Things are pretty stressful in the world today, and a lot of people in the preparedness niche, myself included, are urging others to get prepared. This has been an eventful year. And by eventful, I mean like that Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."
You still need to live your life.
But despite all of this, I can't express strongly enough how important it is to live your life. You need things in your life outside of prepping. The "hide in the bunker" mentality is not healthy at this point in time. Preparedness and survival skills should allow you to live in peace, not in fear.
As I've mentioned before, I'm currently on an extended research trip to Europe with at least a dozen countries on the list. It has been marvelous and I couldn't possibly be happier. (If you want to follow along, go here for photos and observations.) My inbox has been full of messages since I announced it, many wishing me well and others telling me that they were unsubscribing.
But this gives me joy, hones my skills, and feeds my soul. Whether I'm swimming in a warm Aegean-blue sea, getting windblown at the Acropolis, and breathing in the damp, fresh smell of a tropical forest, soaking in an amazing view, or gazing at the same stars on a foreign mountain, I'm living. And only I can choose the "right" way to do that.
The same goes for you, too.
My goal has always been to help others. I have had a lot of wonderful experiences, living in a cabin in the Algonquin Forest, homesteading in California, and traveling with my daughters. But there's one thing I really want to stress to people in the prepping community because I'm watching so many people go completely overboard. This is not mentally healthy. It makes me sad to see people living fearfully and that isn't what preparedness is all about.
If I can only make one difference in your life, let it be this:
You need to live. Not hide. Don't let the problems of other people cause you to miss out on experiences, the memories of which could one day carry you through exceedingly difficult times. You only get a finite period of time on this planet, and I plead with you not to spend that time hiding from the world.
I want to share a few thoughts for preppers about this topic.
Know what you love to do.
Traveling is my thing – it always has been. I'm a restless soul and love nothing more than seeing sights previously unseen. If you take away this part of me, you take away the things that give me the most joy. Getting out there and exploring keeps me feeling younger and healthier.
However, a life of non-stop travel is not for everyone and I'm not suggesting this specifically for everyone. Maybe you enjoy fine dining from time to time. Perhaps you participate in a sport. Maybe you like going to the movies and seeing things on the big screen. Do you like to visit gun shows or prepper expos or homesteading fairs? Perhaps you enjoy concerts or renaissance faires or civil war re-enactments or sports.
Whatever it is that you love to do, embrace it. Work it into your budget. Don't let worries of restaurants being a "waste" of money, sporting events being blown up, or theaters being shot up seize your joy. Stop worrying about being "on a list" when you go to events and go make some friends who think the way you do.
Just budget for these things you love and go do them. No reasonable prepper will think less of you for it. If someone does say to you, "How can you be a prepper and still do X activity?" you tell them that being a prepper means you live in confidence, not in fear. You don't have to conform to anyone else's idea of what preparedness looks like.