When I was in High School we had a Gym Teacher/ Coach who was a cool guy in that cheese late 70's sort of way. He had a saying "curls for the girls and cleans for machines."Kinda cheese but it had a real point. His point is that the exercises to build a showy beach body are very different than for a very quick, strong and functional body. That analogy can be used for emergency preparedness also.
I have noticed that general interest in boring practical stuff is often absent. Also I have noticed that same lack of interest extends to practical stuff in peoples considerations and preparations. The biggest areas people seem to ignore are financial preparedness and physical fitness. Maybe it is just that I take a broader and more holistic view of emergency preparedness than some folks, but I am not so sure.
I read a lot of blogs and keep in touch with a lot of great folks. I do not mean to take jabs at anyone as I do honestly like them all. I enjoy the personalities and seeing all the stuff people do and all their great ideas. It is just that occasionally I am really surprised by things.
I am baffled when I read someone gets financially devastated by a relatively minor and common event. A car having a typical $500-700 breaking down or a higher than expected electric bill are throwing people for a loop and in some cases leading them to sell tangible goods or go into debt. I can't understand this at all. I am not trying to be judgmental or anything. I know life is hard. Things are always getting more expensive and wages are not going up. It is difficult to save money. We have a fairly average income and minimal expenses but it still took us a whole year of dedicated saving to get a 3 month emergency fund put away. For someone whose expenses are closer to their income it might take two or even three years to meet that goal. Having a grand or a months cash expenses is probably a darn good start. Even someone in the worst financial situation should have a few hundred bucks set aside. Being prepared for a major disaster or even the end of the world but not to put a clutch in the family car is something I can't understand.
Fitness is far more lacking. Maybe it is just that it is easier to take an anecdotal non scientific like survey because lots of folks have pictures up here or there. I am periodically surprised that people who are so together in a variety of ways are completely out of shape. I am not going to say that being thin or looking fit is the big thing. Obviously being functionally fit is more important than having nice abs. Plenty of guys who would be lean at one weight are just fit and average sized and 10 pounds heavier. I have known a few guys whose appearance showed they liked burgers and brewskis that were in good solid shape. However it would be a real uphill battle to convince me there is not at least a loose correlation between excess body weight verging on obesity and being in really bad shape. Many people who spend lots of money and time doing great things to prepare are completely failing to prepare arguable the most important asset they have, their bodies. These folks would be better off cutting out two or three hours a week of great preparedness stuff and doing some brisk walking.
Why do people completely avoid preparing their finances and getting their bodies into decent shape? I think part of it is that preparedness is a lot more of a hobby then we are willing to admit. As a hobby (at least of sorts) we naturally gravitate to fun stuff. Most of us were gun enthusiasts to begin with and that is what lead many people to preparedness in the first place. Guns, gear and gadgets are fun (also they all start with g) so it is not that surprising that people gravitate towards them. Also there is an element of fantasy that is involved. It is cool to think about how you would go all pioneer on the plains and shoot it out with some sort of bad guys. It isn't very exciting to daydream through a boring afternoon at work about how your emergency fund will help when the car breaks down or how being in decent shape will allow you to walk 15 miles home when your car gets stuck in a jam.
Specifically when it comes to finances I think a lot of people like to ignore reality. For some reason lots of folks take a head in the sand approach to finances. Their situation isn't real good so they ignore it and then go figure, it doesn't get any better. They like to pretend that somehow things will quickly fall apart in a certain way so the bank never comes calling about the mortgage or the car loan but their area will be fundamentally OK. 'Their' home would really be theirs. They do not like to think about any situation (say a slow slide or a long term depression or a total mess like Argentina) less than that total but idealized collapse. There is no pretending in saving money to have a dedicated emergency fund or eating rice and beans to pay off credit card debt.
When it comes to fitness I think the simple answer is that it isn't easy. Fitness takes effort and restraint. Eating a reasonable diet and doing some sort of exercise 2-3 times a week will do it, if you put a bit less on the place and actually go for the walks. Diet can not be over rated. Calories matter a lot and over time small differences of 200-300 calories a day add up to huge differences. A couple cookies or drinks or the worlds smallest bowl of ice cream is often the difference between being of a fairly healthy weight or too fat to walk home when you need to. Now don't get me wrong the eat a reasonable diet and walk some is not going to get you ready for the RPAT but it would probably get you ready to walk a few miles home. I can not help but to observe that many of the knee and back problems that keep from exercise would be greatly reduced by getting to a healthy weight. Fitness is a situation where good things build up to make more good things realistic and possible. Certainly getting to a basic level of fitness will go a long way in helping you with a variety of tasks.
I am certainly not saying that I am perfect. In the past I was pretty gun centric and too light on food. I am getting better about a more balanced approach these days but am still not perfect. My intent is not to be holier than thou but just to point out that the boring practical stuff is at least as important as the flashy fun stuff.
Your assignment for this week is do something that is boring and practical, like going for a long walk or saving a couple of twenty dollar bills.