Several years ago my mother and brother got back from grocery shopping. The car was packed full of items to bring in. Back and forth and back and forth they went from the car to the kitchen bringing in all of their goods. When they were all finished, my mother plopped herself on the couch, committed to not move another muscle. In an intentional melodramatic voice she then asked my brother if he would be willing to carry her into her room so she could go to bed. My brother responded, “Ok, Mom. But I’ll have to make two trips.” (Mom suddenly had a burst of energy as she chased my brother around the house in an attempt to give him a good swat.)
Have you ever had one of those moments in which you were so wiped out that you didn’t even want to get up to go to the bathroom?
You know, you’re trying to figure out how someone else can possibly go for you instead of you having to get up enough gumption to go for yourself. I know I have, although I’ve never been successful in getting someone to go to the bathroom for me. :-)
Physical Taxing Activities
Seriously though, we all have “wiped out days” in spite of the many conveniences we presently enjoy. Air conditioning, potable water with the twist of a knob, light with the flip of a switch, the ability to cover 3,000 miles of travel in only a day, a full meal with nothing more than uttering the desire for such or pushing a button, and the ability to take children all over the neighborhood without any other effort other than feeding the car. Even that which we do to earn a living has been made less arduous and less taxing mentally with all of the modern conveniences. And yet we still have days, even weeks and months, that drain us of excitement, energy, and life—all the while we wonder where all of the time, the money, and the energy went.
My point? It’s a concern actually—a concern that most of us are unaware and thus unprepared, of the physical toll which our life requires of us now and surely will in the midst of a crisis. We focus too much on time management instead of physical energy management. One of these we actually have control over; while the boundaries of the other will forever remain unchanged in spite of creative negotiations. If we aren’t aware of physical energy management now, then it will be a very stressful reality check—even life threatening—when we are surrounded by circumstances that require much more of us physically.
The Importance of Physical Preparedness
Think about it. In terms of preparedness, some people have informed me that if there is ever a disaster they will travel to their parents’ house to have access to supplies. Um, if you don’t get much further than the microwave when you’re hungry today, then it’s not likely that you will make it all the way to your parent’s house on foot. And besides, that particular plan could be an impossible one if a serious physical injury develops. Some people “prepare” for an interruption of their water by laying claim to use the lake that’s about a mile away from their house. Again, um…that shortsighted “plan” will require constant walking, lifting, bending, and would be a total waste of your physical energy—and that’s assuming that the water is safe to drink and clear of any other dangers such as those of the two-legged or four legged kind. Just as concerning to me is the person who looks at their back yard and says that their way of preparing for any alternative fuel needs will be accomplished by using the tall trees in back yard. Even with a functioning chain saw, this is an enormous waste of physical energy and it’s a huge gamble as well. The gamble that the trees will still stand, that the weather conditions will be suitable to obtain dry fire wood, and that the trees will be enough fuel regardless the length of the calamity. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that others may become seriously desperate in such a situation and may decide to lay claim to your highly visible trees for their fuel needs.
In all that you do to prepare for tougher times, be sure that you are wise in your plans to exert physical energy. Keep in mind the realistic “what ifs” that can compromise your intended use of physical energy as well. For example, what if there is suddenly a financial collapse and your retirement account is barely suitable to purchase a loaf of bread? What if traveling to and from your job costs more than you could ever possibly bring home in compensation due to skyrocketing fuel costs? What if you can’t trust the water coming from your faucet or local municipality and your only way of obtaining it is through your own preparedness efforts? Ok, now let’s add another layer of complexity to this. What if any of these scenarios occur but you also have the added inconvenience of an illness such as strep throat, mononucleosis, advanced stages of cancer, or a debilitating injury to a vital limb? Now how smart does the idea of “the plan of chopping wood” for fuel sound? I’m thinking that if you have a temperature of 103 and can’t easily get medical care, the decision to plan on chopping wood or hiking two miles to get water will seem quite foolish and shortsighted. Such a decision could actually mean the difference between survival and death.
In spite of the reality of illness and injury affecting our lives everyday, we tend to forget such a possibility in our preparedness efforts as well. For some reason we picture ourselves roughing our way through trials with all of our health about us, sometimes even with superhuman health that has no historical evidence of existing in our lives. In fact, the likelihood that our health will be compromised goes up substantially in the midst of chaos or any type of disaster. So, making decisions now that will purposefully require a great deal of physical energy later is anything but wise. Every decision of preparedness that we make now should be done so with the perspective that the conservation of physical energy is our first priority. So prepare with water on hand that doesn’t require extensive physical energy to use. Have easy recipes of comfort and nutrition to rebuild your physical strength without draining you. Instead of planning on walking everywhere should the need arise, prepare now with a bicycle along with proper repair tools and supplies.
I have always believed that knowledge is useless unless it’s applied to our lives. Applied knowledge then becomes wisdom. Let us not have a false sense of security in simply knowing how to chop wood, make a fire with nothing but stones and a stick or finding water in the middle of the desert. Instead, let us exercise wisdom which dictates that we only have to use such knowledge in the midst of circumstances that may be contrary to what we have prepared.
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My wife and I were discussing something similar recently.
I often misjudge my physical capabilities. In my youth, I was a true athlete (lots of different physically intense activities). I had so much muscle mass, that I was considered obese by the Government of Canada. My body was capable of things that you only see in movies. I never gave it a second thought, it was just the way it was.
Now, with my age putting me just on the other side of my physical prime, combined with ten years of a desk job, my body does not respond like it used to, and it never will again. I am having to start thinking a little more carefully about what my body is capable of; and what the consequences of pushing it too hard are going to be.
As you say, "Every decision of preparedness that we make now should be done so through the perspective that the conservation of physical energy". While I am not in my prime, neither am I decrepit. While I need to think about the efficient ways doing things, I can still do the physical labour required. I need to put the effort in now, while I'm capable, so that things are place for when I need it.
Basically, the young man (that I am) needs to build a good porch on the house, so that the old man (that I will be) can sit on it and admire the field.
Miss Kellene--Great article! My grandma always said "expect the unexpected". And isn't the Boy Scout motto Always Be Prepared. We human animals always get into our "comfort zones" and forget to think "outside of the box". I have always believed in having a plan B. If necessary a plan C and D if needed. Let us not forget to be able to improvise. If you are prepared for emergencies it gives you a lot more wiggle room to improvise a plan B or C or D. Please keep up your good work, you are doing a great job! -- Peg
You are correct in saying that a person's physical health is more likely to fail during stressful times. We live in S. Florida. We been through all the recent hurricanes since 1995. My back went out during Hurricane Jean, my husband and I both had stomach flu during hurricane Wilma, my daughter and I both had viral meningitis during a storm in 1999, and I was 8 1/2 monthes pregnant during a storm in 1995. We are not a sickly family and are actually very lean and fit. Trust me, being sick during a disaster sucks!!! Don't leave anything to chance...PREPARE
I agree 100% with you. I thought of installing a wood stove for an alternate source of heat for a little bit but, then I thought of all the physical labor involved and I figured I couldn't do all that work. So I'm looking at 1 of those zero clearance propane stoves. About the same price for installation and cost, though I think the gas will be a bit more expensive than wood. I know it will be a lot eaisier to have heat at the turn a valve. I think I have been pretty realistic in what I'm capable of physically, and thinking outside the box to solve problems.
As you say this isn't a get and then forget. It's a new way of life. Plus I am having a heck of a lot of fun learning and trying new things.
Spot-on bullseye Kellene! Thank you for this gold nugget of wisdom. It's another criteria by which I will guage all of my preparations. Thank you again!
Thanks Kellene! I used to worry about how to keep my house warm (I hate being cold)and generators and gas and wood and such...then I decided to forgo all that and go with Foam Clothing to keep ME warm instead of trying to heat the whole house or even a room. K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Sister)
Great Marci. But keep in mind that some supplies may need to be kept moderately warm and of course you will still need fuel for light, cooking, and some sanitation purposes. But the warm clothing will cut down on how much fuel you'll need. Great job!
Personal experience is the best teacher. A priority of heat hit my home back in February when we were near empty in our 500 gallon propane tank, and plenty of cold weather ahead. With me on disability, and another cut in my husband's wages, we were uncertain of where we would find the $753.00 to purchase the 'minimum required' 300 gallons of propane for our supply, so we went with an alternative source we have. We turned off the thermostat and sealed all unused rooms in the house, except for bathrooms. We set up a decent electric heater in the central area of our living space and one in the bedroom, both being used only when we were home. The space heaters were more than adequate in heating the areas we needed at 70 degrees F., and turned out to be cheaper to run than the amount of propane it would have taken to heat the whole house. Waste not, want not!
Kellene, you mentioned, "Instead, let us exercise wisdom which dictates that we only have to use such knowledge in the midst of circumstances that may be contrary to what we have prepared." Well, this was one of those times. We have made it into April with 10% of our original remaining propane in our tank (which was 15%) and did not have to pay out the $753.00 yet. The cost of electric only increased our bill by $30.00 per month. For the past few months we saved more than $600.00 in the method we used. We will now be able to purchase a "full" tank of propane at a lower summer cost, instead of at the higher winter prices and only a "partial" fill. We can beat the system sometimes.
We have decided now that we will be implementing this method of heating during all but the hardest of winter months, December through February. Wish we had done this before, since we use to fill our large propane tank more than twice a year. Never again will we waste that money.
I love your articles and insight.
Thanks so much for contributing this personal story for the benefit of all of the other readers, Cin! I personally appreciate it.
I have to agree completly. I guess that you have noticed that I have been absent from any Webinars ets......Well A month ago I took a fall and broke my left lower tib and fib ( 3 breaks)....they put in 20 screws and 1 large plate and one small plate....I am at homw now. However, due to the incisions.....it cannot be casted as of yet....I did have a soft splint ...but they took it off......Now for the sad shape part!!!!! I can hop a few hops to us the potty chair (ugh) However I found out just what terrible shape I was in.....when I started rehab......we ned to do this NOW!!!!!!!!!!As most of you know I have breathing problems.....but now am on oxygen ( already dumping weight) I used this experience to write a blog an what old people need when hurt or sick.....remember when the shtf....you will gather your older family ...as you should! Whilw in the hospital and rehab.....I learned so much.....Will share it ....asap right now an supposed to be in bed with foot up.....I do cheat a little........for those od you that are young.....work on being strong......PLEASE.....this is so very important.....In the mean time.....my best to you all
Dang razr I'm sorry this happen to you. Gosh it's so annoying but, another good test of your prep. I'll keep you in my prayers. Stay positive this isn't a problem only another opportunity to excel. Heck if it was easy anyone could do it.
Jamie, you got that right!....This was a big wake up call and a very good oportunity to learn........I also decided to buy all of the medical equipment I could. I know I or a friend will need this down the road....Now stocking up on all the medical supplies I can get my hands on. I would suggest we all do the same.