There are some great reasons to take up Prepping as a hobby. Notice I did not say a lifestyle.
I think there is some real commitment necessary to LIVE that way and it may not be worth the trade-offs. The word HOBBY was a conscious choice. All of the benefits, but without the anti social bunker mentality creeping into your everyday interactions with the rest of the human race.
First up from the Prepper’s Perspective is Frugality.
Adequately prepping requires money. Money that may never produce a return. IF something were to happen it was the best money you ever spent. But much like insurance, the ‘big payout’ may never materialize.
There are two big reasons why prepping leads to mastery of the Art of Minimalism. First, all of the money you are about to spend is hobby money. The truth is there will most likely be very little return on your investment. When that is the case, you will always keep one eye on the costs and perpetually try to keep them down.
The other reason is that the world you are preparing for is the most extreme version of universal minimalism. The ‘end of the world’ or collapse of civilization model reduces us to bare minimum existence. Only the most important, basic things even matter when we take away all the modern advances and conveniences of modern life.
You are essentially back to basics, food, water, shelter, security, and survival. Downsizing to that level of comfort is as bare bones as the needs vs wants analysis will ever get. Train your mind to focus on the imperative and your basement and budget will follow.
Prepping is hyper-consumerist in practice and anti-consumerist in outlook –John Stokes
Next in the Prepper’s Perspective comes self reliance.
You won’t be able to ‘Call the Guy‘ when a prepping scenario happens. You need to be the Guy. In order to fulfill this theoretical quest, you need to learn skills BEFORE the are needed.
You will need ‘know how’, confidence, and experience. Learning the skills can come from ‘Hands On’ all the way to ‘YouTubing it’. Confidence comes with practice and measured successes. Experience comes with combining the first two over time and in different situations.
Anything you want to learn is at your fingertips, from canning to small engine repair. Relying on yourself to tackle problems also saves money in your ‘real life’.
Don’t forget you also need to take care of your body as part of all this preparation. You need to hone your mind and work on your body.
Physical shape is important to any survival situation.
Bad times are hard on the mind and the body. Stress and fatigue have to be counteracted by preparation and stamina. Exercise and practice are healthy and should be a part of your life regardless of your stance on Prepping. I like to think of it as training for a sport, in a Hunger Games sort of way.
The last point I want to touch on from a prepper’s perspective is Independence. Convention tells us that there will always be a grocery store, we can count on our neighbors, and the lights will come on at night.
What if we couldn’t count on those things?
I try not to operate from a place of fear. I try to frame this argument in my head that I am just being thorough about the possibilities. That I have what it takes to provide for me and mine even in unstable times. I want that sense of freedom to come from a positive place.
My life is nowhere near ready to be completely sustainable ‘off the grid‘. But I like to think I could pull it off, if push came to shove. This perspective, in my opinion, is parallel to what we are saying and doing everyday in the FIRE community.
Instead of accepting the conventional wisdom about financial security and the route you take to get there, we are exploring our own paths. Many times this is contrary to the orthodox approaches of our friends, co workers, and neighbors.
We wanted to construct a path to prosperity that gives us the freedom to pursue what is important to us. That hike often takes us through frugality and downsizing, prioritizing what is essential. Relying on ourselves to reach an Independence from the system.
Seems to me like these paths, both Prepper and FIRE, have a few stops along the way in common.
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