As we kick off 2021, I wanted to share some prepper resolutions I have made for myself that might help you on your prepping journey to more than survive this year.
Each January we reach a time of reflection on the year that has passed. In a “normal” year, I usually have only a couple of big events that frame my point of reference. There are good times with family and friends, perhaps a good vacation I had with my family. For some years, there are sad times with the loss of someone close to you. Regardless of the year, the whole idea of a New Year seems to hold promise. A promise or hope if you will of something better.
I have not made a list of prepper resolutions like this I do not believe since my 2013 article on the subject. The Prepper Journal was just approaching one year old at that point and we certainly did not have the year we all just lived through that was 2020. My prepper resolutions list at that time was much more specific in terms of things I needed to acquire or additional skills I planned to obtain.
After 2020, I sat down and tried to think through the year and identify where I could make improvements and that’s where this year’s list of prepper resolutions starts.
Look back on lessons learned last year
How can you not look back on 2020 as a prepper and take advantage of the lessons we should have been exposed to both on a personal and a global level. We all:
- Faced with a “real” global pandemic
- Witnessed shortages of goods in stores
- Forced on some level to curb our behavior for reasons of public safety
- Subjected to National and Regional Emergency Orders that removed freedoms
- Required to undergo medical testing to prove we were safe
- Confronted with stay-at-home conditions
- Saw limits or restrictions placed on interstate and global travel
And that was just the beginning really. Now there are talks of the virus spiking, how the vaccine rollout will work, and whether it will be mandatory, virus mutations, and a new president coming into office that is sure to bring up other issues.
As a prepper, I can check off no less than 7 of those items that have been at the heart of hypothetical scenarios we plan for as preppers. And we all for the most part lived through a (very mild) version of them. Yes, there was not much toilet paper for a while, but we made it through that too. For the next 20 years, if nothing else happens, every prepper has their COVID story that will justify a lot of their prepping activities.
I have often recommended a family exercise where you shut the power off for a weekend and try to live off your preps but the last 9 or 10 months of this past year were a far better “test run’ than I could have pulled off by myself alone. I do realize that some people had a very hard time and some of you may have lost loved ones. I am not trying to diminish your suffering. But, for most of us, this last year should have been very illuminating.
Identify gaps and blind spots
When we started experiencing food runs at the grocery store, it was a little tamer than I had originally feared in my mind. But looking back now, I think that is all proportional to the actual event itself. In the early days, there was still a lot of skepticism and I think that made people a little more relaxed even though they were pushing their carts down the isles just like I was. Even though we all heard that the grocery stores were running out of food, there still was a lot of food in the grocery stores.
This happened when I had a good bit of extended family here with me for a month and we had to run to the grocery store more than the average person. It probably looked like we were hoarding ourselves, but I had an extra 6 mouths to feed. I did not tap into my long-term food storage specifically because you could still purchase food.
But this event did reinforce one thing and that was that the fears of grocery store runs are very real. If this had been an event that was direr or supplies were affected more severely, the stores would have been cleaned out quickly. What I do plan to do is discussed in my article about if you only had one trip left, which is basically to say that if supplies are going to be cut off soon, unless there is some risk to your health, making it to the store before the throng has emptied it will help you.
My fall back position is always the long-term food, but that is a finite resource that I am only using as a last resort. So, food continues to be a blind spot for my family. We did not have anything growing in the garden at that time but oddly enough the COVID-19 scare was a great motivator for planting a garden as soon as we could.
What did you realize you did not have that you needed or what could have gone better for you? If you work on those items this year, you will be in better shape if we are faced with a similar condition in the future.
Reevaluate your Plan
Another opportunity to reflect this year was on your prepping plans or put another way; what are you preparing for? Have the events of this last year made you reconsider your fear of the Super Volcano erupting or peak oil? Did you dust off your faraday cage at all and consider for a moment if that really was your wisest prepping investment?
I am not saying that your reason for prepping is invalid but there are some things that are just statistically more likely to happen to you. I was on Reddit a few weeks back and a poster asked a question that I am really paraphrasing here. They were concerned with Global Warming and were looking for ideas or suggestions on how they could build a bunker or some other means to live when the earth “was no longer livable”.
Regardless of your thought on global warming, worrying now about how to build a bunker that will help you live when essentially everyone else is dead is just plain foolish. I responded that this was like planning for surviving a nuke attack in your back yard. There are many more likely events that you will be forced to live through, but even at its worst, our planet isn’t going anywhere. If it does, it will be long after we are all dead and buried.
2021 gave us real examples of things we could realistically be faced with. The events allow us to see how we fared and reevaluate what we should have done better. This is a great step in planning for surviving the next thing you could be faced with. At least it is more effective than fearing something that nobody can tell you for certain will happen and even if it does, it’s 100’s of years off. Depending on who you talk to of course.
Review and inventory your current preps
2021 gave me a real reason and opportunity to go through my inventory. We actually used some of the items in our supplies that needed to be replenished which was really good for helping me and my wife understand our current level of preparedness.
Our N95 masks and hand sanitizer went first but those were quickly replaced and then not used at the same level for the rest of the year, so our supplies built back up. I did notice that my MRE’s were well past their expiry dates and I made a mental note of that. They have been stored in relatively cool conditions since I purchased them, but you always take a little risk. They are not that great to eat in the first place but could still be perfectly good. My plan is to test them out if we ever need them before tearing into some of the food I am sure is still good.
Batteries I stored many years ago have started to leak so those hit the trash can and I ordered a few more megapacks of AA and AAA’s. They say they have a long shelf life but maybe I got a bad batch. I also had several tarps and rolls of duct tape stored away that have been used over the years, so they needed replenishing.
Most of my supplies were perfectly fine, but the perishables were what do not survive a long time in isolation. My pain medicine supplies and antibiotic ointments all expired so that will need to be taking care of also.
Size up your financial shape
Fortunately, I was able to keep working without any disruption at all really. We were forced to stay home and telecommute but if the internet is working, I can do my job anywhere. Had I been dependent on a different type of work that was shuttered during the mandatory closures, we would have been hurting.
Part of my plan this year is to seriously work on my rainy-day stash but that is only a band-aid. Having all bills paid off and a years’ worth of cash tucked under the bed is only as good as that cash lasts or the ability to use it. We are currently looking at supplementing our income and diversifying so that worst case if we are still able to work, a single job loss is not drastic.
Resolve to become more self-sufficient
This goes along with the item above but being self-sufficient is a lofty goal. Think of everything you would need to do to be truly self-sufficient. Can you provide your own shelter, medical care, food, clothing, and financial security?
Most people think of being self-sufficient as independently wealthy and I guess that is one way of looking at it. But assume for a minute, that money is worthless. You may have twenty thousand dollars, and nobody will give you anything for it because it is worthless to them. This has happened many times throughout history and it is pure hubris to think we in the United States are immune from that happening to us.
True self-sufficiency is very hard, but it is not something to give up on. Yes, you might not be able to weave your own fabric but learning how to mend clothes that are good except for a tear on the sleeve is the first step. Do not worry if you cannot make a dress, just focus on fixing the hole in your socks.
Revisit skills you have lapsed
I am guilty of letting skills lapse. I cannot tell you the last time I went to the range and my excuse is that ammo is too expensive, and I am not willing to dip into my supply. That is not a real good reason though. I know dry firing is better than nothing but getting real training and trigger time is vital and necessary for me to be proficient with my firearms.
I rationalize this a little further by saying that I am not going to get into a gunfight anytime soon, but you never know what you will be faced with. I carry concealed so I still should be highly proficient, and I plan to work on that also.
Ham Radio is another big one that I have let slip. I took the antennas (CB and Ham) off my vehicle because I was going on a trip and I never put it back on. This was almost a year ago, so I need to get back in shape with my radio use so to say.
What skills have you let lapse that you could see being useful in a disaster situation?
Expand your sense of what is possible
Finally, the last year taught me that I need to think outside of the box. I was right about some assumptions about what I could see during various crises, but I was wrong about other things. Not so wrong I need to stop this blog though… Seriously, the year was a surprise on a couple of levels, and some things I did not expect caught me by surprise.
I have stopped getting news and information from one source and started looking at alternate viewpoints and perspectives. This has opened my eyes to new potential threats and ways of looking at the spin we see every day. It just gives me a new perspective and I needed that in my life. Maybe you do too?
So that was my list of prepper resolutions that I am going to try out this year. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better year, but even if it isn’t, I will work on being more prepared for what happens.
What are you going to do this year?