LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
By Linda Leonardy
Visiting St. Augustine to see the lights at Holiday time is an age old Florida tradition. It wasn’t that long ago I was sharing the revelry with a group of friends. As we went from one ancient tavern to the next I remember saying a silent prayer of gratitude. Walking ahead were 2 young married couples laughing & singing Christmas Carols. The times were affluent. The hotel we were all staying in was as grand that day as it was when Henry Flagler built it a hundred years prior. The young couples in our party had good jobs, new houses & were talking about planning families. My own young twin sons were graduating from High School in the spring, one son had his sights on West Point & the other was planning on a future in Business Management. I remember as if it were yesterday how proud I felt to be an American. My own ancestors had actually walked those same streets that I was on & been part of the history that had carved out this part of Florida before the American Revolution. How safe and secure it felt to be in my world at that time.
That was thirteen years ago. That was before the events of 911. My sons were lucky. They were able to follow their dreams. But my prayers were entirely different as I sat through my sons graduation from West Point 4 years later knowing he would eventually be heading off to war.
My attitude about being prepared has altered radically in the last several years as well. Of course as a Floridian we always have a supply closet. Over time the cans of Spam have been replaced by more responsible alternatives, but making sure the basics are up to date as well as sufficient has always been a way of life. It is hard to define the moment that you realize things are not the same and they are never going to be again. Political and Economic Greed, Bursting Housing Bubbles, Real Estate Decline, Job Market Evaporation perhaps not affecting everyone, only a few, promises on the evening news that recessions were not depressions it was all only temporary. Maybe that was when I started taking a hard look at the cans of Spam, or perhaps that is when I made a designated trip to Home Depot to take a serious look at learning to grow my own tomatoes. I am not sure.
There is one thing I do believe has changed radically and it effects how we prepare. When research is done on Prepping we all know that we are preparing for a big TSHTF event. I think that has changed. There is always the inevitable possibility of a Cataclysmic Natural Disaster or Alien Invasion from another planet but either of those events could just as likely end life as we know it on our planet as well. What we prepare for is to have the ability to live out our lives & sustain the future of our generations through any unfortunate and unforeseen survivable events. So we read volumes, save voraciously, train ourselves & our families into a sleek well oiled unit and we wait, we watch and we listen. When the lights go out is the grid down? When the flu virus mutates is the Pandemic on the way? When the ATM is out of order are the Banks insolvent? No I do not think so.
What I suggest is there is never going to be a perceivable major event. That would be to defining. We are already there. Like a thief in the night, silently TS has HTF and by the time it has identity it will be too late.
I have never been one to believe that my glass was either half full or half empty, but have always subscribed to the theory that it was simply the wrong size glass. So now it is time to change the glass. If lettuce in the local supermarket having gone somewhere in my lifetime from 79 cents to $2.00 isn’t heralding a global economic collapse I am not sure what will. So now the choices are to pay it, to grow it or do with out. There really is no great food value in lettuce. But then again I have not ever thought of lettuce as an expendable luxury.
I myself of late have been taking an even harder look at my pantry. Once again being semi retired, on a small fixed income I am most certainly going to feel the impact sooner. Sort of like a barometer for the future generations. Aggressively I am trying harder to store what I actually eat and eat what I store, rotate and double up even more when I go to the market. I take a harder look at what really is unnecessary & what can be held longer for the future when it may not even be affordable. I work with increased diligence at a sustainable lifestyle today regardless if it is in my food clothing or recreational choices. These are not grand gestures but they are the ones I still can control. Do I think there will be anarchy, civil unrest, safety issues? Look around you, even today I do not stop to put gas in my car after dark. Do I think if you are young and strong and capable of defense that you should train to be effective? Every great skill requires practice, practice, practice. If protecting your life and family is totally dependant on a bug out plan then I would say look really hard at how you are living now. Put your efforts into getting where you want to end up today even if you have to make sacrifices because tomorrow may be too late.
There is a comfort in thinking you are planning for an unforeseeable future and that you are attempting to cover all the bases. That you will be the leader among the masses in some major event. That the world as a whole will be in upheaval and you were the one that had the forethought to plan. That may still be true. I simply challenge you to not just prepare but to live prepared for I can still hear the echo’s of that laughter and past innocence on the cobblestone streets of Old St Augustine one Christmas Eve only thirteen years ago.