Saturday, March 24, 2012

The End of the World As We Know It ~ TEOTWAWKI

Today’s post is from my wife. Even after 8 years of marriage, I still get amazed at the congruency of some of our thoughts. So, without further ado, I introduce my wife ~ Joetta.

We've all heard about TEOTWAWKI and when someone says it images of a shattered and broken world readily come to mind. You know the kind with mushroom clouds, asteroids barreling down on us unexpectedly and Mad Max. What does it really mean though? It’s true that the way it is most commonly used it is meant to refer to some earth shattering disaster, government takeover, or other unknown impending doom but I think it has a much deeper meaning. A more personal meaning.

What if TEOTWAWKI just means the end of YOUR LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT or MY LIFE as I Know It? Sure if the world is suddenly hit by a huge solar flare that's personal but it's also something we will all share. My thought here is that TEOTWAWKI is much more individualistic than that. It's job loss, an unexpected medical problem, or even a good thing like having a baby or relocating. I believe TEOTWAWKI is about change and boundaries and comfort levels. Usually we think of TEOTWAWKI in a negative way but it doesn't have to be a negative experience. In fact understanding how and why and what your own personal TEOTWAWKI events are likely to be can smooth the transition, minimizing stress and discomfort.

In the current economy any one could lose their job. In fact a local company recently announced they will be laying off 450 people. What would you do if that were your own personal TEOTWAWKI? Most of us I'm sure would file for unemployment and begin looking for another job. Jobs are not plentiful and you are competing with at least your previous co-workers. How certain are you that you can find another one? Will unemployment be enough to cover your expenses in the mean time? If you've prepared for this situation and put money aside and have extra food to help cut your expenses then this will be less stressful. Perhaps this alone could make a difference in getting the next job as you will be more comfortable and confident in your situation.

Perhaps your job is sound and your problem is not economic. Perhaps it is the ending of a relationship. This is certainly the end of life as you know it but can you "Prep" for it? I know a lot of folks will say no but there are many things you can do to prepare for this. First, Keep at least one separate account with funds in it. It doesn't have to be secret just separate and accessible by only you. This will at least give you something to fall back on if you need a place to stay. Second, if you've prepped for other disasters this can help because you will have a 'B.O.B.' ready to go if you need to leave in a hurry. Lastly it's my opinion that when you prep for emergency situations the act of doing so changes something within your mental attitude and you adopt a 'pick yourself up, dust yourself off'' attitude.

I will cover a couple other scenarios briefly. Pregnancy and maternity leave ~ definitely the end of life as you knew it if it’s your first baby. You have nine months usually to prepare for this; Why not put away some extra food and spending money for yourself along with the extra diapers so you can enjoy the time bonding with your family. Not to mention taking a well deserved break when you need it. Relocating ~ definitely a big change. If you are moving to a new area it can be very beneficial to consider "prepping" for it. I suggest this for numerous reasons. There is the physical traveling, the period of packing and unpacking, and acclimating to your new surroundings. Those dehydrated meals usually only require water and one pot/kettle and a measuring cup this makes them convenient for road trips, hotels, and new houses if needed. By having all your immediate necessities in your 'B.O.B.' they will be easily accessible for a road trip and in your new home too!  I don't know how many ads I've seen on craigslist giving away food people don't want to move and I often wonder if they wish they had taken it with them so they could have the luxury of settling in and finding the best grocery for their needs.

Last of all I want to leave you with our own personal TEOTWAWKI experience. I became disabled in 2006 due to a medical condition. This precipitated many changes. Our income changed of course but so did other things. We were living with a family member and had been helping them out very long term. This certainly did not hold true of the relationship once we needed the help. So with limited income and a need to move we evaluated our options and ended life as we knew it. We did this in baby steps accommodating the needs of our oldest child. We were limited in a severe way monetarily but got her through high school and into college while living in rentals that left no budget and had no space. Finally accomplishing this it was time to accommodate not only our budget but our desire to have space and reconnect with nature in some way so we moved. It was TEOTWAWKI.

We moved from the big city to a tiny, tiny town. We rented small 1967 mobile home just off the highway in a town of 100 people. We had one neighbor with a cow pasture on the other side. Loved the cows, hated the mobile home. Loved the garden, hated the school bus ride for our youngest. We went from one extreme to the other. In September we purchased our first and only home in the slightly larger town just down the highway. Today our world is nothing like it was. Lattes don't exist here, the closest grocery store is 40+ miles round trip and so is the doctor. There is no mall, movie theater, or even a Walmart. Money is still tight and life is rough, especially in the winter, and our oldest child lives very far away.

Ah but my point is that TEOTWAWKI can be good so you might be saying I just don't get it. Consider for a moment what we got in this ending and starting over. We got a decent fixer upper house on half an acre that we are buying for about 1/3 the cost of rent. We are both home full time. I don't worry about my 'bad days' so much. Our youngest child has school close by, friends, parks, library, and a relatively safe neighborhood to live in. A bonus for her is that her friends have horses. We can walk anywhere we need to go. There is a thrift store, arcade, a couple restaurants, and all kinds of small town events. We have neighbors we know by name that share similar interests. Folks are more willing to bargain or trade. Right now we are working on tree removal. A neighbor is willing to do it in exchange for the wood. It helps us both, we need the trees taken care of and they need the wood. We buy locally raised and butchered beef at the local meat shop/convenience store at fair prices because no transportation was involved. We watch the seasons change, garden, blog, and prepare for emergencies. TEOTWAWKI can be very good indeed.

Noel here ~ self sufficiency, in any and all of its forms, is very important. As always, you can join my Facebook group, Kaya Self Sufficiency, for more ideas and to share your own ideas. Also, you can find many different books on the subject at my website, also named Kaya Self Sufficiency.


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