians will stop people from continuing similar protests and escalating it to levels that could trigger an even worse course of events.  Just like Newton’s 3rd law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

Here’s a quick hypothetical scenario for you:  Let’s say (insert your political candidate) wins the election.  The other side will not be happy. They will make their disdain known through other means (like violent protests) that will ultimately negatively affect your “teams” position or even your daily life.  This has secondary and tertiary effects, chaos ensues..

Another hypothetical scenario: Lets say COVID lock-downs continue across the country, eventually hurting the economy to the point that it can’t recover and the country collapses or we find ourselves in a DEEP recession/depression that creates inflation to the point normal people can’t afford basic items or hold down a steady job to provide for their families. Chaos ensues..

You may or may not think either scenario above is “probable”, but you can’t deny that the probability of both scenarios occurring in the future have significantly increased over the past six months.  You likely know a couple close friends or relatives who have lost their jobs recently or maybe friends or groups of friends split by political differences.  Ideological views are hard to change and once a side is chosen, people tend to dig in. 

Regardless of your personal beliefs or what “side” you’re on, you’d be a fool to not take these signs of our times as a wake up call to start investing in your future, not only from a financial standpoint, but a survivability standpoint.  How are YOU ensuring that you and your loved ones will be safe and have what you need to get through the potentially difficult times ahead? 

In my previous article “Ask yourself these survival questions: Prepping with a purpose”, I talk about questions you should ask yourself in “Bug-out, Bug-In” types of scenarios, so I won’t cover those again here, but I do want to expand on the section talking about “Are you prepared for a slow descent into an emergency prepping scenario“.  We may very well be in the beginning stages of that “slow descent” now. 

This “slow descent” scenario is one of the hardest situations to navigate when it comes to the individual hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  Politics, situation, location, peer pressure, family as well as other factors will come into play when you start planning your investments for you and your family’s future.   So the call will ultimately be up to you and how severe you think society’s outcome will be in the not too distant future. 

Just like with finances, investing early will always have the future you thanking the past you for your efforts when it comes to prepping.   Setting yourself up for success now, regardless if people say you’re being crazy, is never a bad bet.  That’s another reason why prepping shouldn’t be for any singular situation, but instead to prep from a myriad of scenarios so your base is covered.  

What exactly can we do now? The answer to that question depends on your situation entirely.  Will you only be looking out for yourself?  Will you be in charge of ensuring a family of 5 is fed consistently?   Do you have elderly to care for?  None of these questions have an easy answer, but below is my list of focuses that you should start preparing for now, or at least start working towards since we don’t know exactly when/if things will fall apart. 

  1. Location: Where will you and yours be able to ride things out when society falls apart?  In my opinion, you should make this decision before any others because your location will dictate your capabilities regarding water, food and allies, these are important for obvious reasons.  I recommend staying away from overly populated areas, but also not be in the middle of nowhere. Even the most resourceful loners can use help from a community nearby at some point.
  1. Sustainability: How much food and water should I have on hand now and how much would I need each day/week/month to sustain myself and my group?  Once you do the math, it’s pretty overwhelming to think about how much food and water it really takes to sustain one person, let alone an entire family.  The average person needs about 1500 calories per day to survive and about 4 liters of water per day to survive in a normal consumer driven society.  During a stressful survival situation, you’ll need almost double that per person as you’ll be expending much more calories and need to intake more than you are now.  Stockpiling goods is preferred for the short-term scenarios, but supplies will run out eventually and there might not be any stores to pick up groceries from.  Can you garden?  Can you cook without electricity?  These questions might inspire you to learn a new skill or purchase equipment that will help you out in these scenarios. 
  1. Money: I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not expert when it comes to finances, my bank statement will tell you that, but there are still things you can do to help improve your potential future situation if things do get tough.  The need for money may not just go away, society still may function using money up to a point, and you’ll need to “play that game” until you no longer can.  Cash on hand will be key.  Keeping as much cash as you can afford on hand will make the days leading up to people realizing money no longer holds any value much easier.  Gold is another popular prepping item that has been used for centuries for monetary value, however I would be hesitant to solely have gold as your only source of “survival money” as gold only holds as much value as the person you’re trying to give it to.  That person you’re trying to purchase something from might find the box of ammo you have much more valuable.  Diversify your “money” and don’t rely on any one thing when it comes to your survival.
  1. Time: This is the one thing everyone of us can invest more of when it comes to preparing for the worst.  Fist off, take time to think through these scenarios, figure out what your unique situation looks like and how best you can work through these difficult scenarios that you and your family might one day face.  Take time to learn a new skill.  Will your skills have any value to your group when it’s needed?  Put in time organizing your gear, making sure you have the supplies you don’t and if you don’t, take the time to put together a list of items that you can slowly add to.  Take time to research the best items and goods to keep for the long term like rice, beans and non-perishables.  Taking just 15 minutes a day to think about or do something pertaining to your future investment of survival can very well mean the difference between surviving with confidence or struggling not to starve.  

As I’ve said before in my previous article, I don’t claim to be an expert on survival. Having had many conversations with “normies” who haven’t asked themselves these questions before, it has shown me that most people are nowhere near ready for these types of situations.  Please let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and if I missed anything that I can add.  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

The Balance of Society and Solitude.

“Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.”

Honoré de Balzac

Since the vast majority of people moved out of the wilderness and into a more “civilized” society, the question of whether this was/is the best way for people to live has been in question.  Are we more natural beings that would thrive best closest to nature and isolation?   Are we more social beings that thrive best when our intellect and social skills are applied together?  Is there a balance between the two?

I’m interested in hearing others perspective on this in greater detail. Please leave yours in the comments below.

Ask yourself these Survival Questions: Prepping with purpose

I don’t claim to be an expert on survival or prepping in the slightest, but I do feel there are some important hypothetical questions that you should ask yourself that forces you to go through the thought process of certain scenarios.  Just by thinking through some of the questions below, you will help yourself act quicker and with more confidence when/if these situations should arise.  

Take at least a minute and think through what your actions would be on each of the questions below given your unique location, circumstances and company that will be with you. 

  • What “Emergency” scenario do you believe is most likely to happen that would constitute snapping into survival mode?
    • Everyone has their own idea of what’s going to bring about the collapse of civilization as we know it.  Some feel it will be a natural disaster like the super-volcano underneath Yosemite National Park erupting, others think it could be nuclear fallout from nuclear war, and some like myself, feel it will be a mix of war/inflation/and civil unrest.  Given your personal beliefs on the current political, natural and social climates, what do you feel is most likely?  Determining this will help you plan more accordingly. 

  • Will you Bug-Out or will you Bug-In?
    • Depending on your location, situation, capabilities and overall plan you’ll need to determine whether it’s best for you and your group to stay where you are or if you’re going to leave for a better area.  Not only do you have to determine that, but you also need to determine what your “trigger” point is.  When do you make that call?  Is it when chaos is ensuing around your town or will it be before then so you can travel safely? 

  • Who are your party members? 
    • Who will be with you?  These people will most likely be your close family like children, spouse, mother, father etc, however you might have different priorities like close friends who you trust more.  Making this decision requires a little homework that is tied to the next question.

  • Do all of your party members plans/priorities align and will there be conflict?
    • Once you pick your ideal party members, you must find out from them as to what their personal plans are.  They, just like you, may have not yet went through this thought process and they may need to make this same determination for themselves before answering.  If possible, when you have your “ideal party members” in one place, ask these important questions to get a rough agreement from the group.  This can also be a fun (maybe a little morbid) party conversation. 
  • What skills can your party members bring to the table? (Is your groups skills well rounded)
    • While narrowing down who will and won’t be in your group, it’s important to theoretically divy out jobs and duties that are best suited for each individual..  Obviously if you have a nurse or doctor in your group they would be most helpful in assisting with the inevitable medical situation that WILL arise.  Same would go for a former service member who is good with security or a farmer who would be integral in helping grow food for the group.  Everyone has a skill they can bring to the table as long as they are willing to contribute.

  • How do you plan for security and protecting yourself as well as those that you love?
    • If you don’t have that experienced military member in your group with a bunker full of ammo and weapons, how do YOU plan on keeping you and your group protected from outside threats?  What kind of threats are most likely given your location, population and surroundings?  In what ways can you protect yourself?  Do you have a firearm, do you have alarm systems, do you know how to NOT make yourself a target to threats?  The decision on how to best protect yourself varies from individual to individual based personal beliefs, skill level among other factors.  Knowing what you will do to protect yourself is a must nonetheless. 

  • What medical issues should you prepare for if you can’t see a doctor or go to the hospital?
    • Medical is often overlooked as people are becoming more reliant on hospitals and doctors, but when SHTF there won’t be many options other than your own know-how. Some things to think about besides basic medical emergency care is what your special medical care/supplies might you need for yourself or your group. Do you have a condition that might require specific meds? Does someone in your group require insulin? This topic should be looked at carefully by each member and made known to the entire group so people can keep an eye out for these items during “supply runs”.

  • Does your party include infants and elderly and how do you plan to care for them?
    • Recognizing your limitations early on can help keep you out of difficult situations when the time comes.  Knowing if you’ll be limited on movement and physical help from slower party members like the elderly & infants will help you make the most educated choice on hard decisions you will have to make. 
  • If you are bugging out, what vehicle will you use and how will you maintain that vehicle?
    • Deciding to leave the comfort of your home and security is a BIG decision, especially when chaos is already happening outside.  Many factors will come into play with this complicated decision.  Knowing that the last thing you’d want to happen is to be stranded on the side of the road with limited supplies, gas and no transportation and threats could force you to meticulously plan that decision out.  Will you have enough fuel?  What’s your plan if a tire goes flat? Will there be more than one vehicle in your “convoy” or group?

  • How do you & your party plan on keeping everyone fed and supplied with water?
    • Regardless if you’re Bugging-In or Bugging-Out, food and water are going to be a constant need.  The bigger your group, the more food and water you will need to sustain yourselves.  As you make these preparations, please do a little research on how people/humans react when faced with starvation.  People, even close friends can/will turn on you when faced with no other option.  

  • Will harsh weather be an issue for you and your party?
    • Your climate, location and time of year may very well dictate if you should or shouldn’t Bug-Out or Bug-In.  If the time to make that decision happens to be in November and you live in Montana, you might just want to head further south to warmer climates, I personally wouldn’t want to ride out a long winter with limited supplies.  

  • How bad is crime overall in the area you place to Bug-In at or Bug-Out to?
    • Assessing the crime rate in the area you plan on staying at is very important.  If you live on the south side of Chicago you probably don’t want to Bug-In there, same goes for some rural areas in the middle of nowhere that might have a history of “bad locals” that may decide to take advantage of their new neighbors. 

  • What is your backup plan?
    • “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather”, this is especially true when it comes to the chaos of emergency prepping.  Having a detailed plan like your main plan is ideal, but at least having an idea of what your backup plan might look like can save you time thinking time when initial plans fall apart, as they often do. 

  • Are you prepared to say NO to people outside of your group?
    • Once you have a plan and become halfway organized, others outside of your group will notice this and see you as either an asset, their last chance or a target.  Maintaining the integrity of any group in a survival situation is hard enough as it is.  Making the hard decision to refuse or help an outsider could have detrimental consequences, so choose wisely.  

  • How will you react to authority?
    • When society starts to crumble it most likely won’t happen all at once, there will probably be a gradual decline of some kind resulting in local or federal authorities attempting to “fix” things.  Their attempts may or may not be in you and your groups favor.  If you’re trying to make it to your bug-out location and they tell you that they’re taking everyone to special camps for “your safety”, you may or may not wish to go with them.  I for one have read a history book before and would prefer to risk it on my own verse being lumped into a group or rely on another group for my protection.  This will be a decision you’ll need to assess while it’s happening. 

  • How will leadership work in your group?
    • No matter the size of your group, you will need some kind of leadership and organization.  If it’s just you, your spouse and your kids this decision will be easy, but if your group consists of multiple family members and friends you’ll need a more pragmatic approach that at least the majority of the group agrees with.  Things like enforcing everyone pulling their own weight, and punishments for outsiders and members may need to be ruled on by a committee or elders as the judicial system will likely be non-existent at that point. 

  • Are you prepared for a “slow” descent into an emergency prepping scenario?
    • As I said earlier, when SHTF it most likely will not happen all of a sudden, it might be painstakingly slow, but what does this mean? Think of “hyperinflation”.  In a hyperinflation scenario, your income, savings and food may slowly be depleted due to circumstances surrounding simple items like milk, gas and other essential items becoming too expensive for the average person to buy.  Many people will be in this scenario together, mass panic will occur and you’ll be forced to make the decision to Bug-Out or Bug-In when others tell you you’re “being dramatic” or “things will get better soon”.  That decision is yours to make, but waiting too long to make that decision can mean life and death. 

In conclusion, everyone’s circumstances and scenarios are and will be different given your individual resources, location, climate, group and other factors.  Just by reading this and asking yourself these questions you’ve already made yourself more mentally prepared than the average person who has never walked though these scenarios before.  Remember to take a moment here and there to talk about these scenarios with your close friends and family that could potentially be in your group if things are to go south, you won’t regret it.

Thoughts of mine

I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this or even what this will turn out to be.  I’m sure there’s a name for this form of writing, maybe journaling or something of the like.   I guess I just need to talk and ramble if not for anything but my own sanity. 

Seems like the past year and half has been nothing but a blurr of craziness.  Moving into a new home early last year, C.J.’s father passing, financial troubles, job worries, and the COVID “pandemic” that has turned what seems to be 50% of the population into sheep who feed off of fear mongering from the media.  Extreme partisanship from both sides of the isle have divided friends, groups, organizations, workplaces, the country and the world.

With all of this craziness happening all around me I often fight becoming depressed, anxious, scared by focusing on the only thing I really can that’s most important, and that’s providing and protecting my family.   I mean, as a married man with a family to care for, what nobler of a pursuit could I chase other than doing all I can to provide for them.  It keeps me busy for sure.  Too much stress comes along with providing for a family to let myself become distracted by things that are out of my control. 

Taking care of my family is obviously my priority, but I believe it’s also very important to take care of yourself too, similarly to how you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask first prior to your children on a plane.  I do this in a number of ways, some are better for me than others, some are a better use of my time than others, but oftentimes doing the most sensible thing isn’t necessarily the best thing or even the right thing to do when it comes to your own mental health and self care.  

I’ve been teaching myself slowly over the course of the past few years to let myself be reasonably selfish when I recognize that I need to.  I would get guilty and even be guilted by others when I’d want to do something or go somewhere or spend a little money when I really wanted to, but have since realized, over time, that it’s ok to enjoy your own life and be “reasonably selfish” when the opportunity arises.  

Take for example, on my drive home after work, I would normally rush home as quickly as I could as I felt guilty being away all day from my wife and kids.  I’d maybe see a store that I’ve been wanting to stop in and check out for myself, but I wouldn’t allow myself to “waste” the time.  Doing this inadvertently made me feel as if I was trapped in a sense. 

Small scenarios like going to the store is how I escape from the mundane tasks of everyday life.  Going to that happy place in my mind and letting my thoughts run wild with ideas, hope and curiosity about a myriad of things and topics.  The world truly is beautiful if you stop to enjoy it, but most people (myself included) forgets this when we get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life.  

Speaking of the mundane, hustle and bustle of life, at times during all of this process called life I ask myself “if this is it”?  Is this all there is?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for my wife, kids, house, food and health, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that I’m being cheated out of some achievement or experience that would leave me feeling more fulfilled.  I don’t think I’d necessarily be happier if on my deathbed I looked back at an thriving empire I created or something like that, but I guess I can’t really put my finger on it exactly.   

I believe in perspective and have a very stoic view of life.  I expect hardships, tragedy, troubles and eventually death, after all, these are aspects of life for all who have existed and to ignore them would only set myself up for disappointment.  So me seeing life from that aspect helps me often to stop and smell the roses of life more often than I believe the average person does.  I don’t think this makes me better or smarter than anyone, but I am grateful I see things through this lens when so many don’t seem to, at least from my perspective anyway. 

I’m always coming up with new ideas and ventures, I often get excited at the possibility of something new happening and the prospect of success in whatever that venture is at that time.  I guess I’d consider myself an entrepreneur in a sense, yet I have no capital, investors, or really any specific plans, only ideas.  I sometimes wish that was a job, just to come up with ideas, new ideas covering a wide array of topics, industries and issues.  I would have a never ending supply. 

I’ve also been working (mentally) on making myself less “lazy” I guess.  There IS a fine line between taking time for yourself like I said earlier and being a little selfish and just being flat out lazy and wasting precious time.  Moderation is key in this situation as well as all others, but it’s hard to motivate at times.   This balance, that I know to be important, is surely the obstacle I face when working towards greatness in any endeavor I pursue.  What’s the best way to do this though?

The fluctuation of emotions in our daily lives is likely what prevents most of us from being consistent when it comes to finding moderation between work, pleasure, success and failure.  What constitutes success and failure though? Your form or success might be measured differently than my own, same for failure.  Maybe I need to sit down and determine for myself what I consider a successful life would look like to me.   That might be the starting point for continuing the rest of my life from this point on.  

“The fluctuation of emotions in our daily lives is likely what prevents most of us from being consistent when it comes to finding moderation between work, pleasure, success and failure.” – Gary Phipps

I’m ending this entry now and will pick up at a later time and ponder exactly what I consider to be my successful aspirations of life. 

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