Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gadget, Hobby, Lifestyle

Preparedness means different things to different people. After they gain some sort of initial awareness that a need exists for them to do something to prepare for unforeseen eventualities, people begin the transformation from sheeple to preppers. Most follow a predictable path and if they continue on their journey from prepper to survivalist they will generally hit the same points or zones along the way. As they progress, their focus will usually shift as they perceive their destination as first a gadget, next a hobby, and finally as a lifestyle.

Most people never begin the journey (we call them “sheeple”). Most of those that actually start out do not get to the final destination of complete self-sufficiency with multiple redundant backups. Let’s be clear: any step along the path of preparedness is a good thing. Merely deciding to carry a micro-flashlight and small pocket knife on a daily basis is a step towards self-sufficiency and should be applauded.

I saw “72 Hour Kits” for sale at the local Chinamart last summer. They came in a cute little orange backpack and were filled with all sorts of “useful items to survive any kind of calamity.” In reality, they were just large “comfort packs”. I am sure countless numbers bought these kits, stored them in the front closet and called it “Good”. They are now prepared. It’s tempting to poke fun at them but like I said above – any step along the path is a good thing. They are now more prepared than they were. Farther on down the trail we will find those who have actually built their own BoBs and perhaps placed some useful gear in their vehicle and at work. These people are still focused on stuff but this focus alone puts them ahead of the vast majority of Americans out there. With a little luck they may actually do okay with just these gadgets when some emergency occurs. Gadget focused people are really into gear – knives, firearms, stoves, tents, clothing, bucket lids, and so on. As a rule, Americans are obsessed with gear - we would rather invest money in stuff than invest time and effort - which leads us to our next destination along the path to preparedness:

At some point, some folks actually start doing things with their stuff. Oh, the path is definitely less tread upon here – far fewer people actually get out and use their gear than merely amass it. The people walking along this portion of the path are those who spend some of their free time learning practicing skills. They get their gear dirty – and then they clean it up and repack it again. They use vacation time to go camping or go to a bee keeping course. They enroll in a Red Cross CPR class or they try their hand at growing some tomatoes or canning some strawberries they bought in the grocery store. It is here that you will find people who can speak with some authority - they speak from personal experience and do not merely repeat what they heard or read somewhere. Whereas along the gadget portion of the trail we find gear obsessed people, along this portion we find those who Go and Do.

There is no line across the trail that designates entry into the Lifestyle Zone. It just kind of creeps up on you. “When does a hobby become a lifestyle?” Probably somewhere along the way where it turns from “fun” to “chores”. Here you will find survivalists living on self-sufficient (to one degree or another) parcels, raising their own food, providing their own energy needs and generally “taking care of it” themselves. It is here that that vacations are used to get away from the preparedness lifestyle instead of to pursue it. Instead of going camping to practice building snares and fires, these guys and gals go on vacation for the room service – if they can find someone reliable to mind the homestead while they are away. Mindset changes and instead of considering preparedness as something outside of one’s day to day existence, one hardly “considers” it at all. One just does. It is along this portion of the path that we find “experts” though you’ll seldom hear them refer to themselves as such. You also won’t find them discussing what they do as much because it’s not a hobby – it’s just life. It loses some of its specialness and excitement.

Now, this is a path – it’s not a hallway with different rooms off of it delineating where one level ends and another starts. Preparedness minded folk travel along it, sometimes getting off to rest for a spell and sometimes leaving the trail altogether. Anyone on the path is headed in the right direction and we all walk at our own speed. As we proceed we slowly realize there is no real destination and what counts is the journey.

See ya out there.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. – Psalms 16:11
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Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 6/3/08 12:09, Blogger Phil said...

Great post! I am sad to say I am still in gadget mode myself, I am a gear collector without much experience outside of my USAF training.

One day I will make it my lifestyle!


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