Archive for June, 2009

Today I Have Nothing. From Here I Rise!

June 29, 2009

Hello, I’m a 300 pound softie. Although I camped, fished, and worked outside a lot as a kid, being in the tech industry for the last ten years has left me out of shape, and unable to protect myself and my family should disaster ever strike. I’m looking to change that. But first, a little background.

When I was 19 years old, I had a falling out with my parents. I packed up everything my 1986 Ford Tempo would fit, and left home. I had to pawn some very precious possessions (and was never able to get them back) in order to pay the deposit on my first apartment. And the only cash I had to my name was a large jar of change I cashed out at the bank on my way out of town. It didn’t amount to much, but it was enough for gas money and food until my first paycheck at a new job. Except for one penny.

One penny in the jar would not go through the change sorting machine, because it was deformed. I looked at that bent penny and realized it was about 100% of my net worth at that point.

I remember that day, deciding that I was a man. I held that penny in my fist, looked up to God, and said, “Today I have nothing. From here I rise!” Over the years, I’d learn that there isn’t a day you “become a man” – every day that you make the right decisions for yourself and those who depend on you, you grow a little more in your manhood. Sure I was self-reliant, but a skinny 19 year old doesn’t need much. Now I have a family to provide for, and I understand that manliness is my ability to support and protect them.

That brings me to this blog. Fast forward a decade, and I’ve grown overweight and complacent. I’ve made attempts to lose weight and even get back into nature. Some were half-hearted, some were more committed. All have failed thus far.

First and foremost, I want to be able to take care of my family in an emergency. Our American minds tend to think in terms of 9/11. That may or may not ever happen to my city. Some of us think of Hurricane Katrina, and that’s getting closer. People complained about the federal government not doing enough, but here are some facts:

  • The city of New Orleans knew for a long time their levies weren’t strong enough, but didn’t invest in reinforcing them.
  • People were told to evacuate days/weeks before disaster hit, and many (maybe most) refused.
  • It takes time to mobilize disaster relief, and it’s incumbent upon us citizens to make basic preparations for the unexpected. We should be able to survive on our own for at least a week without water, electricity, and food being provided to us.

Whether you think the federal government responded quickly enough during Katrina is irrelevant. No amount of post-disaster outrage will bring back your family if you weren’t prepared, no matter who is at “fault”.

My other, parallel goal is to get in much better shape. Not only will it increase the survival odds of my entire family in an emergency, it will also improve our quality of life if Daddy is able to play more, and outdoor activities become a bigger part of our everyday lives.

So here I go. My goal is to blog every day about my efforts to become a survivalist. It started with the book Emergency! by Neil Strauss. We’ll find out together where it ends.