Life is for Living

For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear – when you are the hammer, strike.

Edwin Markham

I spend a lot of my time thinking about survival. It’s probably because I live with the constant awareness that my immune system can go into hyperdrive for seemingly no reason. Despite all the precautions and medications I take each day, death could happen at any moment. It could happen from a bee sting or a shower that’s too hot or from exerting myself too much.

Or, it could happen for no apparent reason whatsoever. One mastocytosis patient I know of died in her sleep from anaphylaxis at just 34 years old, and they still don’t know what triggered it.

It’s a very bizarre way to live, always keenly aware of death.

But, it keeps me grounded and helps me focus on what’s important in life. I embrace moments and the people I love a lot more than I used to. It also helps me keep a more realistic focus on the future in that I know better than to just cling to the material things in life because while I do enjoy them, they are fleeting.

I was watching a video recently of a Norwegian survivalist, Bjorn Bull-Hansen, where he talks about preparing for what’s coming (or what may be coming) and someone left a comment that really struck me.

This may seem counter intuitive, but I think everyone should start preparing mentally to not have things. I was just thinking about this, this morning. In the West our solution to many problems is throw abundance at the problem. I personally believe we should try to start living with less as soon as possible.

On one hand, he or she is right. We all should be able to live with less even if we are blessed with material things because they can be taken from us in an instant. The simple things should bring us as much joy as the not-so-simple things. From my own experience, I derive the same amount of joy from a ride in the dog sled as I do in our Porsche.

One is simple and one is a complex, finely tuned machine.

But that’s not exactly what this commenter meant, is it. No, they are talking about preparing for the worst case scenario and encouraging us to maybe stop focusing on having an abundance of “prepper” tools and gadgets and material things that we may think we’ll need or even be able to use in a SHTF scenario.

The truth is many of us wouldn’t survive with just our skills and our bare hands. Many of us who can survive wouldn’t want to live that way for long. Humans crave creature comforts and there’s nothing wrong with that, even if it’s just to give us a reason to want to wake up and face reality each day.

The ironic thing is, while the prepper community generally agrees with the “learn to live with less” premise, the architects of the system we’re all living in now are also touting that exact same sentiment as our future scenario. We will all “own nothing and be happy”, according to them (while they will own everything and be miserable? Hmm..).

Either way, I think true happiness lies somewhere in between. Life is for living, not just surviving.

Have a great Saturday, everyone.

One thought on “Life is for Living

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