I sometimes wonder where, exactly, we fit in the category of self reliance. We don’t seem to fit the neat niches chosen by or imposed on people who live as we do: “prepper,” “survivalist,” “end-timer,” “isolationist.” As I wrote long ago, we didn’t choose this life for any particular idealogical reason, by and large—we didn’t do it for religious or political reasons. We didn’t flee society ahead of a looming disaster. I’ve never seen our lifestyle as preparing for the worst. We are preparing for the best—working toward living the life we want to live, the life that’s best for us.
Which is not to say we don’t fit some, or even many of the qualities in each of these outlooks.
We could be considered “preppers”, because we have to be prepared—all of nature continually prepares. Again, this is Upterrlainarluta: “Always Getting Ready.”. The buds on the trees prepare in the autumn for blooming in spring. Plants put down roots to support their upward and outward expansion. The ermine and snowshoe hare change their coats from brown to white as winter approaches. The squirrels cache their spruce cones and dry their mushrooms. It’s a natural way of life. If we don’t prepare for what’s next, things fall apart. But, that doesn’t mean we are preparing (or, like some, hoping) for the worst. We’re working toward a healthy, happy future.
We do prepare for the worst in certain ways. We maintain our bug out kits, we cache emergency supplies away from the house, we consider emergency escape plans. We live far from help in a volatile environment, so all of this and more is necessary for future safety. But, we don’t dwell on it. We think about what might happen were we cut off from others through a natural disaster, or an economic upheaval. We even contemplate nuclear attack now and then, or other armed attack, just as we think now and then about a cruise ship running aground on our coast, or more likely events, such as earthquakes, volcanic ash fallout, big storms, or a bad encounter with a moose or other forest neighbor (see Charged By a Moose). It never hurts to think on these eventualities, but we don’t dwell on them.
Primarily, we live off the grid because we want to. This is the kind of thing we like to do. We may someday see greater benefits. We educate ourselves and gather resources to allow us to live the best possible life with reduced or elminated outside help. Our lifestyle builds confidence, and skills, it makes subsistence normal. Someday, that might become very important to our survival. Meanwhile, we’re living this life mostly because it’s right for us.
It just so happens that this particular lifestyle appeals to us. If we wanted any other way of life, perhaps in a big city with fancy cars, a luxurious high rise apartment and the like, we’d pursue it. This one suits us, it’s the best for us, and we’re preparing for it. We’re preparing for the best.