Figuring out the “there” you want to get to.

I love sayings and quotes, especially random ones that I find in packaging, like inside Chines fortune cookies. I didn’t expect sayings on Splenda packets though, but lo and behold this 400-count box of Splenda packets comes with sayings.

People seem to fight about everything online and since I have my own strong opinions about many things too – I’ve been guilty of kicking up a little bit of controversy a few times too. However, I’m trying to avoid that, but yes, I’m aware I’m a contrarian by nature, lol.

The above Splenda packet came in a 400-count box that was given to me. In fact, I was gifted two 400-count boxes of Splenda packets that were given to me by my son’s friend, who had received them by mistake in a Walmart grocery pick-up order. She hadn’t ordered them and when she tried to return them to the store, they told her they don’t take returns on pick-up orders. These boxes are over $14 each, so that store lost almost $30 on that employee error, so it’s a crazy policy, I think.

With my using a Splenda packet saying, online some people would automatically want to start focusing on their views on Splenda being an unhealthy sweetener and why I shouldn’t use it, while I was merely amused by the sayings on these packets. And yes, I am using Splenda packets in my hot tea and oatmeal, because it doesn’t elevate my blood sugar like sugar does. I also use stevia and I’ve heard monkfruit is a good sugar alternative too, but it’s expensive and I haven’t tried it yet. I’m open to trying alternative sweeteners, but I also don’t get invested in all the health food drama in America and all the word games that come with the marketing of “healthy” stuff. I found this saying amusing, but let’s be honest you’ve got to define “there” in journeys or you’ll probably start down some wrong paths and have to make a lot of U-turns. Words can be tricky and the emotions we invest in words even trickier.

Most people around the world don’t have access to goods like we do in America or the myriad of consumer goods and widespread availability of food that we still have. And yes, there are growing shortage issues and inflation here that are dramatically impacting many American homes, but by and large, we still have way more that is available than most parts of the world have ever had. Plus if you live in constant dire financial straits, well, most often in America those situations are due to bad personal decisions, not because of some unexpected event or emergency. Sorry, that’s the truth. Once you get to the truth about people’s financial decisions, especially things like debt to income ratio and looking closely at personal spending habits, often there are things like cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, fast food, lottery tickets, even junk items from dollar stores, etc. that give a clearer picture of personal finances. I’m not trying to bash any particular person or group of people, all I’m saying is most household budgets contain some choices that indicate there were other, more economical, paths to take. The figuring out where you are matters before you decide on the “there” you want to go. That’s where I prefer to start – thinking about a plan of some sort.

While there really are some disturbing major crises unfolding around the world that are likely to impact everyone, including all of us in America, like everything else the impacts are likely to vary widely in severity, depending what country you live in and even regionally or based on personal lifestyle choices and events. For instance the other day I bought an 18-count carton of large eggs at the grocery store for $6.38 and that was definitely sticker shock for me, but I decided to buy the carton, because I want to make some deviled eggs for Christmas. I don’t use that many eggs really and I have a pack of Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer and some whole dried eggs in my food storage, so I have other options for most other egg needs. I also had the choice, of course, to not make deviled eggs. I don’t know of any alternative way to make deviled eggs without fresh whole eggs, so I paid the $6.38.

With the blog posts I’ve written about emergency preparedness, I’ve felt that while I disagree with so much of the constant stream of online preparedness hysteria and fearmongering, assuredly the people who engage in that constantly would likely insist they want to motivate people to prepare and that they’re sharing important information and not fearmongering. Despite my disagreeing with the fearmongering approach, the truth is people who have taken some steps toward getting their finances in better shape, stocking up food and supplies, learned even a few skills are way better off in a crisis than people who haven’t even thought about emergency preparedness at all. That single truth is what I’ve been thinking about with a major winter storm, replete with Arctic temperatures and high wind, forecast to impact a large section of the US later this week.

Considering it’s Christmas time, millions of Americans will likely be traveling too and it’s also likely most won’t make any preparations for winter weather emergencies. That’s been mostly what I’ve seen over the years, even when people do have advance warning of an impending emergency situation.

Fear can be a powerful motivator to prod people into action, because as my Splenda packet says: the best way to get there is to START. The problem comes in that living in constant fear only works for a short time. To stay motivated and committed to being prepared requires both a mind-set and a lifestyle change, not living in a state of fear or anxiously waiting for a SHTF event to hit. It’s not all about buying supplies on a list, but more about a way of thinking, decision-making and overall lifestyle. You can’t buy your way to developing a preparedness mind-set, but the toss side of that is even modest preparedness efforts can reap big rewards, provide you with more options, but most of all it can buy you more time to come up with more solutions in an emergency situation.

Where I live we’re expected to get some freezing temperatures and perhaps some rain, but I ran to Lowe’s to pick up a few items yesterday. I asked an employee for assistance in finding an item. I told this young man I wanted to do a few things around my house to prepare for the storm that’s headed across most of the US later this week. He said he wasn’t aware there was a big storm coming. I asked him a question about a product and he started to tell me his neighbor is sort of a crazy Doomsday prepper type guy, but knows a lot, as he explained something to me. I laughed and told him that my kids think I’m sort of a crazy Doomsday prepper too. The neighbor, who is likely to be where this young man goes for help in an emergency, was labeled with the negative pejorative “Doomsday prepper type.” The truth though is this nice young man had no clue about a major weather event that’s going to impact the US this week. I expect most Americans are like this young man and think prepping is stupid or people who try to be more prepared are weirdos.

Media is largely responsible for creating that negative stereotype of emergency preparedness, by hyping the most extreme preppers and promoting that “Doomsday prepper” labeling. In this April 2022 article, This is the surprising generation least likely to have even $1,000 in savings — and here’s what they need to do about it, it states:

“A survey of 1,000 adults from Bankrate this year revealed that 56% couldn’t pay for even a $1,000 emergency from their savings account. Meanwhile, data from the Federal Reserve showed that when faced with a hypothetical expense of $400, only about two in three adults could pay that expense using cash or its equivalent. What’s more, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in 2022 that 24% of consumers have no savings at all set aside for emergencies, while 39% have less than a month of income saved for emergencies.”

According to the USDA, around 10% of Americans were food insecure at some point during 2021.

While I don’t agree with a lot the drama and hysteria I see within the online prepper community, I still think the focus should be on trying to get more unprepared people to take some steps toward being more prepared and not so much focus on the most extreme “Doomsday preppers.” I had a neighbor come to my door in the past month needing some food, which I gladly provided. I’m going to take them a food basket this week too, because there are two small children in the home. I suspect there are people all over America, especially elderly people, who might be in need of some help and that’s where I think the focus should be – not on labeling people.

Without getting into politics much, I’ve always been very conservative and several years ago, one of my adult kids was telling me that she describes me to friends as sort of a “militia-type right-winger – without the guns.” I was sort of dumbstruck and appalled by that description and I was thinking, “This is what my own child thinks of me?” Then Trump came along and I was NeverTrump really, because I believed all along he’s a phony, not conservative in the least and just playing on the fears of a lot of poor Americans, especially poor white people. Trump was a NY liberal, whose golfing buddy was Bill Clinton, so I never got on the Trump train and I guess that spared me somewhat from being cast into “The Deplorables” basket. Now the targeting has moved to labeling everyone on the right as “MAGA Republicans” and I guess just about everyone who runs afoul of the liberal political views will be cast into the MAGA Republican group of “undesirables.” Which brings me back to the “Doomsday prepper” labeling, which came about by the liberal media…

What I really believe, as my core beliefs, has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. I believe in trying to help other people and treat other people as I would like to be treated.

Yes, inflation is supposed to get worse in the coming year and more and more people are likely going to be struggling, even in America. I want to focus on helping my family, friends and others people as I can, not on politics or dividing America into hostile camps. That’s the “there” I want to get to and perhaps most of us might be on board with that as a place to START.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, Food for Thought, General Interest

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