Prepping With A Reluctant Partner

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 - 1:47pm

The third contribution in our new Resilience Spotlight series, featuring stories from Peak Prosperity readers, comes from macro2682. It centers on the challenge of prepping when your partner does not share the same urgency/outlook as you.

I graduated in 2004 with an engineering degree from a great school, but was lured into finance by a fascination with economics and a strong desire to be "rich."

Rich people have the flexibility to pursue their dreams and ideas.  They have control over their time and can spend more of it with their kids, which they will certainly have because rich people don't have any problems attracting women.  

I settled bonds for a few years to earn my stripes, then got into institutional sales working for a $100B investment firm.  I put in 80hr weeks, and never said no to 'one more drink' when good networking came up. 

In 2008/9 my boss and co-worker were fired and I was given the reins.  A few years of continued effort and I had everything I wanted. 

I had been a closeted Malthusian since college, but the crash course helped solidify my perspective.  I've been going to industry conferences for the last decade, carefully talking about my concerns when the cocktails come out.  The industry is NOT unaware.  

I would always stop short of talking about owning actual gold (which I did).  Owning gold is disrespectful to the industry and is grounds for shunning.  It's like an Abercrombie employee coming to work wearing a turtleneck.  Not cool bro. 

I'm a social butterfly; I met my wife in a bar in my late 20s.  She was my polar opposite, shy and attractive. 

She hates being on time to things because she doesn't want to be early, standing there alone "looking stupid."  She is crippled by anxiety.  Learning that I owned some gold (and why) made her almost sick to her stomach it seemed.  I own less than 10oz, but am not allowed to buy more.  She has no financial background, and no knowledge (or interest) in learning about my concerns.  She doesn't want to be different, she doesn't want people to think we are weird, and SHE doesn't want to think people WOULD think we are weird (that wasn't an error). 

So I prepare in secret, and to a significantly lesser extent than I would like.  

I own a very small amount of gold and silver (5% of net worth).  I have other protective exposures in my brokerage accounts (mining, bitcoin, and some others, along with more traditional allocations in case we get an equity blowoff). 

I have a giant mortgage on a property that is doomed.  It's currently worth 20% more than I paid, but that will change when Chicago finally runs out of money (credit).  I save a high percentage of my income which is very good. I make enough to live downtown comfortably with my wife at home (we have a toddler and another one due any minute).

My prepping has to always be camouflaged from my wife by everyday motives:  

I want to buy a vacation house in MI, but what I really want it as a place to take my family when things go south.  

I bought two way radios for a ski trip, but I keep them with extra batteries in a shoebox made into a faraday cage. 

I have about a month's worth of bottled water, but I tell my wife that I just prefer to buy in bulk.  

Every time I need to fix something, I buy the right tools and fix it myself (I just fixed a Mophie phone charger with a soldering iron).  I have a storage until it full of tools. 

I have 3 different methods to heat my house (gas fireplace, electric heaters, and gas forced air heat pump).  

I have a car that I keep topped off with enough gas to get to my in-laws.  

I have a separate brokerage account that I use to buy levered hedges for the standard-looking portfolios we keep elsewhere.  I already talked about the gold/silver (I use goldmoney.com for half of this exposure as well). 

Deep down my wife knows what I'm doing (although she'd better not find that shoebox).  I do think it makes her uncomfortable and resentful, but I don't think she can complain.  She has a husband who loves her, helps with the kid(s), cleans, makes good money, and let's her spend it on whatever she wants. 

And most of all, she has a husband who is willing to live with profound discomfort, avoiding the life changes he knows are necessary to protect his family, in order for his wife to avoid some social anxiety.

I'm 35.  On track to retire at 45 if things hold together.  But if/when it doesn't, I'll be slightly better off than average.  Maybe if things start getting noticeably worse, my wife will come around and let me do what I need to do.  But I'm not holding my breath. 

Life will be hard for us if we don't prepare more.  But I couldn't survive at all without my wife, so I'm sorta stuck...

To share your own story, email us at [email protected]

81 Comments

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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The reluctant partner

The reluctant partner comes in many forms.  There's the sort-of-reluctant partner that mainly keeps quiet but does not support .  

Then there's the actively resisting partner that scowls and questions and puts up road blocks ("no, you can't spend money on that.")

There's also the hostile partner that is actively against prepping and may even leave you if you persist, so you have to hide everything.

The reasons for such behaviors are many, but the tactics and strategies for dealing with them are the same; compassion, understanding and not approaching from a position of emotional agitation (whatever that emotion may be).

This is a topic we cover pretty extensively at Rowe.  So please come if this is a particular issue for you in your life.

If I had to say, probably one of the largest and most important functions of Rowe is aligning couples who don't see eye to eye...and it's *not* a process of getting them to see things your way...it's a meeting in the middle.

We've helped, if not saved more than one struggling relationship!  :)

thatchmo's picture
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Thanks for sharing, macro.

Thanks for sharing, macro.  First off, I'm blessed to have a partner who totally shares my concerns, and we are moderately well prepped.  I'm very fortunate for that (Love you, Honey!)  Your story caused me to think of a couple things.  First, sand_puppy just posted a story of how many of his co-workers came out of the "prepper closet".  Powerful story.  The other thing was the article in The Atlantic, I think, last month of the very rich guys prepping with their bug-out homes and bunkers and Gulfstreams.  Pretty mainstream coverage there.  With time, and possible input from friends and acquaintances,perhaps your wife will be exposed to the idea that being prepared is just a good idea and, in these times, perhaps a parent's primary responsibility.  A hearty congrats on the stealth prepping you've been able to accomplish so far!  Good luck, you're doing the right thing and your wife and kids will thank you for it in the future.  Aloha, Steve.

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"Tribulation" by Thomas Lewis

I enjoyed the book "Tribulation" by Thomas A. Lewis.  In the novel, the protagonist's wife is NOT on board with all of the preparations, especially the 300-acre escape farm and the "tribe" of like minded people who decide to prep together.  In the end, he has to....  Oh - you gotta read the book!

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
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The time will come

In an old romantic novel that takes place during the French Revolution, the main characters are husband and wife leading two different lives. The Scarlet Pimpernel outwardly is a wealthy social fop. His wife suspected but never appreciated his 'hidden' life until she secretly follows him into France on a daring rescue mission. It ends well.

The tensions of a marriage can usually be resolved as the passage of time reveals the deeper integrity of love and protection that are the foundation of a family. Keeping a marriage alive and well is a lifelong work of art. Gentle but persistent preparation for unexpected hardship is at its root not a fetish, but love in the face of a headwind. Being prepared is not store bought but made by hand. Being prepared for when the pain of insecurity actually erupts in society is a priceless treasure you are creating day by day. I'm betting that Noah felt tensions with family until the deluge began. Thanks for sharing your experiences that resonate so deeply in many of our lives.

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Thanks for posting...

Thanks for posting!  

I agree with Thatchmo that prepping is becoming a little more mainstream now as things continue to unravel and people like Chris continue to spread information.  That billionaire bunker show was great.

But shifting baselines will guarantee that people like my wife will never change their mind.  

It's like when Marty McFly went back in time and told Doc about the 80's.  Best line in the movie: "Ronald Regan... the actor?!"  People that are living through history are incapable of seeing its lunacy.  They're too close to the screen, and context has a short half life. 

Imagine if you went back in time to 2011, and told yourself that the US would lose its AAA credit rating, elect Donald Trump as president, and formally accuse Russia of successfully meddling.  Your old self would probably move to Canada faster than you could say "Justin Beiber."

But here we all are (the proverbial "we"), accepting the world in which we live, and mocking those increasing numbers of people that are preparing for the calamity that seems so obvious. 

I think about 50% of Americans think like we do, 10% take action openly, 10% take action quietly, and 30% are like my wife.

my wife probably won't just come-around when things really get bad.  She will probably grow to be depressed/despondent. That's actually something I've added to my list of things to prepare for. 

 

 

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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An alternate point of view?

I often remind my wife that the reason God created man first was that he didn't need a second opinion on his handiwork; however, he knew man would. My experience suggests that a dialog in any relationship is essential for synergy to become a reality. If you think YOU have all the bases covered, you probably don't.Gender differences need to be recognized and allowed for to achieve optimum outcomes. Intransigence comes at a cost that will be borne by both parties. Accommodation can alleviate some of acrimony, but nobody said it would be a walk in the park/garden. 

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AaronMcKeon
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A Podcast Just for This

I recently listened to a podcast by Jack Spirko at the Survival Podcast recorded specifically for reluctant partners, family, and friends.  It's very much worth listening to even if you don't end up sharing it, but he recorded it with the express purpose of it being shared directly to people like this.  I would encourage you to have a listen.

Full Version (for you)

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/getting-family-on-board-with-prepping

Trimmed Version (just for the recipient)

http://www.survivalpodcast.net/audio/2016/12-16/1914/case-for-prepping.mp3

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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UncleTommy

I scored in the low 500s on my SAT verbal, so I had to dust off the digital dictionary for that one ;-)

I really don't think gender has a whole lot to do with this.  Perhaps this type of social anxiety is slightly more common in women, but the delusional forces behind people's path to acceptance is gender neutral...

But while we are sharing fun quotes, I'll reference Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good as it Gets" when describing women: "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability".  Classic.  False;... but classic. 

 

 

dcm's picture
dcm
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things are changing

things are definitely changing

I remember when I first started thinking about peak resource and finding great sites like this. Being an ex prosecutor and still working in criminal law, I also started seeing a growing, institutionalized corruption. Ten years ago, you would say something and people would give you the eye, point to some street corner or website and say maybe you'd be more comfortable preaching to them.

These days, it's almost a challenge. I can say the most outrageous thing about corruption, the economy, the state of the planet, Monsanto. or our government and they now say - yeah but what can you do?

Despite everything the pretty folks on TV say,  it's almost an animal instinct, and people are smelling the fear  

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Not good

Adam,   Do you really believe you are not doing the things you should be doing because of your wife's social anxiety?  Being a stumbling block would be understandable if she just plain disagreed with you, but she is creating obstacles because preparing might make her look 'all weird?'  

The real issue here isn't even about preparing it is about having a histrionic reaction to the very idea of losing social ground. You need to get that sorted out.  Whew. Hard for you. 

 

 

 

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Agitating Prop

Its not about social ground. She's not a socialite (quite the opposite) 

I described her social anxiety to explain what I believe is an issue related to her discomfort about having a husband who wants to store food.

I probably misrepresented her a bit. She isn't off wasting money on shoes.  She is actually relatively practical in the traditional sense.  But not a peak prosperity sense. 

 

 

 

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Okay, I am confused. I

Okay, I am confused. I thought Adam posted this. Sorry. Secondly, I was born with an anxiety disorder. Was hospitalized with it as a teen, so I understand anxiety, shyness, etc...very well. 

Perhaps the term 'social ground' was the wrong term. I am using it very broadly.  There is nothing in your post that indicates your wife is a shopaholic socialite and I am sorry if I inadvertently insulted you. 

People who are socially anxious, like I was when I was younger are generally afraid of losing social ground, as in ...looking stupid, not good enough, creepy weird. An over the top, or histrionic reaction to social embarrassment needs to be addressed, usually through counselling as it isn't conducive to happiness. It seemed to me to be the primary problem.

 

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Social anxiety...

Perhaps I'm overstating this social anxiety thing.  In my medical opinion (as a salesman), she doesn't have a disorder that is crippling, although it probably does affect her overall happiness.  The issues we deal with are pretty standard I think. She doesn't want to invite friends over unless the house is spotless because it reflects on her as a homemaker. She doesn't want people to think we are different or weird.  She even makes me call to order the pizza because she prefers not to talk to someone on the phone if she doesn't have to.  She's not incapable (she worked in marketing for 10 years).  I think she is a little more socially conscious than most, but not far outside of the bands of normal.

I do think it's something she can work on to be happier.  But with two kids under 3, 'ain't nobody got time for that shit.' (Having fun with the quotes).  

I should also say that social anxiety isn't the ONLY reason she thinks prepping is stupid.  She genuinely thinks I'm overly pessimistic.  From her perspective, the world keeps turning, people go to work, have kids, and live their lives regardless of geopolitics, or the stock market.  Maybe this is a failure of imagination that the generations alive today currently suffer from (what could happen?), or maybe it's a lack of historical empathy (the inability to imagine yourself in the shoes of a late 18th century citizen in Paris.

Anyway, not looking to extend my spotlight here.  Just wanted to explain.  

Having a partner who disagrees is common.  And how I chose to deal with it isn't necessarily right.  I would be interested in hearing what others have done to prep without permission. 

I suppose it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission ;-)

 

 

JeffB46113's picture
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Social Anxiety

I understand this too from a different perspective. I was raised in a small community. Then I graduated mid-term Senior year, went to Boot Camp MCRD San Diego. Came home in time to graduate with my class.

Then uncle Sam ships me off to be a "UN Peacekeeper" in Beirut, Lebanon. Things were completely the opposite of what I experienced growing up. Anxiety set in and has never left.

Here I set this morning 50+, been working full-time since I was 15. I do not have two nickles to rub together. Was framing for a Contractor in 2009 near Fishers,IN. Building a house for one of the Colts Players. (What single guy really needs an 18,000 sq ft house on the water??)

I am a 4x Combat Vet USMC, serious back injuries that VA will not address. Give me more Oxies and send in the next stooge.

My worst anxiety centers around my PTSD. I was a Recon Marine. I am not proud of things I have done or the puppeteers that pulled my strings. We the People, must speak up now or everything is lost.

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Coming to Rowe...

Chris,  I would love to come to Rowe... but if I can't convince my wife that buying a little more gold is necessary, there is no way I'm going to convince her to fly to MA for some conference she thinks is bologna.  I probably couldn't even talk her into letting me fly out by myself (leaving her with two kids to deal with while I'm sitting around a campfire with my crazy prepper friends). 

Let me know if you ever wind up in Chicago for a talk. 

 

jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
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Over Time

Before the economic crisis and before I discovered Peak Prosperity my wife almost ended a friendship with a couple who were among our best friends because the husband was into prepping, including being armed. A particularly awful argument during a dinner ended with my wife's accusation of "Well, when the world ends, and I come up your driveway with our children looking for food are you going to shoot us in cold blood?"

Needless to say, when I began to see the importance of being prepared I had to take small steps.  Initially, I began by making sure we had days, then increased to weeks, supplies of the food, water, medicines and things we used every day.  Then I moved into trying to learn skills that would be important.  Eventually my wife caught on to what I was doing and we had to have the "discussion".  She finally accepted that this was important to me and therefore she would grudgingly let me continue.  Reluctant allowance eventually grew to acceptance, the highlight of which was allowing me to purchase a property, which we use as a summer retreat, but which also has the capability of being a secure "bug out" location.  Since that purchase she has agreed to a number of projects to make the place more secure, sustainable and livable, even if the grid collapses.

The discussions to get to this point were not always easy.  We are not wealthy so the aspect of having to choose between "normal life" projects and prepping projects is always present. Our trust of each other, grown over a thirty year relationship, was the cementing bond which made this work.  She had to trust when I said "this is important, we need to do it" and I had to trust when she would say "this is enough for now, we have to focus on something else for the moment."

We have come a long way.  I still have projects in mind that she thinks are too far "out there."  But on the other hand, when I began talking about trying to get a concealed carry permit (very difficult in our jurisdiction) she not only agreed but has been poking at me to begin the process.

I understand your position Macro. I am very uncomfortable speaking about other folks relationships but I will venture onto thin ice here. Continue the preps in a way that does not upset your wife.  Many things we can do are actually prudent planning for the future, collapse or not.  The only advice I would venture to give, is to love your wife, support her, and your children. Let her see that you are there to encourage her, protect her, console her in her fears. Continue to give her reasons to understand that she can trust you and depend on you.  From that trust many doors can open.

JT

dcm's picture
dcm
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Jeff

Thank you for sharing that. The best thing we can do to counter the petrodollar propaganda is to hear from brave and ethical people like you. Thank you for fighting the real battle and helping us to see the truth.  

ecb's picture
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prepping anyway

Wow. This discussion hits home. I feel like I've been swimming against the tide for quite a while. I am 71, and live up north in Vermont. I was part of the "back to the earth" group in the late 60's and so got a great headstart on selfsufficiency with the emphasis on SELF, as the only source of support for us hippies was the Whole Earth Catalog, progenitor of the internet. Fresh out of college, all I knew was how to learn and thankfully, there were still enough of the old time yankee farmers around, so I laid myself at their feet to learn a new way of life, one that I'd never been exposed to. I will say that some of them were highly amused, but patiently withstood my questions and became fast friends. We rallied, built a house and out buildings and grew most of our food, raised chickens, turkeys and pigs and hunted deer. We heated with wood and had very few expenses. Local friends taught us how to slaughter and butcher the meat and how to can and preserve the vegetables. It was a very satisfying way of life and a good introduction to a way of living that I knew nothing about. Children on the way made us realize that we actually had to earn some money, so I got a construction job pounding nails. I followed a long held desire and went to blacksmithing school in Santa Fe, learned welding at a community college. Working from my home, I considered myself pretty self sufficient. The only problem was not knowing what I didn't know. I had no savings and had to start out again after a divorce. Thankfully, my first two children were well on their way having benefitted from a close family lifestyle with both parents present. Though I had practical and intellectual capital and 30 years experience, I knew nothing about saving money and how to prepare for older age (not retirement) or deal with an aging body that wouldn't do what my mind wanted, so I went on a self driven crash course and eventually found this site which suits my needs well. But to come back to the present discussion, I find that almost no one wants to face the reality of coming hard times. If ignorance is bliss, there are alot of blissful people out there. I've become a silent and stalwart prepper. My wife doesn't understand the real reasons for my preparations, but actually recently thanked me for what I've done as she can see value in it. I'm stacking all the PMs  I can get my hands on, as it gives me comfort and I've been working on the deep pantry concept for a while. I have few people to compare notes with and come to this site often as it fulfills that need and keeps me on track. Thank you Chris and Adam, what you've built here is a great community service, perhaps greater than you know.

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
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Quote: Many things we can do
Quote:

 Many things we can do are actually prudent planning for the future, collapse or not.  

Yes. YES.

There will always be ups and downs even when things are "normal".

Ancient wisdom tells us to use the good times to prepare for the lean times.

Keep at it, one project or purchase at a time, and your progress will add up.

 

 

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This sounds difficult...

It sounds like there is something very wrong and very serious going on here between you and your wife. While you may want your wife to prepare for her next life, she is extremely uncomfortable and barely able to manage her current one. Social anxiety may not be the cause, but it is definitely a symptom of a bigger problem. I would suggest re-framing this problem in your mind away from "spouse disagrees with prepping" and now consider these issues to be fundamental problems in your marriage which need to be addressed immediately. It sounds as if your wife is embarrassed by you and does not want you to be who you really are. Why? If this situation persists, the resentment will continue to grow and you will both be very unhappy people in a lonely, painful relationship. Here are a couple of jumping off points to try to find the root source of the problems.

First, can you rule out medical issues? Is her anxiety worsening or changing over time? Postpartum? Even a simple thing like iron deficiency could possibly cause what you have described.

You may also want to look at psychological conditions. If she suffers from anxiety to the degree she is distressed over calling for pizza and needs you to do it for her, this is a severe and crippling problem - one that you may unknowingly be enabling. For the sake of your kids, you really should seek an opinion from a professional, and you do have sufficient grounds to do so.  This is not normal.  It is serious enough that you are beyond the point of a DIY diagnosis for her anxiety.

If you can get to the point to rule these out then I would ask: How compatible are both of you? Remember, a marriage is two distinctly different types of relationships confusingly combined into one: sex/kids/family provider duties/romantic love is one type of relationship and the other type is more person to person/openly expressive and communicative/trusting/comfortable being vulnerable/ie the kind of close relationship you have with others that you do not have sex with (siblings/really close friends). This second type also largely incorporates respect and admiration for the other person. How much do you actually like each other? With no distraction of family, flirting, or physical contact, do you enjoy being alone together?

I sincerely wish you the best.

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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Macro, It's interesting.

Macro,

It's interesting. Anxiety manifests in different ways. Your wife, being sensitive to social cues, and a small rather than big picture person, (I am guessing) will be more attuned to your level of obsession and how far outside of the mainstream this might place you -- for practical reasons -- possibly job related. And that IS a realistic worry that you both have to navigate.

Many members, on a Peak Oil forum I was a part of, between 2003 to 2007 prepared for a disaster that didn't happen. (Not to say it won't ever be a problem -- but that's another topic.) It became a religion, based around what were originally justifiable feelings of anxiety.

'True believers,' also rooted in anxiety, can be just as resistant to reason as someone who appears to be living in a bubble of conformity, rooted in day to day anxieties. I am not describing you here, just what I have witnessed, elsewhere.

It is wise to prepare for any number of chaotic or collapse scenarios, in a reasonable manner. You just have to work out what is reasonable with your partner.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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I think Adam hit a button!

Hey Macro and Paula: if either of you don't think gender plays a significant role in a man/woman relationship then you either haven't been married long or in a relationship of extended duration. Paula's response is indicative of exactly what I alluded to. IMHO, women think in broad terms(no pun intended) and immediate concerns weighing each by its potential outcome. Men seem to think narrowly and deep to the exclusion of everything around them. I'm sure if men raised children the infant mortality rate would preclude a continuation of the species. For a fun aphorism, "women use both sides of their brains and men only half their brain". This seems to be born out by research.

If one chooses to ignore input from a member of the team, will there be a chance of consensus? Relationships are extremely important to women where there is one(70+% of divorces are filed by women). To ignore the female perspective is asking for dissension. You don't have to like it, but not to consider it is doing you and your spouse a disservice. Prep if you must, but try and do it together. (Sorry, Macro, I majored in linguistics).

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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JeffB46113 wrote:I understand
JeffB46113 wrote:

I understand this too from a different perspective. I was raised in a small community. Then I graduated mid-term Senior year, went to Boot Camp MCRD San Diego. Came home in time to graduate with my class. Then uncle Sam ships me off to be a "UN Peacekeeper" in Beirut, Lebanon. Things were completely the opposite of what I experienced growing up. Anxiety set in and has never left. Here I set this morning 50+, been working full-time since I was 15. I do not have two nickles to rub together. Was framing for a Contractor in 2009 near Fishers,IN. Building a house for one of the Colts Players. (What single guy really needs an 18,000 sq ft house on the water??) I am a 4x Combat Vet USMC, serious back injuries that VA will not address. Give me more Oxies and send in the next stooge. My worst anxiety centers around my PTSD. I was a Recon Marine. I am not proud of things I have done or the puppeteers that pulled my strings. We the People, must speak up now or everything is lost.

Really sad. You have worked hard, thought you were serving your country and this is your reward. As nasty as this anxiety can be, do you think it performs any positive function? Does it encourage you to prepare somehow for the future? Will you be better equipped if the world devolves into chaos, or will you be paralyzed with fear?

Best regards -- stay as positive as you can.

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
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My own partner story

My late husband and I started preparing for disaster before 2000. We were both concerned about a banking collapse, peak oil, insidious rise of fascism, and 911 being an inside job -- by 2002 -- so we moved to Canada, to a remote small community, where we felt safe and we could live cheaply. That was our preparation. 

We spent many years discussing 911, were on the same page there, so that was all good, for a time. We managed financially and even prospered after he retired at 45. 

By 2007 I felt  that we had done our preparations and could relax. My husband, for a number of reasons, remained truly fixated. He was excessively ruminating. I think he was wired to hyper focus, so not his fault. It was still very hard on our relationship and I think hard on his health. 

We were living in a remote area and I felt housebound with someone whose interests had become obsessions and then almost fanatical devotions. Things improved finally, but there were many years where it was just very difficult. 

So, it might be the excessive rumination that can accompany prepping that some partners fear, for the sake of the relationship. If you are with a 'fixater' there isn't much mental or emotional space left for the two of you. 

 

 

macro2682's picture
macro2682
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Feedback

Paula, and others, thank you!  This is thought provoking.  And Paula, you ask some very big questions that I'm not really prepared to answer (or even think about).

I will say this... My wife and I met at a bar, not an algorithmic matching service that ensures compatibility.  I've been married for 7 years, but marriage isn't what permanently connects you to someone, kids are.  I will stay with my wife forever if she allows it, that was my promise to her.  And the best thing I can do for my kids is love their mother (which I do). 

I do enable her a bit.  She decided to marry an outgoing guy for a reason.  

Do I fixate, with the male tunnel-vision that Prop describes? Yes. But that mentality is what has allowed me to achieve the success I've enjoyed thus far.  If there's one thing I want to teach my children, it's the power to focus on the things you're good at and the things/people that matter. 

Am I irrational with my prepping?  No.  My main rule for "prepping" (as it's been negatively labeled) is that my actions need to be worthwhile regardless of whether I'm right about the future.  If my wife allowed me to do whatever I wanted, I would:

1.) Build a home that's efficient with at least the capability of being partially off grid.  If energy winds up being abundant forever, that won't make the home's value fall.  And teaching kids about living sustainably is a positive.

2.) Be diversified and liquid relative to my peer group. 

3.) Aquaponics... I'm just plain fascinated with it as a project.  It almost certainly would never feed my family, but it would be another great thing to do with my kids. 

Prepping for me is a combination of productive hobbies and common sense.  

I'm very careful about the "rabbit hole" crowd that get sucked into suggestive stories that generate a culty/religious tone.  This is one of the things that attracted me to this site.  Chris is scientific and reasonable.  I'm an engineer, and have no room for bullshit.

Do I have questions about 9/11? Yes.  But that's all they are, questions.  More importantly, it's the kind of subject that does me no good to bother thinking (let alone talking) about.  I'd much rather watch documentaries about the history of ancient Egypt as a harmless hobby, than watch documentaries about 9/11 with some intense looking old guy staged in a dark corner smoking a cigarette as he rants.  That stuff takes honest questions, and soils them with fraudulent intensity.

What matters to me is the sustainability of my standard of living and hedges that can put a floor under it without costing me too much. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncle tommy

Sorry, it was uncletommy who was talking about male tunnel vision, not Prop. 

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Movie "Take Shelter"

Anyone who's interested in the subjects related to this post and this thread really should watch the movie "Take Shelter" together with their partner.  Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain put in great performances.  It's written well, though Shannon's character is probably a lot "crazier" than any of us have ever been accused of being.  But it explores the issues we're talking about here: relationship stress, prepping for a disaster which is undetermined, etc.

Here's wikipedia:

Take Shelter is a 2011 American psychological thriller drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father (Shannon) questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. It was nominated for four Saturn Awards including Best Horror or Thriller Film and Best Actressfor Chastain, and won Best Writing for Nichols and Best Actor for Shannon.

Here's Shannon's character at his lowest point at a church dinner when he flips out about the coming disaster he's been prepping for:

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Fragility vs Black Swans, Tea cups vs Tsunami

The deeper question for me is 'what do I want from my partner?'

Bonded couples develop complex and often co-dependent dynamics that we adapt to and thus the question. What do I want from my wife when I start talking about the "inevitable collapse of western civilization", or the potential that our children will starve to death in 10 years... (yikes!).

[cue thought cloud: "vat arrr yeu? keeedtingk me?!]

In our case Sandy aligned most everything. The rains ending but winds still blowing, suddenly in the southern winds a bright series of blinding flashes. Lights out. Only water for 10-days. Luckily we could walk 10 blocks where store owns put out power bars everywhere so folks could recharge. How did we know. I bought a solar power emo radio years earlier, before we were together. She was impressed.

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Thc

If I ever went bonkers in public like the character in that clip, a compassionate hug is not what I would be receiving from my wife, that's for sure!  I think Hollywood idealizes relationships a little too much these days.  I'll try and watch this movie sometime.  Not sure yet whether I'd want my wife to see it (based on the clip). 

 

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No, you wouldn't...

...want your wife to see it.  

But it is a worthy diversion.  Mr. Shannon was in another movie last year (same director) where the viewer is challenged to decide if the protagonist[s] is[are] crazy.  (Midnight Special)  Then again, in the latter film, his wife is of the same mind as he is.  Different kind of story.

Viva -- Sager

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I heartily agree re: "Take Shelter"

"Take Shelter" is of my favorite recent movies, (and not just because of the subject matter). The acting was terrific, especially Jessica Chastain. 

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Take Shelter

Just watched the trailer and read the Wiki spoiler... there's no way I'm suggesting that one for movie night.  

It's so frustrating to me that the Hollywood analogy is to bring in the mystic stuff (visions of a storm, fantastical blood-like rain, and a protagonist with a history of schizophrenia).

people that think like I/we do are not crazy. And I don't say that from a defensive position.  We don't have visions.  We are not predicting anything epic or spiritual.

The standpoint at Peak Prosperity (as I understand it) is one of pure factual concern and practical preparation.  Debt IS (by definition) future consumption taken today.  Exponential growth IS (by definition) impossible with finite resources.  Having a deep pantry is perfectly practical and cost neutral.  Having a few weeks of fresh water is a no brainer.  Solar panels, smart budgeting, good insulation, building community, practicing resilience... these are all low opportunity cost exercises!  The ONLY reason one has for not pursuing them is social anxiety and/or cognitive dissonance. 

If you can't afford it, fine... start with budgeting better or trying to increase your income (also very practical things to be doing).  If "prepping" (really hate that word) takes time away from your job or kid, then by all means get your sh*t together (your job is probably your biggest asset, so don't take risks with it).

But if you've got an hour each night to watch the Real Housewives or Bachelor in Paradise, then there's really no reason you shouldn't let your husband take up the hobby of making practical improvements to your family's safety.

 

 

 

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WaterDog mentioned "Tribulation"

I took that as a recommendation and downloaded Tribulation to my Kindle.   It has an awesome start.  Oh Yeah!  I was hooked by the end of the first page.

Of course I remember how it happened. Every one of us who was alive back then remembers exactly how our world ended. We had for years expected every day to be just like the last one, and then one day, just like that, it was the last one.

Surprised? Not really. No more than a 100-year-old man is surprised when death comes, or a deer when the headlights finally arrive. We knew it was going to happen, and spent our whole lives acting as though it were not. Hoping that we would be dead before it came. Age-based optimists, we called ourselves. Gallows humor. Every one of us who lived through it knew, instantly – the second we grasped the enormity of what was happening – that we were the ones who had done it. We had lived lives of depraved indifference, of luxury unimagined in eons of human existence, apparently believing (if we thought about it at all) that the bills would never come due. We had allowed ourselves to become fatally distracted from reality.

 

Brian called early that morning, the day it all started to come apart. It was a beautiful mild day in late spring, about this time of year but not as hot as it is these days. We used to have slower springs, and gentler rains.

 

Dad, we’re on the way to the Farm. You should come, too.”

“Really? You mean to stay?”

“Listen. They just released the latest computer models for the hurricane. And they all agree, it’s coming ashore west of New Orleans and tracking straight up the Mississippi River.”

“Damn.” I stared out the window of my little retirement bungalow on the PGA golf course in New Market, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and thought about Brian heading west on I-66 from his place in Northern Virginia.

“You’re in the car?”

“Yep. Me and the kids.”

“No Kathryn?”

“Of course not. I tried to tell her how this thing could take out the Old River Control Structure, break the Mississippi clean out of its bed. Tried to explain what that could mean. But when it comes to this stuff, she just will not listen.”

“Well. No doubt she’s thinking of the last time.”

“Oh yeah, she brought that up. ‘You’re absolutely sure,’ she says, ‘like you were sure that when Iran closed the Strait Of Hormuz, it would crash the economy? You holed us up at the Farm for nearly a month that time. Took the kids out of school. Damn near lost me my job and yours too.’ Yeah, that was embarrassing. Nobody thought they could reopen the channel that fast.”

“So how’d you leave it?”

“We’re going for the weekend, I’m under orders to have the kids back Sunday night.”

“Are you going to?”

“We’ll see.”

“Holy crap, Brian, you could get in real trouble,”

“Dad, we are in real trouble. Everything is breaking down. Food, water, electricity. All the systems are right on the verge of crashing. If this hurricane does what it looks like it’s going to do, we’re toast.”

“Pretty big if, Brian.”

“Yeah. So I’m going to do what I gotta do, and I want you to turn on the Weather Channel and pay close attention to what they’re saying about Hurricane Seven. Then I want you to Google the Old River Control Structure, and the flood of 1973. Okay? Will you do that?”

“I’ll do that. But Brian...”

“Not now, Dad. I’ve got to get going. If I’m wrong... again... then fine, I’ll eat the crow. If I’m right, I’ll see you at the Farm."
 

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The bigger point......

.........of course is to live sustainably.  Because we haven't, that is why we are in the mess we are in.  If we're just into prepping, then what is the point?  Survive this mess we have created so we can then start the same crap all over again?

And what is the foundation of living sustainably?  Don't take more then we give, don't exploit the people and the world around us.  Don't live a self centered life, pay attention to those around us, listen and look at people with our full attention.  Open our hearts to the world.  Live with compassionate awareness.

Living in fear of what might be leads to very bad decisions, because fear shrinks awareness and separates us from those around us.  If we can't handle what may happen in the future, how are we going to help those around us face the same possibilities? 

Rather than saying to those around us, "hey, we need to prepare because the world as we know it is about to come to an end", how about, "hey, lets not live a petty small minded self centered life, lets live a life with dignity, love and respect for all the life around us".  We need to transform ourselves before we can think about reaching out to others.  But that is not a process we need to do alone, lets do it together, that changes the dynamic in relationships all together.

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We are both prepping, but towards different visions

Both my wife and I are preparing for the future.

We share many values: and a commitment to each other, to the Earth itself, to our children and to other human beings and living creatures that we have not personally met.

But we each "prep" for different visions of the future.

 

 

 

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Thanks for a great post

Macro2682, thanks so much for your post.  My relationship with my wife is very similar.  We married in 1998, and until 2008 I barely thought at all about the long term sustainability of Energy, the Economy and the Environment.  That’s really the only way you can hold mainstream views: by not thinking about them too deeply.  When you start thinking about things like perpetual exponential economic growth and depleting oil reserves, you end up going down a rabbit hole of doubt from which you emerge a year or two later, shaken and considerably weirder than when you went in, which is basically what happened to me in 2008.

 

Over the last nine years I have tried to share this with my wife many times, but made almost no progress.  At first I thought the things I could see, like, it’s physically and mathematically impossible to have perpetual economic growth, were so obvious that anyone would be able to see them with a little prompting, but I quickly realised that this is not the case.  When I tried to discuss these things with my wife she either blocked the discussion, changed the subject or got angry.  There’s no point continuing to beat your head against a wall when it’s clear the wall isn’t going to give way, so I have resigned myself to prepping in semi-secret.  What I mean is that when we do sensible things like move to a safe place to live (rural area, low population density, lots of farming and fishing) I say it’s because I like the area, not because it’s safe.  When I grow food and herbal medicines in the garden, I say it’s because I like gardening.  When I join in community events like playing music, I say it’s because I like to play music, not because I’m trying to build social capital.  Those are all acceptable reasons for doing what we need to do without creating arguments.

 

There are some things which can’t be explained away, like buying gold or writing this comment on this blog, and for those I have to adopt an almost paranoid level of secrecy, because if my wife found out she would be furious, not only about what I’m doing, but the fact that I’m concealing it from her.  I would love to be open with her, but that’s not possible right now, so prepping in secret is the next best thing although it’s a very poor substitute.  So I keep any incriminating programs, websites, login details and documents inside a password protected folder on my computer which looks outwardly innocuous.  I clear my browser cache regularly.  I use separate email software, email accounts and Web browsers for “normal” and “prepping related” activities.  I have a separate credit card for prepping related purchases, which I top up with cash.  I keep our gold (because it is hers as well as mine) under the insulation in our loft.  It’s probably like having an affair, although I wouldn’t really know because I’ve never had one.

 

And the future?  I’m not optimistic.  I think, like macro2682, that the more obvious things become, the more my wife will deny them and become anxious and/or depressed.  I mean, they’re pretty obvious already aren’t they - how much more obvious do they need to be?  So I feel I have a duty to prepare on behalf of both of us in case she can’t/won’t do what she needs to do when the time comes.

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Fascinating! The gender gap is an abyss.

I don't think I have ever been more captivated by a PP/Resilience thread as I have by this one. Over forty years ago, I took my wife kicking and screaming(perhaps I exaggerate) to live in the country. After five kids and a life of killing chickens, canning, dirt turning, composting, patching clothes, repairing used equipment, building a house and other sundry domestic requirements of this lifestyle, would she ever move back to the city? Not a chance. My wife never passes a mirror without stopping to check if things are acceptable, still flings my socks at me when they're on the floor, boots me out of the kitchen when I cramp her style, second guesses me on everything and cries when I do it to her and, in general, can be a virtual pain in the ass. One is more than I can handle, but I don't know what I would do without her. Relationships are like a mismatched pair of socks; they may look out of place, but still do a good job if your feet are cold and occasionally, they have to be mended!  I posit this: is your relationship sustainable or is it sufficient? It's all about attitude.

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To peter31

Peter31,

This strikes me as an unacceptable level of subterfuge. If she had reason to be concerned about you in the past, as in you had a mental illness, it's understandable. Otherwise, it's unfair.

Many men here seem to be labouring under a sad reality that goes beyond prepping. Women hide behind 'feminism' as a justification for creating power imbalances that are tilted in their own favor..

Don't fall for this. It's as bad as old style male chauvinism. Establish balance and egalitarianism in your partnerships and demand the respect you deserve. If you are preparing in a reasonable way, without becoming wild eyed and obsessed, you deserve love affection and devotion for doing that. Don't accept less.

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peter31 wrote: So I keep any
peter31 wrote:

So I keep any incriminating programs, websites, login details and documents inside a password protected folder on my computer which looks outwardly innocuous.  I clear my browser cache regularly.  I use separate email software, email accounts and Web browsers for “normal” and “prepping related” activities.  I have a separate credit card for prepping related purchases, which I top up with cash.  I keep our gold (because it is hers as well as mine) under the insulation in our loft.  It’s probably like having an affair, although I wouldn’t really know because I’ve never had one.

My wife knows that I subscribe to a blog, but I sold it to her as a news aggregator that saves me from having to read a bagillion financial articles to stay current.  She knows there's a theme to this place, but I think she looks the other way because at least it's less cynical than ZeroHedge.  But if she knew that I posted details about my life and relationship, yes, she'd be pissed.  And I don't blame her, it's (on some level) disloyal.

I'm careful never to hide money from her.  I'd rather live unprepared than live with a secret that could ruin my marriage.

There are really three reasons why our wives are so against the idea of "prepping."

1.) Thinking about this stuff is a downer to them. It's uncomfortable to prepare for something horrible (regardless of how confident you are it will happen).  This is why so many seemingly smart people put off writing a will, or scheduling a colonoscopy.  

2.) Social anxiety.  "Prepping" has been framed by the media as being abnormal.  And our wives don't want people to think they are abnormal. Its why I get yelled at for inviting friends over when the house isn't spotless.  It's why sometimes women don't want to  go out in public because they are "feeling fat" today.  This isn't just something that plagues women - we all (to some degree) care what others think.

3.) Most importantly... our wives are thinking in binary terms. "Either my husband is completely mainstream, or he is a crazy cammo Duck Dynasty prepper."  They get worried when you buy a few ounces of gold that next week you will want to liquidate the 401k.  They are worried that if they let you put solar panels on the house that next week you will want to build a gun bunker.  

This third point is reasonable... Some people take this stuff too far.  But it's insulting to me that my wife thinks I would be one of those people. It makes me feel like she doesn't even know me.  I am INFINITELY logical, and she knows that.  

Anyway, I feel bad for you having to live with a true secret.  It takes a lot of mental energy to live with that on your shoulders, and nobody will ever appreciate you for it.  I prefer to hide my secrets in broad daylight, so when they get noticed, I'm not persecuted for it.

 

 

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macro2682
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You have to laugh at this a little...

Chris Martenson has become "the other woman!"

 

 

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Rector
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A Campaign of Education

I looked at my wife's initial skepticism as a needed challenge and intellectual filter.  Either I could make the case on it's merits, or I could not.  Fortunately she is a data-business type and was able to quickly understand the problem - once I was able to get the problem articulated correctly.  This took a couple of months.  One day she just told me "do what you have to, but I'm not making this a hobby".  I could barely contain myself as I reached for the phone to call our financial advisor before she had left the room!

But the most effective thing I did for my wife was to get her friends on board.  To my surprise they all jumped in with both feet and were desperate for information.  Most of them began immediate and major changes to where they lived, their jobs, etc.  As the social tide turned and people other than me were taking action - it became normalized - and thus my steps could be more bold. (Such as liquidating our retirement accounts).

Over time, I have tried to make those moves and purchases that were prudent outside the context of a total social collapse - increased home security, preps for hurricane season, gardening as a hobby, starting a new business for income diversification, etc.  Every time I came across something compelling about the nature of the problem, I would share it with her gently to keep the specter of Dystopia on the radar.  On her own and for different reasons, she took on homeschooling our four children and other activities that support the post collapse model.  She now gardens with me, carries a gun, and goes to Crossfit.  She's in a much better position now than when we started and I am so thankful that she is my wife.

Once we achieved a higher level of preparations, I ramped down into sustain mode and don't feel the need to create a sense of urgency or rant about the imminence of the collapse.  It WILL happen soon enough. . .

One other thing. . .I am a firm believer that if a catalyst event occurs, it won't take long for people to come around, if they have been previously exposed to the concept.  Keep talking about it so that when it starts they will recognize it.

Rector

 

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Okay, I laughed...
macro2682 wrote:

Chris Martenson has become "the other woman!"

 

 

And then I realized such a revelation is going to make things awkward at home! ;)

Just kidding.

Becca is super excited about this new direction in my life.

:)

:) :)

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Where's the line?

Hey Macro,

Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your honesty and openess. You said, "Some people take this too far." Just curious, what's too far?

Most people would say what I've done is extreme, but under many scenarios, it would be woefully inadequate. My wife and I live in a hyper efficient house that produces twice the energy we need with solar. We garden, we raise chickens, and bees, and fish. We have a 6 acre permaculture designed property where I've planted 2000 trees, dug four ponds, and installed five massive swales. We don't have debt or live extravagantly.

I started "prepping" in 2007. I really don't like the term. What many of us do was simply common sense a hundred years ago. And those that didn't go into the winter with a full root cellar were foolish. It's funny, I rarely think about "prepping" anymore. I don't watch the news. I'm a big fan of PP, but I only come by every week or so. This is just how we live now. And it's a lot of fun. My wife is 45 and weighs five pounds less than when we were married. She loves the food and the animals. I do all the hard work. She gets to pet the chickens and enjoy the unique and tasty things we grow.

Living a less stressful and more natural life appealed to my wife. She's not a fan of guns and could care less about finance. I wonder if you found something that she loved, that she immediately benefited from, if she would change her tune? Healthy food, especially with young children tends to be important to mothers these days, and with good reason in my opinion. Maybe show her some of Geoff Lawton's videos. Very inspiring stuff.

Good luck and congrats on all you've done.

Phil

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Phil Williams wrote: Just
Phil Williams wrote:

 Just curious, what's too far?.

 

"Too far" is different for different people.  "Too far" is a failure to prioritize, jeopardizing your everyday life in order to prepare for something that might not happen on the timeline you're planning. Risking your job. Your marriage.  Blowing too much of your savings on preparations that aren't as necessary as the savings were in the first place.

someone retired with lots of money has a different definition of "too far" than a 35 year old with a dissenting wife and 2 young kids. 

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I went "too far"
macro2682 wrote:
Phil Williams wrote:

 Just curious, what's too far?.

"Too far" is different for different people.  "Too far" is a failure to prioritize, jeopardizing your everyday life in order to prepare for something that might not happen on the timeline you're planning. Risking your job. Your marriage.  Blowing too much of your savings on preparations that aren't as necessary as the savings were in the first place.

someone retired with lots of money has a different definition of "too far" than a 35 year old with a dissenting wife and 2 young kids. 

I definitely went "too far."

I quit a medium high six figure salary at the age of 42 with three young children to start...a blog.  Moved the entire family, started homeschooling, began learning new skills at a furious pace, and took a couple of years to create the Crash Course.

All really poor career decisions from the classical standpoint.  Grade A stupid.

But it all worked out for me, and I could not be happier that I took the risks to get where I am.  And that's just how life works...it turns out your chance of getting what you actually want skyrockets when you make that known to the people you want things from and/or take the necessary risks to get what you want/need.

So, yeah, I went 'too far' but in hindsight not at all.  

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Tiptoeing through the tulips

So my tolerant wife thought I was kind of strange for storing food, water, and other items plus learning to garden and other skills.  We are from different countries, different cultures, so she just took it as one of my differences I suppose.   We live in a farming area and her parents are retired farmers and local people tend to use bicycles for transportation, so things I was doing weren't all that odd.   My preparation were taking up space in the house though....

Then came 3/11/2011 and our house was slightly damaged, her cell phone service went down, our water was out, our electricity was out, etc.    But we were fine.    The reactors at Fukushima Daiichi started melting down - about 100 miles away - but we had a dosimeter and were far enough away in the right direction for that not to be a threat to us.   My wife's view of my efforts came around quickly.   For a time.

As we get further away from 3/11, she forgets.   She rationalizes that such a thing isn't probable to recur in our lifetimes.   I point out that other problems are likely, but she has gone back to her lifelong pattern of comfort, and/or denial.  

So, I'm still maintaining my preparations to meet likely contingencies and acquiring and maintaining skills.   But I sort of tiptoe.   Happily, my wife is used to what I do now and it no longer seems so strange.    Perhaps she feels secure thinking that I have it covered.   This allows me to quietly carry on without being challenged.  That's good enough for me.

 

 

 

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Smart, Crazy and Stupid all at the same time

That's what I have gotten for a long time. Now that things are unfolding in way that we have all predicted, I get, "your a real pain in the ass, but I can't deny that you are right, how did you know all this was going to happen so long ago?".  The biggest complaints now are, "you work to hard, you're a fool, why do you have to do everything the hard way?"  "Why do we have to grow these things, do you know how cheap they are to buy, can we have some fun sometimes?"

But when someone says, wow you have that big a garden, that is amazing, or wow you have a cool setup here about our house and property, she is happy to take credit. So its all good. As time passes we will all be proven correct, so no worries.  We will have lived a life worth living, a life with meaning, a path with heart.  But do remember to take a break sometimes and "smell the flowers", something that I am still working on.

macro2682's picture
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cmartenson wrote: macro2682
cmartenson wrote:
macro2682 wrote:
Phil Williams wrote:

 Just curious, what's too far?.

"Too far" is different for different people.  "Too far" is a failure to prioritize, jeopardizing your everyday life in order to prepare for something that might not happen on the timeline you're planning. Risking your job. Your marriage.  Blowing too much of your savings on preparations that aren't as necessary as the savings were in the first place.

someone retired with lots of money has a different definition of "too far" than a 35 year old with a dissenting wife and 2 young kids. 

I definitely went "too far."

I quit a medium high six figure salary at the age of 42 with three young children to start...a blog.  Moved the entire family, started homeschooling, began learning new skills at a furious pace, and took a couple of years to create the Crash Course.

All really poor career decisions from the classical standpoint.  Grade A stupid.

But it all worked out for me, and I could not be happier that I took the risks to get where I am.  And that's just how life works...it turns out your chance of getting what you actually want skyrockets when you make that known to the people you want things from and/or take the necessary risks to get what you want/need.

So, yeah, I went 'too far' but in hindsight not at all.  

 

You didn't lose your wife/kids, so no, you didn't go too far.  

macro2682's picture
macro2682
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 3 2009
Posts: 554
Stress/strain

My wife/relationship is like the one on the right.  Chris's is the one on the left.  So "too far" is different for each case. Hook's law.

macro2682's picture
macro2682
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 3 2009
Posts: 554
Ah, I guess you can't post

Ah, I guess you can't post pictures. I was showing stress/strain charts from an engineering website:

http://www.engineersedge.com/strength_of_materials.htm

 

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