The Age of Regression
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
We can examine the events of the last few years and quickly conclude that the chance things will get worse is far greater than the hope that they will get better. We are perched on a tightrope walk with no end, as one recent article we read termed it. Every day seems to get more precarious and nerve-racking. As many of you know, prepping changes this equation. It alters the inevitable outcome for an individual or community. Prepping will not stop the war, storm, great recession, or a future pandemic from coming, but it changes your ability to weather such events. Prepping provides you with a more solid footing, another layer of protection from the inevitable.
In this blog, we will examine where we are in our troubling times, where we look to be going in this age of regression, and how you can take the reigns of your destiny. You don’t have to be a victim in the masses, nor do you need to have a bunker with a hundred years of food and water stored up. However, you need a plan, and you need to work that plan in little and small ways to increase your self-sufficiency and independence. There is a higher probability that we will realize in the coming years we have only just begun to fall over the cliff than there is that we will suddenly wake up to everything perfect, peaceful, and abundant.
Let’s unpack this…
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WHERE WE ARE AT & WHERE WE ARE GOING
2020, while a memory we like to distance in my mind, was an abrupt moment where the relative calm was shattered. It marked the beginning of a deep transition starting off with COVID, political divisiveness and upheaval, protests in the streets, climate events, and rising tensions between superpowers. 2021 started off no better with the events of January 6th, more protests, a migration crisis, supply chain failures, the Taliban returning to power, and so much more. You would think we would have gotten a little time to catch our breath, but 2022 ushered in a global surge in inflation, a potential world war starting in Ukraine, global economies faltering, dramatic shifts in government, an escalating migration crisis, and soaring world hunger. Believe it or not, that’s just the 30-second summary of the highlights. Around the world, we witnessed everything from uprisings to extreme weather events to supply and infrastructure failings.
Here we are in 2022, and inflation has been bad, but the northern hemisphere is facing freezing temperatures with dwindling energy supplies. Plus, that nagging inflation is still pulling us deeper into a recession. We have pediatric wards filling up to capacity with kids with cases of RSV–Respiratory Syncytial Virus which has impacted a few in my own family. We have even less confidence in the government. We have a war that continues to escalate to a potential nuclear conflict and draws in more and more countries. We have a decoupling of the US and Chinese economies and rising tensions with China, even as we are witnessing the delivery of extremely high-end military technology to Australia. China is eyeing Taiwan and northeastern parts of Russia as territories it wants to expand into. It doesn’t matter if you are in the United States, Australia, Britain, Ukraine, China, Russia, or Brazil. The heat has been turned up. The conflicts are more significant. The crises are numerous and compound each other.
So, what will 2023 bring? It would be nice to imagine that it will get better because any worse, and we may find ourselves close to the point of no return. We may have already crossed that point of no return and at this moment, the future is not looking much better. 2023 will be worse in many ways. First, the stock of Russian oil and natural gas that will help European nations barely get through this winter will be all used up. If there isn’t a resolution to the Russian war on Ukraine and a resumption of that supply, the winter of 2023 will leave most of Europe, quite literally, in the freezing cold. Agricultural output will decrease. World hunger will dramatically rise. Migration and emigration will soar, putting a burden on all nations. The cost of all goods will go up. Some economies will fail, and a global economic depression seems imminent. This climate gives rise to just two lines of competing political ideologies- socialism and authoritarianism. These will compete in the streets and in the houses of government and create even more social discord in the process.
AGE OF REGRESSION
With these polycrisis events or compounding tragedies putting us in a state of permacrisis, it’s easy to feel helpless in the equation. We have clearly left a period of progress for a period of regression. The problem for many is that they have grown so far from their roots. Many have lost the old ways of doing things, but there has been a resurgence of sorts because of these tragedies. To regress is to return to a former or less developed state. That can be viewed, like most things, as either bad or good. For the prepper, that’s not necessarily bad.
We are regressing from the period of progress and abundance to rediscovering ways of greater independence and self-sufficiency even while the chaos of collapsing systems whirls around us. The COVID pandemic created an estimated 18.3 million new gardeners in America. 35% of US households now grow some vegetables, fruits, and other foods. They’re not self-sufficient, but it’s a start. There’s a surge of over 300k soap-making businesses in the U.S. There’s been an explosion of Do It Yourself that ranges from home to automotive repair. From microgreen farmers to anglers to hunters to cooks, there’s an explosion in people learning to do for themselves. Pickling and preserving food has made a comeback to the point that finding jars and lids at one point was challenging. These explorations of forgotten arts and skills are probably because we continue to see significant systems fail us as we regress from a time of opulence and security to a time of scarcity and insecurity.
There is no doubt in our mind that we will continue to decline from our pinnacle of just-in-time delivery systems. To wait for that period to return is a fool’s gambit. Even Jeff Bezos, one of the wealthiest men on the planet, has revised his company’s economic outlook. It probably will at some point in our history. Remember, there is an oscillation involved here that spans lifetimes. The problem is that it spans lifetimes, so it may not get any better before it gets far, far worse. So, what can you do to make it through to brighter days?
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF SURVIVING
There have been worse years in US history. There have certainly been worse years in world history. We have continuously cycled between periods of opulence, abundance, and optimistic hope for the future’s promise and periods of struggle, scarcity, and genuine fear of the future. These cycles are very broad and span lifetimes. Often we are only able to experience one of the periods. Sometimes we experience two, as your great grandparents would attest to having suffered through pandemics and world wars and then enjoyed explosive economic growth, better living through technology, industrialization, and unprecedented economic growth.
The common denominator through it all; the thing that got our ancestors through the lowest troughs of existence was their ingenuity, grit, hard work, and preparedness. They leveraged what resources they could hold on to and took raw materials to build their way out. Victory gardens and garage shops really built the world when the larger systems failed. They were makers, savers, and resource managers. They wouldn’t have called themselves preppers because surviving through hard times was simply what you did. Root cellars and pantries were large rooms and not confined to just a few cabinets and a refrigerator filled with products dependent on mass agriculture and supply chains that shipped thousands of miles from farm or manufacturing plant to sizeable commercial grocery stores.
It’s easy to feel cheated and betrayed, leading to anger and frustration. After all, we are supposed to be in this age of progress, but in reality, we’re slipping into a period of regress. That frustration leads to uncertainty and anxiety. It also can positively drive you to become more self-sufficient. Prepping is “doing,” but how can you best go about prepping when so many people tell you that you are too far behind the curve and unable to catch up?
WORK A PLAN IN SMALL & BIG WAYS
We have always said on this channel that even a little prepping will get you closer to surviving than no prepping at all. We must be honest with ourselves and admit that our governments will not likely step in and save the day when things go south. We must admit that supply chains will continue to struggle and scarcity and high prices are in our future. A 3-day food and water supply might get you through a natural disaster. 3-weeks would be better. A year or more with supplementation from even a windowsill garden will get you through a long period of dark days.
This was my motivation for creating the Prepper Roadmap. We wanted to put all my knowledge and experience in an easy-to-follow plan that can lead you step-by-step to preparing for a time when you have to be self-sufficient, and that time is edging closer and closer with each passing day. This is why we have released several free guides through the City Prepping channel. This is why we have made hundreds of blogs. You don’t have to use my strategies and plans, but you need to have a set of goals and a plan to ensure you have a closed loop and that you aren’t missing anything. It would be best if you had a plan to make sure there aren’t any gaps in your prepping that you will only discover when the chips are down.
Whatever plan you choose and whatever you prioritize as your approach, you need to begin in earnest working that plan in small and big ways. Every day, theoretical threats like nuclear disasters, EMPs, and prolonged extreme weather events coupled with infrastructure failures become more tangible. While these may not directly impact your zone, they will still impact your life. You will be far better positioned if you strategically approach your prepping activities and really take them to the next level.
You don’t need to dump thousands into gold and silver in the hopes of weathering an economic depression, but you do need to leverage your prepping to fight inflation and save money today. If the dollar buys less and less, but you are doing more with less and generating more of what you need, you will be fine. If there’s a run on banks or looting at the grocery stores, will you be a victim in the crowd or safely in your prepped environment? The decision is yours. The outcome is based on the plan you have today and how you work that plan in small and big ways.
We will be the first to admit to you that we don’t have a crystal ball, but we also don’t need one. We can look at the terrible last few years that continue with their ways and understand that we are in a permacrisis, a polycrisis, an age of regression, or whatever other term you might want to apply. Things may get better. We could wake up tomorrow with a new, brighter hope and outlook. The sun could break through the dark clouds we currently see on the horizon of our future. Then again, it might not. We might be better served to admit to ourselves that we are only at the beginning of a downward cycle, and it will get far, unimaginably worse from here. While I try to always keep this channel practical and avoid the fear porn so pervasive in this community, we have to admit that it’s increasingly getting more and more difficult to see a future without challenges that will test our ability to survive which is why we believe it’s more important than ever to get ready.
Given that reality, what will you choose? Will you begin to prep or double down on your current prepping? Will you get busy or succumb to the overwhelming anxiety? To me, this is a no-brainer, so let’s prep together. If you’ve just found this channel or not sure where to start, I’ll post a link to a video I did this year giving the basics of prepping for 2022. It’s a great starter guide to help you get started.
As always, stay safe out there.