Finally, we stand numbly at the brink of the end of December. The year of 2016 has lurched, exhausted, to a close. With a mix of relief and of trepidation I prepare to turn the last calendar page of 2016 to uncover January 2017. I’m fairly certain, I’m not the only one who feels more than a bit hesitant to let another year in after the chaos we are preparing to sweep out the door.
I was sadly unprepared by any past experience for the rollercoaster ride of 2016. In spite of the fact that, secretly, for the last few years, I’ve been enjoying the game of making preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse . This is a highly improbable future of post-apocalyptic Zombie Outbreak and the challenges of survival. In preparing for this unlikely outbreak I’ve haunted my local Ranger Supply store, studied survival handbooks, and watched TV personalities survive extremes of weather while eating sheep eyeballs, raw snakes and (almost always) drinking urine. These super-extreme survivalist preparing for the very extreme ends of disaster.
Building a snow shelter, though, is way easier than figuring out how to pay the regular monthly bills, a surprise car repair, and an unexpected doctor’s bill. Most of life is not as dramatic as trying to start a life-saving fire with wet wood and only one match, but way more likely. No one applauds the successful bill payer or traffic navigator.
The Zombie Apocalypse has, so far, been a no-show. My unneccessary preparations are a bit like a smoke detector, you don’t want to need one. Mine does little more than eat batteries and announce that the toast is overdone. Prepping for the unlikely Zombie Swarm has some unexpected bonuses in the same way that the smoke alarm is a helpful kitchen aid.
My anxiety-driven obsession has led me to learn more than three different ways to start a smokeless fire, I can identify and prepare several native and edible wild plants, and can, theoretically build a shelter in just a few hours…if the helpful pictures in the guide can be trusted. Not one of these skills are helpful, however, when the immediate challenge is calling for and waiting on a tow truck when your child is standing outside school for pick up. This last scenario is much more likely than the internal debate of when it’s appropriate to drink urine or snack on raw eyeballs. We all face daily challenges, happily, mostly, fairly minor. It’s probably better to be more prepared, than less, even when the stakes don’t include alligators, quicksand, or urine.
My personal, anxiety-driven preparations have ensured that I’ve been equipped to face less Zombie-rich, yet still challenging scenarios. Winter Storms, Summer Floods, Week-Long Power Outages, Plagues of Stink Bugs, Illness we’ve handled all of these as a side effect of my semi-delusional activities, with varying degrees of success. Anything worse than plagues, floods, and blizzards, feel impossibly like a fantasy-made-for-TV-series by Netflix, like something to enjoy with friends and popcorn. Horror, it seems, is engagingly entertaining from the vantage point of smoke alarms and seatbelts.
However, in spite of all my practice and study , I still wasn’t ready for the roller coaster ride of 2016. How could any of my emergency plans have anticipated any of that, all of that. And, what can 2017 have in store for us standing here on the edge of the coming year?
My obsessive preparations for Zombie Days might not have adequately prepared me for the last year. Remember, though that Zombie Prep skills are somewhat flexible. They have helped my family through Snowpocalypse of 2016, the Summer Floods of 2014 and 2015, other indignities, frustrations, and first world issues. We’ll have to adapt them to remain durable, flexible, and indomitable.
Here’s my short list of things to bring along into the coming year and the uncertain future.
Pocket US Constitution
Swiss Army knife
SAS Survival Handbook
I ponder what else to bring for our move into the new year. What will be needed? A sense of humor and perspective? Walking Shoes? Resilience?
What are you packing for the next trip around the sun? It’ coming, ready or not.
Photo Credit: Anita Bowen Photography