I remember when I first started with the fire department in 1968. Believe it or not, as young trainees, we all wanted a fire to occur! After we went to a few real fires, though, we discovered that, while it might seem exciting to us, it could be a devastating event for the victims. As we matured, while we still enjoyed being firefighters, we began to think more about the victims and less about ourselves. We had expected the fires to be exciting and put our skills to the test. What we didn’t expect was for the reality to hit us in the gut.
The same thing occurred later in my career as I became involved with the law enforcement side of public safety. We didn’t always have realistic expectations. Now today when I talk with certain preppers, it seems they want TEOTWAWKI to happen. They look forward to the disruptions and violence they think will occur. Maybe they believe it will be exciting, just like the last prepper novel they read. Maybe they want to finally get the chance to put their preps in action. I can guarantee that if or when everything hits the fan, the majority of them will wish for normality. It will not be an easy time for anyone.
Here’s what I think you can expect
Having good food storage and being prepared are both vital aspects of being prepared to survive. They can make the difference between living and dying, but it won’t make life easy. The point of this blog is to give advice for preparing for the worst, but there are a few areas in which I feel very few of us have realistic expectations. I have talked to people who have ideas of living in an idyllic countryside, eating venison steaks and leading an easy life. During and after a TEOTWAWKI event!
Today’s world is very different from the one in which I grew up. In my childhood home, we had a bathtub and no shower; we took a bath once a week and washed up in the sink the other 6 days. The other day I saw a post from a prepper who wanted to plan for 9 gallons of water a day for each person to wash with. This may work for a few people, those capable of building elite bug out locations, but for most preppers, you need to have realistic expectations. Regarding water storage and usage, you won’t have the time to carry and heat that much water every day! You will be lucky to have the time to take a bath once a week.
We are used to packaged convenience foods and the availability of fresh food all the time. That will change. The variety of foods you have to eat will drop dramatically. Preparing and cooking meals will take much longer. Laundry will become a full day’s work by the time you carry and heat the water, wash, rinse and hang it up. Your workday won’t be 8 hours; it will last until the work is finished, you run out of daylight, or you just physically collapse.
Talk to some of the older people about what life was like 50 or 60 years ago. They didn’t have a dishwasher, not much in the way of packaged foods, and used wringers on an old-time washer. Money was tight. You darned your socks, repaired your clothes, and passed them down to your younger siblings.
Each day is going to be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Dig your garden by hand with no power equipment. Walk or bike everywhere you go. Try standing watch most of the night and then do a full hard day’s work the next day. Do this day after day, week after week, knowing that if you fail at either task, watching for danger or working to keep your family surviving, your days are numbered. This book provides a good manual for the skills you’ll need to acquire for long-term survival in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.
Now, I have lived in houses with outdoor toilets, wood heat, and we had to cook all our food from scratch. I believe that the majority of preppers will have it worse because their lifestyles haven’t ever come close to this. Even camping trips, while great as an introduction to a rugged lifestyle, quickly come to an end and we return to our electronics and modern conveniences. Life after TEOTWAWKI will be very hard for most of us.
You will have to watch your neighbors, friends and family members die from starvation, lack of medicines, sepsis caused by a simple infection, and very possibly violence. Now would be a good time to learn more about basic medical treatment and care with a handbook like this one.
Now, I am not trying to discourage you, but many people need to understand that an event like an economic collapse, war, the loss of our power grid, and other TEOTWAWKI events are not something for which we should wish. Life will become unbearably and unimaginably hard, possibly violent, and many of us may not live through it. You need to have realistic expectations so that you can prepare yourselves mentally to face the coming problems. I wrote about why many, who have the gear and supplies, fail to survive. The people who are mentally prepared will have the best chance of survival. The people who live in a fantasy world will die. Don’t wish for something you may regret.
Updated by Noah, 9/30/16.