You may recall that back in July I went shoe shopping, and one of my goals was to get shoes in the next size up for my children so that I could put them away for the future. I reasoned that because my children are still growing, and I am not a cobbler by trade, that this would be a reasonable item to include in my emergency preparation plans. I was disappointed (freaked out would probably be a more accurate description) to find out that although everything looked normal, they had nothing that I asked for in my child's shoe size, and if memory serves, I sent the salesgirl back for three different styles (and there were only four styles available.) I was worried because I thought everything was disappearing in terms of availability, and I was worried that I would be the last one to find out.
Not worried enough that I didn't try to warn other people through this blog, and not worried enough that I didn't try to warn my dad about possible shortages when we went to visit my parents for a family reunion later that month. My dad let me tell the whole shoe story, and express my concerns that there would be fewer and fewer things available, and that there hadn't been a rush on the shoes that I knew of, and yet there were none, and that there was almost no one in the store at the time, and what the lack of shoes might indicate about the economy--and when I said, "What if there are no shoes available when my kids outgrow the ones that they have?," my dad said "So what?"
Well, this took the wind out of my sails a little bit, (and you might have noticed I can be a little long-winded :) but my dad went on from there, and what he said made sense. He said, "You would make do. What do you think, there wasn't someone sometime that came up with the idea of shoes? You would find something to use, and you would make do. Don't worry about it so much. You would use your brain just like people throughout history have used their brains, and you would come up with something. You would be all right."
And he's right. People are smart. We tend to come up with what we need to come up with (reminds me of the necessity-invention connection) when we need it. A lot of preparation is mental. And I'm not talking about the mental implied in the post title if you left off the "ly prepared." I'm talking about the attitude, like my dad has, that we can and will be able to do what we have to do when we have to do it. That's probably a huge percentage of mental preparation.
I think another percentage of mental preparation is thinking ahead for what will be needed in a time of emergency. This ranges from basic necessities that everyone needs, like how much food and water will be needed for the people you would be responsible for, to more personal preparation that is specific to those people--like medications, allergies, etc., that you have to work into the equation. It is hard to think of everything, but if we plan it out, we can get closer to being totally prepared than if we just sit and worry, or just sit and hope that everything will work out. There are so many ways that we can use our minds, but we get more done when we combine our mental activity with physical action.
Another way to mentally prepare is to learn the things that would help us out in an emergency situation. There is also a wide range of possibilities when it comes to this category of mental preparation--practical skills like sewing, cooking, gardening--that could be used for ourselves, or even as bartering tools. You could argue that these are physical skills, and they are, but we have to gain the mental knowledge necessary to do them efficiently. We also have to take into consideration the fact that we might have to defend ourselves during emergency situations, and that basic emergency medical skills might be needed. If we prepare ourselves in the best ways that we can, we and others will be the better for it.
In the animated show, "Max and Ruby," (you can tell that I have small children), there is one episode where Ruby is working on her hospitality badge, and she and her Bunny Scout friends say that the most important rule is "A good hostess always stays calm when things go wrong." I've thought about that rule around the house, (for example, when I'm trying to clean up after a mess that I wish would never have happened) but I think that it particularly applies when I think about food storage and emergency preparedness. It is hard to think of everything that you may need in an emergency situation. It is hard to afford everything that you may need in an emergency situation. But this is what I think: if you have done your best with what you have available, then you are probably better prepared than you feel that you are. And whatever comes up in the future, you will be able to handle as it comes. You will be able to "stay calm when things go wrong" because you have done your best to prepare yourself for the worst.
I haven't yet "stocked up" on those shoes. Not because my dad convinced me that I am a cobbler, but because other expenses, etc. have come up, and they have fallen lower on the list of priorities. I hope to one day get some shoes in storage, but if it doesn't happen, and there are no shoes in the stores, he's right, I would find a way to make do. That might mean that I have to barter goods or skills with someone who is a cobbler. Or it might mean that I will have to construct makeshift shoes made out of whatever I have available. You might not be able to think of everything that will be needed in whatever emergency situation arises, but trying to, and then preparing in the ways that you can, will help. This, combined with the attitude that you will be able to handle whatever else arises, is a big step in the right direction....shoes or not.