chaosgodWell, it has been one heck of a past year. A year in which my life went upside down, twisted inside out and taught me a lot about self-reliance, trust, faith, courage and just how far down the emotional and mental rabbit hole one can go when SHTF happens. Never mind the details, but lets just say that after a nasty run in with several governmental agencies of the law enforcement type due to the behavior of someone who at the time was close to me, followed by all the fun police action entails (mind you I did NOTHING wrong myself but that is another topic for later), sudden loss of income on several levels, the acts of nature that came afterwards and then top off by the sudden death of someone close to me (by suicide, and I found him)…and well, I am just happy that I still have my home, my kids and one car left. I can laugh about it now in some ways…but one thing is for sure…I have LEARNED the hard way about being prepared for whatever may happen. Made a lot of mistakes along the way in the past 12 months, but hey, I am human and I am still standing.

I am still dealing with the fall out of the last year, but am now able to look back and say, that was right, this could have been done better and what were the lessons I learned?

First things first, if you think it can’t happen to you, it will…just ask them up in New York and New Jersey about Sandy. Just ask anyone who has lost a job or source of income/job that looked and seemed rock solid and just ask anyone who has lost someone due to suicide or some other untimely death or has had their life shattered by any type of trauma. It can happen to you.

That is lesson number #1…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU…this idea that so many people have (or should I say ‘illusions’?) that if they do everything right, walk the line, go along with the flow will give them safety and security in this world is a and can be a fatal one. See and understand this…preparedness is the ability to get past this idea that ‘it can’t happen’ or ‘it won’t happen’ or ‘I have done nothing wrong and abide the rules and laws’ or ‘it has never happened before’ or ‘oh, the chances are almost slim to nothing’ or any of a million other things we say to ourselves to make the world a safe place for us to live. The super storms of this past summer…never happened before…Superstorm Sandy…oh they will help us and/or its not that bad and/or it never happens here…it is safe to speak your mind and rant and rave on the internet…its just harmless talk and the 1st Amendment protects me (are you nuts?) or any number of things (um, can we say QE3 and 4? Or Sandyhook? Or the movie theater shootings)…say bleeettt if you have managed to avoid taking a hard look at the world we live and not come to the conclusion that you need to get as prepared as you possibly can (shall I begin to cite statistics on unemployment or how many people get foodstamps now?) while you can.

I got rolled on this lesson this past year, as wave after wave of change, chaos and quiet frankly traumatic events kept coming at me…never in a million years did I ever believe that my door would be kicked in by SWAT and FBI agents, especially since nobody around me did anything ‘wrong’ (I have since redefined what that means and adjusted somewhat accordingly). But they did. I never thought it possible that I would find myself in a situation where I was asked to save my own skin over someone else’s. (And I took the middle road there, I am not a rat, bring it on). Never thought I would take a hit on 3 different fronts financially either (the old never keep all your eggs in one basket rule) all within 3 months of each other. Never in a million years could I possibly conceive of talking to someone one minute and then 10 minutes later finding their body, let alone have to deal with powerful storms one after another at the sametime that knocked out power for 10 days (ask them sheeple up in Fairfax how it worked for them). And I certainly never thought that I would have to deal with PTSD, I am a tough bird after all. But IT HAPPENED TO ME! Ever wonder what YOU would do IF you found yourself facing the inconceivable? ARE YOU PREPARED IN ANYWAY? got extra food in the house? have a community to lean on? another source of income? extra toliet paper or the knowledge how to stay off mind altering substances to cope?

And through all of this life went on and did go on including all the everyday ordinary BS that comes with living in this modern world and such…kids, dogs (did I forget to mention that I had to put down 2 good dogs and another almost died in the midst of all this? oh yeah, and kept my customers happy and the laundry done and food cooked?)…see just because crap is hitting the fan in your life and quite possible those around you to one extent or another doesn’t mean that the ordinary details of life get to go unattended. You get to deal with that too, on top of the storm, on top of the death, on top of the major illness, on top of the job loss, on top…well, the list goes on and on.

You may THINK you can handle anything that comes your way, but have you really stopped and played that evil game called what if? It may drive you nuts at first, but part of being prepared is PLANNING…LOSS PREVENTION, Mitigation, controlling what you can…and being aware that it IS THE SMALL STUFF that will make or break you in the end.

I have spent alot of time, effort and money getting prepared in many ways…the storms that came through were a big inconvience and uncomfortable but I was at least physically ready for them…income loss was a tough one since I have never had my income cut in half overnight with no warning but I am thankful for my forethought in keeping a well packed pantry (which is now being replenished) and that I didn’t listen to others that told me sock away the money instead. I am thankful that I had a background in medicine and mental health…it HELPED tremendously and at the very least I KNEW there were healthy ways of dealing with things once the shock and denial wore off. And I learned real quick who my community was and wasn’t, who I could count on and couldn’t (now that was an eye opener), how long I could go without going grocery shopping (several months) and that grief will make you and others do really strange, unusual and nasty things.

So if anything this past year has taught me is this…IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and IT WILL EVENTUALLY…I have come to look at ‘preparedness’ and ‘survival’ and TEOTWAWKI in a much broader scope…its not just about hurricanes, tornados or a large scale collapse…but its also about your own life and that of your family…what happens to you to end YOUR WORLD doesn’t has to happen to others…and you know what? MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR SURVIVAL…it is entirely up TO YOU…not that a lone wolf will survive, but in ‘normal’ times, when SHTF in your personal life, others will be too busy or unsure to help and frankly, may in fact start behaving like buzzards smelling blood…ugly thought, but true..so my question is this…are you prepared?

Be prepared, be aware and be ready…and remember, it can happen to you!

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