by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:
ReadyNutrition Readers, you’ve been prepping for a long time, and you diligently follow the exchange of information on this and other websites. You have been laying in stores and provisions, equipment, seeds, books, medical supplies, tools, and specialty gear. You have been planning, training, and preparing for that eventual day that everything as we know it comes to a halt. We know that preparations are never complete, but you’re 99.9% there. Now what?
It’s sort of akin to coming off of an adrenaline rush. OK, you’re about as ready as you can be. Now, the disaster/SHTF hasn’t happened yet. So what do we do? Here’s an answer to that question that you can blend into what you have already accomplished. None of your efforts are being repudiated; you can attempt to continue your preparations by living as much of a self-reliant lifestyle as possible.
Thoreau and Emerson aside, there are ways of being self-reliant without just simply living in a cave in the woods (although caves can be an excellent residence or shelter). Here is the first point to a self-reliant lifestyle, and it is one of the most important ones:
Self-reliant lifestyles are going to have a different definition for different people
This statement is because the needs of one family are not the same as the needs of another. The Jones and Smith families want to live lives as self-reliant as possible. The Jones family has two twin boys who are 13, and an 8-year-old girl who is a diabetic. The grandfather, Mr. Jones Senior needs the use of a wheelchair. The Smith family has an 18-year-old daughter who is a very good athlete, and a 14-year-old boy who is blind.
The two families have different situations, and therefore in order to be self-reliant, there are medical conditions and physical limitations that must be taken into account. The Jones girl needs a steady supply of insulin, a drug that requires refrigeration, and her grandfather needs the wheelchair to move about. The Smiths have a boy who cannot see, and precautions must be taken to keep him safe and healthy.
4 Self-Reliant Concepts to Consider
1. Self-reliance means you must provide for and take care of each family member’s needs, especially from a medical/caregiver standpoint.
This seems as if it’s just common sense, but it is not. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of people who move to Montana because they want to live in the remote wilds, but are unprepared to support their family’s needs because they have either assessed those needs incorrectly or discounted them in the pursuit of their goals.
In order to be self-sustaining, you have to provide for yourself (prep) for when it hits the fan, but you also have to live in the “now” until the SHTF.
2. You must correctly assess what your needs are and realistically pursue a course of action to fulfill those needs in order to be self-reliant.
Where do you live? Do you live in a state that has no property taxes? What is your employment potential? Do you have a means of making a living that you are not required to punch a clock and report to a cubicle? Can you work in your home?
What kind of home will you choose for yourself and your family? What kind of transportation will you need, and what kind of daily commute for yourself and/or members of your family? Are you all in agreement as to the type of lifestyle you will live in? Do you have a home-based business that all members of your family can (and want to) participate in?
3. Self-reliance is still going to leave you reliant on someone
Unless you’re going to the Thoreau/Emerson model, which still cannot be classified as self-reliance as these guys returned to human society after their self-imposed hermitages/exiles, your life of self-reliance is going to leave you reliant on someone. Humans are social in nature. You’re going to require something from someone eventually, either in the neighborhood of supplies, medical attention, or just someone to socialize with. Unless you are either a gargoyle or some kind of a nut, you will, at the bare minimum, need some kind of human companionship. So what can we do?
4. We can return to the basics of living, and do it in a manner that does not inflict severe pain upon ourselves or our family members in the process of doing it
We can cut wood for our woodstoves and heat our homes with them or the fireplace. When the chainsaws run out of juice after the SHTF, we will need to use axes, bowsaws, mauls, and wedges. We can learn to make our own canned goods by home canning, and grow our own food. We can either raise livestock and/or hunt for our own food. We can brain-tan hides and make our own furniture. All of these things are crucial survival skills that we can also blend into our day-to-day existences.
And in the meantime, we need to keep up with maintenance on our property, taking care of repairs, taxes, mortgage payments, and the like. The next installment of this series will suggest some home-based businesses that can be used to produce viable income and also generate supplies that can be used for barter. We’ll examine the self-sustaining household, or “spread” in terms of its component parts, and try to further define what it means for each family to be self-sustaining in a world that is rapidly turning toward the “Soylent Green” model. Until then, keep your powder dry and remember we’d love to hear your thoughts on these matters.
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