Lately, it feels like everything that CAN go wrong IS going wrong, along with some stuff we never even considered in our wildest prepper dreams. (A Chinese police station in the United States of America, anyone? GMO mosquitos that will vaccinate you against your will?)
More people than in recent memory are living paycheck to paycheck now – at least a whopping 63%. Unfortunately, that means that everyone in that situation is just one missed paycheck from a personal financial disaster from which extricating themselves could be difficult, if not impossible. This kind of financial tension is incredibly stressful. You may have done everything right financially your entire adult life only to be right on the edge of losing it all. It’s a horribly vulnerable feeling. I’ve been there myself and the sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you are barraged with calls from bill collectors and you stare at a bank account that simply will not stretch far enough to cover your basic necessities is like no other.
There’s only one way through a mess like the one we find ourselves in now.
We have to keep going, keep striving, keep trying, and survive. A snippet of the Serenity Prayer comes to mind, and you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the prudence of this philosophy right now…
…accept the things I cannot change…
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time…
Accepting the things we can’t change
We talk about this in the prepper world a lot and it’s rarely been more applicable than it is now. Selco calls it circles of survival and says that the bigger the problem is, the smaller your circle must become. We cannot single-handedly fix the national economy, deter the madness that seems to be wracking the country, or repair the supply chain, just as a few examples of things beyond our control.
Instead, we have to accept that…
- Inflation will continue to skyrocket
- Our normal goods may no longer be available to buy
- We cannot change the minds of people who seem hell-bent on destroying the American culture
- We can’t personally affect whether or not our military gets involved in military actions in other countries
- Our nation’s government is corrupt to the core and intent on taking away personal rights instead of protecting them
And that’s just to name a few of the current stressors.
We can’t change these things. They are well and truly beyond our control. Instead, we need to accept that this is how it is currently and take steps to survive it. If you don’t accept that these things exist as they are right now, you can’t make a viable plan to get through it.
And there’s also great peace in acceptance. You can’t fight what you can’t fight.
Changing the things we can
While those things may be outside of our control, it doesn’t mean we’re powerless. That is the wonderful part – we have many things we can do if we stop worrying so much about what we can’t do. We have to take back our power where we can.
We can learn the skills to produce our own things. By growing food, building things, sewing, and repairing items that are broken, we won’t be as horribly affected by inflation and the disaster of a supply chain.
We can improve our mindset. By focusing more on the things we can do and expressing our gratitude regularly, we can get out of the negative headspace that mires us in discontent and makes us feel hopeless.
We can slash our budgets. We might have to make some pretty radical changes to get through the next few years and that’s okay. While it might feel like we’re sacrificing too much, I’d argue that by making the decision to cut certain things and keep others you are retaining some of your power.
We can overhaul our outlook. By accepting the things we can’t change, we can make real, effective plans to handle the things that are being thrown at us. Every prepper knows that having a plan is the key to survival, and these big-picture environments are no different.
The choice of whether to reside in the negative headspace or the positive headspace is ours. I’m certainly not telling you to bury your head in the sand – we need to keep an eye on what is going on so we can respond to it effectively. But once you’ve formulated your solution, you need to move on to healthier thoughts.
Every day, work toward getting a little more prepared, or a little more skilled, or a little more financially independent. These things – these small steps – are within your grasp.
One day at a time, one moment at a time.
Survival mode can be incredibly draining, and that is the place many Americans are finding themselves. We have to recharge in the best ways that we can.
When times are this difficult, finding joy in small moments is more important than ever. I love going outside in the morning before the sun is all the way up and looking at the radiant golden glow of the autumn leaves in the dim light. I like how the foliage contrasts with the sky. I like to breathe in that crisp fall air and hear our footsteps as the dog and I wade through the pile of leaves to his favorite place for his morning constitutional. It’s such a little moment but I vowed to recognize it every single day because this lovely season is so short.
We can spend our time engaging positively. Again, instead of dwelling on all the awful things, focus on the positive. We can spend time with the people we love, we can engage in productive hobbies that make us feel better, and we can go outside and enjoy nature, free of charge. We can make it a practice to look for moments of peace, happiness, and beauty, even in the worst of times. And then tomorrow, we can do it all over again.
How do you get through difficult times?
While it isn’t the norm for everyone to be struggling at the same time, we’ve all been through personal hard times before. This is part of the human experience.
Do you have any tips for surviving hard times, especially when things seem hopeless? Do you have any concrete steps you are taking to change the things you can? Are there some things you’re learning you have to accept? How are you finding joy in the moment right now?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
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