When I was only 5, my father reached down and rubbed my head and said, “I wish times were always joyful and peaceful like this, but they won’t be. In fact, in your lifetime, you are gonna see some horrible things. You’ll probably see financial hard times and maybe even have to see all of your freedoms, well-earned freedoms, stripped from you, and you will have two choices: fight and risk everything in order to restore those freedoms, or conform and lose that famous American Dream.” Of course, it went in one ear and out the other, to a little boy, like I was. In fact, I was just glad he was rubbing my head, but those words were kind of stored away for later. It was one of those statements that dads make where they tell you something extremely important and profound and you wish you’d listened then.
Years later, I was going through some of my dad’s old stuff and found a book called, Patriots; it’s a novel of survival in the coming collapse. The combination of this being a genre of reading I had never seen before and the interesting title tempted me to open the first page. Though I was still quite young, I became captivated by this distopian future idea, which had never been exposed to me before. This idea was so interesting and unreal at the time. However, a few Google searches later, I realized this distopian future was not so distant at all. I finished the book quickly and decided more research on the subject was prudent.
I soon found that there was an entire community of preppers online and that some of them were already living the lifestyle that Todd, TK, Jeff, and the group were living in James Wesley, Rawle’s book. With a little more research, I found that these preparations were not simply paranoia put into action; this lifestyle and these fears are very real. The balance that America, in particular, is reliant upon is quite fragile, and there are various possible SHTF scenarios that could bring that balance to its destruction. Financial collapse, a pandemic or epidemic, EMP, or natural disasters are just some possible situations where prepping and self reliance comes into play.
Also, as the years have gone by, I realized that even if no major catastrophic events take place in the next couple of decades, America will tear itself down eventually at this rate. I soon came to the conclusion that prepping was the obvious solution to the even more obvious problems. I was almost ready to start prepping when my dad’s words floated back into my head. I remembered them and figured that was what he was saying all those years ago. I was close to understanding what he meant, but I wasn’t quite on the money yet.
I then dove head first into prepping and majorly face planted. I knew what prepping was, and I knew why also. However, I had no idea HOW to go about it! I began prepping by making a very common mistake; I just started buying stuff. Some, if not most, preppers begin by doing this, and it really negatively affects you to start off on the wrong foot. The problem lies within the fact that prepping and self-reliance is indeed a mindset and an idea, not a hobby. As long as it is treated like a hobby, then you can never really be an effective prepper.
I was rewarded for my mistake with a rude awakening. I realized, “I’m simply out of money!” This was when I started looking up YouTube videos to see where I had gone wrong, and that is when I had my revelation about self-reliance being an idea and mindset. I also realized that no amount of stuff will get you through TEOTWAWKI. Only skills, technique, and willpower can accomplish that. So, I then realized what my father was saying while I was on this train of thought. I also realized that the “provisional government” in Patriots was not much worse than our current day government. They take away our freedoms and force things upon us also. Maybe it just isn’t as apparent as it is in Patriots. You must always be ready to stand up against an unjust government. You see, the government wants us to respect them and honor them and be obedient. However, they claim to be the U.S. Government, which is the same government that said almost 250 years ago that it is the duty of the people to stand up to such a government when it takes away these freedoms.
That is what my dad was telling me, along with prepping for an uncertain future, but I finally had it figured out. He was saying that things will get bad. Now the government takes away our well-earned money and freedom and justifies it by saying that they will rule us and protect us. This is unconstitutional, and our founding fathers would be ashamed of it. The worst part is that it’s not getting better! Things are constantly getting worse! Also, financially, our country is teetering on the edge of a fatal cliff. From there, I had the right mindset and started practicing skills. I worked hard to become an advanced prepper.
Obviously, guns and knives are some prepping necessities, but another mistake people make is that they buy too many of those. Preppers are always buying way too many guns and too much ammo but not enough water purification systems and so on. They thrive in one aspect, while being way low in another aspect. After yet another revelation, this revelation, I realized that I had way too many knives, as this had become a hobby for me, so I quickly sold them and started spending the money earned to buy new preps. I made up my mind to be as equally and mathematically prepped as possible.
On the skill side of the prepping, I soon found that my dad had been teaching me skills for years to prepare me for the SHTF. He aught me tactical driving techniques, tactical fire arms training, hunting, trapping, fishing, along with life skills. He taught me to do things myself. All of these things were taught to me to prepare me for when the “Murican Dream” goes down the toilet.
I recently decided that I needed some specific self-reliance skills, because I was still lacking in those. So the solution was to go to New Vision inc. in West Virginia, which was quite a long trip from my house. I went there to learn about renewable energy and Aquaponics gardening. I soon found that, eventually, gear will run out or break, leaving you with nothing, but renewable and reusable preps are likely the most helpful.
In my climate, I decided to have an ebb et flow aquaponics system, which grows almost anything you can think of and utilizes my channel catfish also, and to use silicon solar panels in order to make good use of the sun and to also provide me with a fair amount of electricity. These preps, if treated with care, could theoretically sustain you and your family for years!!! After that camp, I had a huge advantage, and yet again I felt like a real bona fide prepper.
Over the next few months, I did more studying and put my recently acquired preps into action. The amount of vegetables that can be produced through my garden, along with nearly unlimited catfish, proves to be one massive asset that should not be overlooked by anyone. As I have said previously, prepping for me is an everlasting learning experience, It can overwhelm you if you let it, but I realized that you prep in order to be in control, and if prepping controls you then there was no reason to do so at all.
All of these skills, along with the self-reliant mindset, and with all of the cool preps and gear I have, I am now one self-reliant and prepared son of a gun. Of course, organization and planning is also one of the most important preps, but that was one aspect that I had gotten right from the beginning. I now stand before you an entirely different person than the boy who found a book in his dad’s room. I now stand before you someone who craves the self-sufficient lifestyle and likes being independent. I’m the type of person whose dream car is not a Lamborghini; instead I crave a 1980’s Ford Bronco. My dream yard doesn’t consist of having a luxurious swimming pool and a football field; I substitute that for an aquaponics garden and an underground bunker. My priorities have changed! I would rather live in Southern Montana in a remote log cabin hidden in the mountains than in a multi-million dollar beach house.
Prepping changed me. I have come a long way and become a real prepper, but that also transformed me. It made me be more satisfied with the simple ways of living. All of these major experiences, all of these mistakes, all of these changes, started when the genre of reading I had never seen before and the interesting title tempted me to open the first page.