I've been a prepper for many years, but this is the first real disaster I have experienced. I expected the first time I used my preps in a crisis to be stressful and quite upsetting, but I have to admit. I'm enjoying this.
First, a disclaimer
Now please do not mistake the sentiment of this article, this pandemic is a tragedy, and the economic impact of this lockdown is something that gives me a grave cause for concern.
I am also aware that I am in a position of privilege that many people in the world are not. As a prepper, I have engineered the following conditions in my life:
- I am self-employed
- I work from home by default
- I have always encouraged clients to carry out meetings online
- I primarily choose public sector clients as they are generally more stable
- I have a comfortable home office
- I live in the countryside
- I have always had a well-stocked pantry
- I'm a pretty decent cook
- My wife is one of my best friends
I don't say these things to be smug; I am painfully aware that I am one of the lucky ones, and I do not want this article to suggest that this pandemic is a good thing. Merely that my personal experience in this lockdown (so far) has been a very positive one.
This is close to how life feels it is supposed to be
I woke up this morning at a reasonable hour; I had a shower; I made a coffee - going out to my greenhouse to water my plants while waiting for the kettle to boil. I sat and read for a little while. I then went into the living room and had a relaxing chat with my wife before heading back to my home office to start work.
I am writing this during the second half of my lunch break; I spent the first half making some dough for a loaf of bread; I've not made bread in years. Still, we are starting to run out, and I'd rather not risk a trip to the shops until our stores run a little lower, so I decided to make a loaf of my own.
Suddenly life feels 'right'. It's a hard feeling to explain but growing my own food, baking my own bread and not relying on convenience foods for our daily sustenance has switched something on inside me that feels somehow primal, and I love it.
It first hit me the other week; I went to the supermarket to get some meat as we were running low, the shops were pretty bare, but I was able to get a beef joint and a gammon joint. I also got some hearty vegetables so I could make a stew.
When I got home, it occurred to me that I didn't know when I'd be able to get fresh meat again (or vegetables for that matter). Instead of using the whole joint, I cut my joints up into smaller ones and made my stew. It still tasted great, and now I have the meat for another meal for the next time I get carrots and potatoes in.
I didn't think that this sort of 'hardship' would suit me, I always suspected that if you took away my access to the modern world, I'd be fine, but I never expected to PREFER it.
I am addicted to technology, takeaways and convenience foods. I'm so lazy that I'll buy something I probably already have instead of going into the loft to find it. I thought that taking those things away would be really hard, but now I don't want them back.
It turns out, if I have to wait a week for a delivery, I'll find a way not to need the item I was going to buy. If I can't get a takeaway, I'll cook a fresh meal and make extra for another day, I've even learned to make a decent tasting meal from canned foods. A smaller choice of items in the supermarket takes away my choice paralysis and I just find ways to make do with what is available. It's how things used to be and it feels like it's how they are supposed to be.
I want this to be my 'new normal'. Still, I know that if everything comes back, I'll struggle to not fall back into that cycle of consumption, the modern world is a drug, and I'm finally free from it. I'm pretty sure I'll cook more; I'll be glad to grow my food (we're even getting chickens when all of this is over). I'm also sure that the instant gratification of Amazon Prime's 24-hour delivery service is something I'll learn to use in moderation. I think I'll only manage all of that, however, if this all lasts long enough for it to stop being a novelty and start becoming 'the way things are'.
I've seen countless preppers post things like "I expected to enjoy this but I hate it" and sentiments similar to that, I feel like I am perhaps supposed to feel that way too but I don't. I'm really enjoying this way of living.
All of this leaves me with an unusual feeling. I want this pandemic to be over, I want people to stop dying, and I want to know that myself and my loved ones are safe. Still, I've been watching the world sink into a dark place the last decade or so and I believe that this is our chance to change things.
If this lasts for three months or less, I think that we'll bounce back to how we were before, longer than that and we'll learn to adapt to our new patterns. People will be used to not having to commute to do their jobs, and people will be used to not having instant access to anything that they want. 'Make do and mend' and 'dig for victory' will be phrases that resonate with us all again.
Undoubtedly, some people will go back to the way they were; if enough people learn to embrace this 'new' way of life, we might stand a chance at turning the tide of our future. Instead of the grim, pollution-covered, limited resource future we were heading towards pre-pandemic, perhaps we could instead have a future of self-sufficiency and community where we all band together to create a better world.
Wouldn't that be lovely?