I am going to pref­ace Prep­per­Jim’s post today with a brief state­ment, and say that I real­ly per­son­al­ly enjoyed this post, as it let me know that I was not alone in mak­ing my own mis­takes.   Mak­ing mis­takes is how many of us learn, espe­cial­ly when we have no one else to bounce our thoughts off of.

I intro­duced myself in the last post. Today, I will share my path to urban pre­pared­ness.

So what is the first thing I did when deter­min­ing I need­ed to pre­pare? Made mis­takes. A lot of them. I:

  1. Looked around at the state of the world and my lack of prepa­ra­tion and pan­icked, if only a small amount and for a lim­it­ed time.
  2. Ama­zon and start­ed buy­ing stuff I thought I need­ed to sur­vive the end of the world as I knew it. Some of the stuff was good and exact­ly what I need­ed. Some of the stuff was unnec­es­sary or inap­pro­pri­ate for my sit­u­a­tion and almost all was more expen­sive than it had to be. I also bought kits of stuff like a tac­ti­cal trau­ma first aid kit with absolute­ly no idea what is in it or how to use it.
  3. I did not think before act­ing, decid­ing to let oth­ers do my think­ing for me via their prep­per expe­ri­ence and prepa­ra­tions.
  4. I tried to rush and do every­thing at once, think­ing the world would end before I was pre­pared for it.
  5. I utter­ly failed to get my wife involved in the prepa­ra­tion process.

Now that I real­ize I made all these errors and prob­a­bly some I am not aware of, what I did not do was beat myself up. When I final­ly took the time to use met­al ener­gy instead of finan­cial ener­gy, I took one step back and learned from each and every one of these errors. None were fatal nor did I go into debt to buy gear as a result of fear. The les­son is: when you are prep­ping, you will make mis­takes. Learn from them all and con­tin­ue to get bet­ter!

So, if I could turn the clock back to the fall of 2010 this is what I would have done?

  1. Get my men­tal state right. In any sit­u­a­tion where there is a strong emo­tion­al reac­tion, tak­ing a deep breath, exam­in­ing the emo­tions that are hap­pen­ing, acknowl­edg­ing the emo­tions, and eval­u­at­ing if that emo­tion is appro­pri­ate is the first step. It is a fal­la­cy that emo­tions can be ignored or sup­pressed. They can­not. Cer­tain­ly, one can deny you are afraid and act brave­ly, but that denial will only last a short time before it resur­faces. A bet­ter approach is momen­tar­i­ly step out­side your head and exam­ine, acknowl­edge, and eval­u­ate. So, I was appro­pri­ate­ly afraid, but failed to eval­u­ate if my fear was appro­pri­ate or what i should do about it.
  2. Read more about prep­ping in an sub­ur­ban envi­ron­ment: I read so much about bug­ging out, hav­ing a bug out loca­tion, bug out bag, EDC, long-term food stor­age, guns to prod­uct your preps, etc etc that it was real­ly affect­ing my think­ing. It was total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate for my sit­u­a­tion liv­ing in Hous­ton, Texas. No only that, I have nowhere to go should an emer­gency hap­pen that it would be point­less to have maps, three dif­fer­ent routes and ren­dezvous points. It does not hurt me to have that infor­ma­tion for the future when I might have an acre of land out­side Austin or friends in east Texas that would not shoot me when I show up at their rur­al prop­er­ty, but it is still total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate with my state of prepa­ra­tion. If I could have done it dif­fer­ent­ly, I would have thought of my per­son­al strat­e­gy and what I could pos­si­bly accom­plish in a short time peri­od instead of think­ing about that BOL out­side Austin.
  3. Set short, medi­um and long-term goals for prep­ping instead of try­ing to do every­thing at once. If I had been think­ing, I would have used my brains to cre­ate a set of plans for what I want­ed to accom­plish short-term, medi­um-term and long-term. For instance, it would have made more sense to plan for five days of no ser­vices and bug­ging-in to my home than to research how to store wheat for 20 years. It would have made more sense to start stor­ing water and food rather than buy­ing a gen­er­a­tor and a portable AC to keep the house cool if we lost pow­er. Sure, Hous­ton is hot dur­ing the sum­mer, but my wife, dog, cats and I would like­ly not die if we lost pow­er and, there­fore, AC for a week or a month. We would be uncom­fort­able, but not dead.  A gen­er­a­tor and a portable AC are still a good idea for post-hur­ri­cane pow­er options, but should not have been on the list before five days of food and water along with a way to have tem­po­rary shel­ter and the abil­i­ty to make a fire. So, I should have tak­en the time to cre­ate SMART (Spe­cif­ic, Mea­sur­able, Achiev­able, Rel­e­vant, and Time bound) goals and a plan to accom­plish those goals in order of pri­or­i­ty.
  4. Rush­ing prepa­ra­tion: Instead of rush­ing to get preps done (act­ing out of fear), I should have real­ized it is bet­ter to go slow, but steady rather than rush and make mis­takes. The world did not end between Novem­ber of 2010 and March of 2011 and it is unlike­ly to end today. While we all rec­og­nize the need to improve our abil­i­ty to sur­vive an emer­gency, there will always be more to do to pre­pare.  There will always be an unan­tic­i­pat­ed event or a piece of gear you wish you had when the SHTF. I had to get over the anx­i­ety of not being pre­pared if X hap­pened at 2 pm tomor­row. I’ve done this by acknowl­edg­ing the real­i­ty that some­thing might hap­pen that I am total­ly unpre­pared for and I have to deal with it. In that event, I just have to impro­vise and deal with the sit­u­a­tion the best I can with what I have as well as acquire resources to work through what­ev­er comes.
  5. Wife involve­ment: Instead of talk­ing to her about dis­as­ter sce­nar­ios and try­ing to get her afraid like I was, I wished I would have toned it down and involved her more in the process. Since we lived in Hous­ton and expe­ri­enced Kat­ri­na, Rita and Ike, it was an easy vic­to­ry to put preps in terms of hur­ri­cane pre­pared­ness. She sup­port­ed the con­cept and nev­er ques­tioned some of my pan­ic buy­ing. She even sup­port­ed the prepa­ra­tion of a get home bag for her car. While I enjoy her sup­port, it would be eas­i­er if she was more active­ly involved and active­ly prep­ping with me. This is not an irre­versible error, just some­thing I need to work more con­scious­ly on.

So, as I look back I would sum­ma­rize my prep­per mis­takes as:

  • Get­ting my men­tal state and emo­tions under con­trol
  • Read and learn more about prepa­ra­tion for some­one in my indi­vid­ual con­di­tion.
  • Don’t pan­ic buy gear to make up for gaps in prepa­ra­tion, knowl­edge and train­ing
  • Set goals and make achiev­able plans.
  • Don’t rush
  • Get your wife or part­ner involved through talk­ing, dis­cus­sion and slow per­sua­sion.



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