As preppers we all like planning, after all it is the whole point of prepping. But, our planning tends to go much further. We plan what to do on vacation. We plan where we are going. We plan who we will be going with us. We even have a backup plan for our plans. And if the 3rd plan fails, some of us go beyond that and have a 4th plan, don’t we?
Here is my confession:
This is something that I have been thinking very deeply about for the past few days. My life has been no more than a succession of underachieved and troublesome plans. I am not whining, life is what it is. I am truly pleased to have had the small bits of happiness that warm my memories: unplanned cats, unexpected travel opportunities that turned into awesome mini-vacations, simple pizza dinners with friends that became funny parties.
Did my large “scale” plans work? Yes, they did. Owning my home? Check. Buying a new car? Check. A few items here and there just in case something happened? Check. A good school for the kiddo? Magically a great school was built just a few blocks away and he loved being there. So yes, check. Everything was going more or less according to plan.
I remember sitting one Saturday in our living room as one of our “furry” daughters came to receive her daily quota of cuddling and petting (she used to do that before her mom woke up, the rest of the day ignored me like some useless piece of furniture). I always give thanks during those moments for having everything that I had. Yes, a shadow of fear was always there. Losing those blessings would surely be painful.
Eventually, I would find this out.
However, not everything has been lost forever. I believe these sorts of things were like purifying and renovating. The Bible teaches us with Job’s story that while you may be shaken, squeezed, take a beating, stomped on, crushed, and suffer cruelties, at the end of the day something good will have come from it all. Even if only a reminder that our faith must prevail.
Let’s go back to my living room.
There I sat, being grateful for everything, feeling the fur baby’s claws through my gym pants as she purred, thinking what my next moves should be. And, making plans: start my home-based business, which I am sure would have been successful, acquire a good patch of land nearby, upgrade the SUV to a fully equipped diesel van.
The van was to be the bug-out vehicle we could use to get us to the cottage or the new patch of land. We would be safe in that van for at least 5 days. The new plot of land would not be a very large one. It would provide us with shelter for one or two nights, have a well and other necessities needed for comfort while on route to our main location. Planning in my mind of how to keep the plot of land hidden and build underground facilities at our cottage was also happening during that time.
Naively, I believed this all could be achieved with a few friends, a cooler full of beer, the BBQ to cook on, and just a little cash. I was wrong.
Destiny would intervene.
Our area is flooded with heavy rains a good part of the year. Plans for the extra plot of land as far as building considerations soon became quite a challenge, engineering-wise. The plans were not discarded entirely, just changed. For now, Mother Nature is doing her thing. What was once clay soil, landfill, and rocks was becoming a wonderful soil layer that is showing signs it is quite fertile for growing.
Hyperinflation had begun to reveal it’s ugly face to me as I sat in my dark living room, looking at the almost empty kitchen pantry, wondering how this had all happened so fast. It was much too fast. There was no way it could have happened naturally. This was indeed a man-made disaster. After thinking about it all, I finally admitted to myself there was no way to prepare against what had happened.
The blessings of being a prepper.
Not being one to like labels, I had not yet begun to identify as a prepper. I never liked labels in the first place and felt that others would judge me and be disrespectful. The truth is, we are all judgmental at times, it is human nature. I had some preps stashed away and knew that I could be easily targeted as a “hoarder”, especially if I had labeled myself a prepper. Under the communist regime at that time every valuable thing I had would have been seized by thugs and I would have been publicly shamed and thrown in prison, where I would have had my life threatened daily by the “uniforms”.
“Cottager” is a term that suits me well if the need for labels should arrive. A resilient man, living alone with a bunch of cats, surrounded by a 3-meter tall hedge, writing about what needs to be done to achieve a more efficient, healthy, peaceful, and rewarding lifestyle.
And there I go, making plans again. Pay no attention, please.
Planning is good, but be ready to make changes.
Latin America is not as into planning as in other latitudes. The reason is simple: our weather is fair, mostly, and we don’t need to stick to a firewood-making plan to be warm in the winter, for example. We tend to be the kings of improvisation. Sometimes with laughable results, yes, I admit it.
What I intend to say here is, plans are not always going to develop the way they are supposed to. People get sick, accidents happen, couples break up and the girl takes the cat with her, which is awful (I’d rather prefer her taking the TV), small-scale natural disasters can happen too, and a huge variety of things can happen that will make our plans go to heck. Just like my plan to start building up my cottage.
Lack of resources, the family situation I have been going through (thanks to my poor partner choice) and having bugged-out to the wrong place have delayed these plans in a way that will affect us for the next 10 years or more. Now the ONLY one in my rather small family with the wish to prepare that cottage is me. My ex, who used to be like Sarah Connor is now more like the Legally Blond character, minus the degree, the money, and the dog. She claims my kiddo’s opinion on all this means nothing. My plans, which were once OUR plans, have gone to waste as she prefers to live the “glamorous” life.
This is not to place the blame on my ex. I do acknowledge my mistakes and have been trying hard to make changes. It is a very painful process. I regret so much…I can never say that enough.
My message to my readers: If you consider yourself a prepper, be prepared to see your plans go to heck.
Be prepared to comfort your loved ones when faced with loss.
Be prepared for the day you end up in a dark room, with an empty pantry, asking yourself, “What the heck happened?”
If you are lucky, you will a fur baby purring in your lap and sharpening her claws on your gym pants while you are doing it.
Thank you for reading. I hope to provide happier news in the future!
Stay tuned, Jose.
Editor’s Note: Jose’s not alone here. We’ve all had times when our plans went terribly wrong. I’ll never forget when we got stranded up on the mountain where we lived by mudslides and a road collapse. We were perfectly content, we had supplies, our property wasn’t in danger. Everything was great…until I got bitten by a black widow spider and had a horrible reaction.
What are some times when your own best-laid plans went awry? Share them in the comments below.
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151
Jose, there we times during the ’08 crash when we were losing everything, if not for the cats I would have packed it in.
weird how their devotion and trust motivates us to soldier on in the face of adversity.
I don’t have real kids, but the cats (and ok, the dog) are our family. i’d do anything to keep them safe.
I guess I will find out just how much I am willing to do to preserve my little space in the world.
Before I read your account, I had planned my answer … and it accords with your own experiences.
People. People are the number one ‘let you down’.
Covid malarkey has opened a lot of eyes to the true nature of those upon whom they thought they could depend.
OTOH, that’s probably a blessing, too. Imagine if you’d had to place your life in the hands of those people.
Murphy’s Law: Whatever Can Go Wrong, Will, And At The Worst Possible Time.
O’Toole’s Comment: Murphy Was An Optimist!
In my 60 years on this earth, I’ve found this to be the norm, time and time again. Doesn’t mean we don’t plan or prepare, only that we realize the best plans and preps can’t accommodate everything life will toss at us.
Went to school for an Elec Engineering degree. Graduated with the idea I’d start a job before summer was over. Then, after New Years hit, then end of January the next year, I felt like I’d make a huge mistake.
Businesses weren’t hiring in my state due to a recession hitting ours before other states. So I moved to another state to work for future in-laws business. Finally got a job after 3 months of add’l soul searching and loads of prayer.
Since moved again after leaving the company I started my profession in for 12 years. It’s been hard to see where the Lord is at time, but taking a step back gives me perspective that you don’t get when rallying an “issues list”.
Once upon a time there were two seedlings sprouting by a pond.
They were about 10 ft from each other
As they grew one of the started changing and getting bigger and bigger.
The other one just grew into a slender reed.
The bigger on grew into a mighty oak tree.
The mighty oak was always ridiculing the slender reed.
“When the storms came and the wind blows, I stand strong and proud, while you bend and twist like a limp piece of spaghetti.”
“I know. That’s just the I am.”
Then one day a tornado struck. It was a bad one.
It got real dark, and the wind blew like never before.
When it was over, there was destruction everywhere. It looked like a bomb had gone off.
At the pond, the mighty oak was no more. It had been blown away.
The slender reed said “I’m still here. That’s just the way I am.”
Holy scripture is filled with verses that give reassurance. Roman’s 8:28 is my personal favorite.
” All things work together for good , for those who love The Lord”.
Most of us know that we are in a world wide Communist revolution, be it Venezuela, Europe, or Minnesota. This is why I consider The Left ZOMBIES , as only a brain dead person would consider life better under a Maduro than a Trump. Zombies can not be reasoned with, they must be defeated by force!
Stay safe Jose and God Bless
Choosing people is key.
Without shared hardship before shft there is no way to truly gauge someone.
You can see the inner person when it’s easier to abandon you as you are a liability instead of aa set to them… see what happens.
Few face life or death situations together or crazy stressful stuff.
Yup with planning must come flexibility. Understand that failure isn’t always a fault. Things happen.
There’ll be time to dwell on that later.
In fact the good news is you only get to live with survivors guilt if you survive and the great news is dead folk don’t have PTSD and the best news is you gotta live long enough for the health/mental issues from doing all that surviving to feel it.
No matter what happens revert to infantry 101 which is Always Improve Your Position.
Success requires forward movement. There is no quit nor retreat. There is tactical relocation which might require you to do something similar but it is NOT a permanent direction.
Always plan, continue to execute but don’t become fixated.
Jose, I have been thinking of you and re-reading your posts these past few months as the COVID/riots craziness have descended on the US. Your reflection of “How did it get so bad so fast?” haunts me. How indeed. I feel like we are just one step behind Venezuela. I am taking your example to heart and making plans to get my family out of this giant west coast city while I still have the resources to do it. I am lucky to have like-minded family members to help and go with us. Not all– some family members refuse to see what is happening all around us in this leftist state.
Praying for you and your family, Jose. I appreciate all of your writing.
Thanks for your prayers Mrs. Greenway, and your appreciation.
This is the sort of comments that encourages me to work harder everyday.
I have been wanting to prep for grid down or 4th turning insanity, but neighbors would have murdered me for my preps. COVID never entered my mind. So I worked to move. In January, Wuhan locked down and I hurried my move as I could. The narrative (as opposed to truth) became scarier and scarier, but I made it from Big City to Appalachia before March. We had only a little preps, just needed toilet paper for a month’s survival.
Then came the lockdowns, and I was so glad for every bit of preparedness I had. We needed the same stuff!
Now, prepping is when there is plenty. No harm in storing supplies for a rainy day–nobody hurt by that. Hoarding is when there is not enough to go around, and you stock up THEN.
But soon it became obvious that the 4th Turning Insanity has begun. It is responsible to stock up right now, and I am working on it. It is not hoarding right now if you avoid the things that are short and stock up on what is available.