June 12, 2023

Are you ready if SHTF?

This week I went on a retreat that taught some skills of self-reliance.  It included basket weaving, making toiletries from nature, archery and making fire by friction.  These skills might seem a strange thing for a woman in her sixties to be learning in this day and age, but with everything that is happening in the world, I want to be sure that if we lose our infrastructure and all the things that we take for granted, that I will survive and thrive.  I have liked to be one step ahead all of my life.  I plan for the worst and hope for the best.

As a single parent I never wanted to be reliant on anyone, and that included the state, the father of the children, my family, a new man in my life, a church, or even friends.  I had got myself into that position and so I took responsibility to get myself out of it.  This meant I had to go back to education and learn new skills in order to provide a decent life for my children.

What I am doing now is basically a continuation of that. Being self-reliant provides me with freedom as I am not beholden to anyone, and do not have to compromise my wishes for anyone, unless I choose to do so. I could have claimed benefits over the last 8 years but then I would have had to jump through the hoops of applying for jobs that I did not want, interviews, going to the job centre, going on courses, or trying to convince someone that working in the rat race makes me ill. Instead, I depended on myself and my improving knowledge and skills. I made the decision to retire and so I am responsible for providing for myself.

Being self-reliant has helped me in so many ways. I have learned to make decisions, problem solve, and survive and thrive without help.  I feel happy in my own skin and in my own company.  I am not waiting for someone to save me or help me when it is convenient for them, or in return for something that I do not want to give. I am not dependant on any one, though I have learned as I have got older that it is good to share knowledge and skills with people for mutual benefit, and that there is nothing wrong with asking for some help.  I was stubborn when I was younger and was too proud to ask, which was often to my own detriment.

Self-reliance has increased my confidence.  I take responsibility for my own physical and mental health, my own knowledge, my own problems, my own financial situation.  Material things are not important to me in the way that they once were.  When I was away on the retreat, I had one small bag of belongings and I missed nothing, and was happy.  Getting back to basic living is so liberating.

Self-reliance has become my mindset and also my life style, and goes hand in hand with my simple, frugal life. My skills are improving. I grow a lot of my own food, I have my own income which does not depend on work, I make my own cleaning products, and eat medicinal plants rather than visit a doctor or pharmacy. I am also learning to forage, learning to make fire using friction, I know how to build shelter, I know how to set traps, navigate using the sun or the stars, I know which plants I can use instead of soap, I know how to purify water, preserve food, and cook from scratch.   I know how to save seeds, weave baskets, how to track, and how to build simple structures from wood or stone.  There are still many more skills that I want to learn, and I will keep on studying and trying to incorporate them into my life.  I do this for fun, to be closer to nature, to challenge myself, but also so that I have skills for just in case we have a power cut, we are lost in the wilds of Scotland, or in case our cosy lives change.

It has become more important to me to learn how to become more self-reliant due to events over the last 3 years, and what I fear may be coming in the future.  Many ordinary families in war torn countries are having to use these skills at this very moment. One day I might have to be able to depend totally on my knowledge and skills for my basic needs, and I want to be ready to help my family if that happens. Thinking independently and not following the narrative of the main stream media is important at this time.  There is more going on than many are aware of.  I want to listen to my instincts and believe in myself rather than listening to that inner critic, or other people’s opinions.  I want to grow and stretch and challenge my abilities in order to become my best self.  If anything is coming down the road, I am ready.  If it is not, I will breathe a sigh of relief and have skills that I am proud of, and that I can teach my grandson.  Would you be able to be self-reliant if SHTF?

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  1. Ulvmor June 13, 2023 at 5:19 am - Reply

    It always makes me confused when adults tell thay are learning to forage or grow their own vegetables – and then I remember I do live a different life in a different world. I’ve lived all my life in countryside, and I got my first mushroom knife for my 6th birthday present from my grandparents and they lived in a town! Ever since that day I’ve foraged mushrooms for my whole family – nobody ever questioned whether I foraged edible ones, of course I did!
    My childhood summers were spent foraging and harvesting, as a child I didn’t know you can buy potatoes! Even my town-based grandparents grew their own potatoes, onions, carrots, dill, cucumbers and berries and apples…
    I admit, I don’t know how to hunt, not with bow nor with traps – I do not hunt and will not hunt. I know how to fish, on the other hand. Here where I live fishing is a realistic way to get animal based proteins in the wild. Here in the north there is no abundace of game. (but I do know how to process a dead animal into something you could eat; and I know how to shoot, but it is a different story)
    I’m quite confident I would survive in the wild, but at the same time I’m quite confident my children will wouldn’t. They are, however, suprisingly fast learners. They all know how to heat the house with fireplaces, they know how to produce wood for burners (but don’t like the effort) and so on. Maybe I should have more confidence in their abilities?
    But <i'm also first to admit I'm waaaaay to lazy to try to live solely on my own resources. I like my job, which is basically made just for me (to be honest even my boss isn't sure what I do but she's been very happy with results so far!) and it gives me enough money to support me and my family. And in that way it gives me freedom.
    But I DO admire people, who KNOW what they want and make an effort to achieve it!
    Last few years have truly made clear that "we" (the royal we) have to be ready for everything. So I'm prepared, at least we can live through nex winter with resources we have now, and in autunm we will have even more resources – I tend to harvest more than is needed for the next year, I'm aiming to harvest for at least for 18 months ahead. And ask teenagers do they think if we have enough firewood ;-)
    I've just recently found your blog, but found it very interesting.

    • ToniG June 13, 2023 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you have learned some really useful skills during your childhood. I used to love my job too, but unfortunately it burned me out and so I am having to develop new skills to survive on a small work pension. The challenge is fun, though, and I am learning lots of useful skills. I am so pleased that you love your job and it sounds like your life still involves growing your own food, which is such a useful skill to have. Thanks for commenting and I hope that you will visit again x

  2. Katie Naden June 27, 2023 at 6:36 am - Reply

    You have given me food for thought Toni . I have many books one of which is Seasonal Living by Antonia Beattie you have reminded me to get back to basics . Thank you for sharing you are such a genuine inspiring person .

    • ToniG June 27, 2023 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Aww thanks. That sounds like a good book x

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