Preparing For The Next Storm

Another sunrise is slowly creeping across our country. In the tranquility of this morning, yesterday’s storms feel like a distant memory.

For most people, that’s how life is.

We survive something potentially devastating. We manage to dodge some bullet. We manage to avoid some tragedy… Then we go right back to life as usual. We return to complacency and ignore future warnings until we have no choice but to go back on alert.

Those people who desperately scrambled to get water, gas, generators, food and medical supplies… The ones who waited until the storm was inevitable… What are they going to do now?

Are you going back to your social media as a perpetual distraction? Are you going back to life as an armchair quarterback and making life decisions based on heavily edited news feeds and celebrity endorsements? Will you simply return to grazing as a mindless sheep?

Will you wake up?

Think about where your mind has been for the last few days. For those of us on the east coast, bracing for the storm, protecting our families, reaching safety.. Those have been the only issues that matter. For the last few days, survival was the only issue.

Now, as power is already being restored and roads are opening up, our focus can return to getting the best deal on our cable bill and which celebrity is screwing who. We can finally go back to hours of daily propaganda and sales pitches.

A friend of mine lived in Belize for over 30 years, originally as a peace corps volunteer and later raising a family. When he finally returned to the states, he was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff people had filled their life with. He said that the constant barrage of consumerism and materialism was almost unbearable. People were more concerned with their stuff than they were with their life.

A concert promoter once told me that he never bothered advertising a show more than three weeks out. Even big headliners were forgotten about or the information was disregarded if folks were given that information earlier than that. Three weeks was the time frame he used to get it on our calendars and keep our attention.

He said people can’t be expected to plan or prepare for anything, even something that really matters to them.

Christmas comes every year, but most stores start urging us to spend money and buy stuff early into October now. It comes every year. We don’t forget about it. They just want an early start to boost sales. The Christmas season comes earlier every year so they can survive the year on guaranteed sales.

Before that annual celebration of love, hope and happiness comes and goes, someone will be posting videos of people fighting and trampling each other for the latest toys and gadgets, just so they can produce momentary euphoria and later throw it in a closet.

I urge you to examine your priorities right now. While Hurricane Matthew is still fresh on your mind, think about what has mattered the most for the last few days.

When you go back to slinging credit cards and blowing through savings, spend it on things that matter. Invest in your family. Invest in your ability to provide security, food, power, and water. Invest in things that assure a stronger stance when the next tragedy rolls in.

Having the biggest TV or nicest car in your neighborhood means nothing when your family is hiding in a closet without the things they need. Surrounding yourself with stuff means nothing when your family doesn’t even know you or like you.

My challenge today is to step up as a father and husband. Change your focus. Figure out what matters and make appropriate changes. Show your family the love by showing them that you care about them.

I don’t claim to be perfect or have all the answers. When my wife announced that she wanted a divorce seven years ago, it blindsided me because my focus was so far off. That trauma could have been avoided if my eyes had been open as to the way I was neglecting the things that were most important.

When Hurricane Matthew hit, we were prepared. For the last year or so, we have had our eyes open to multiple possibilities for survival threats.

Our stockpile of food, the extra batteries, the solar chargers, backup radios, water storage, medical supplies and cooking tools have been in place for a while. We didn’t know what to expect until days before it hit, but living near the coast makes it logical. Sooner or later, a storm was coming.

Our grandparents survived the Great Depression because they were self sufficient. They knew how to grow food and live without dependence on the power grid. They understood the potential for wars, hunger and financial loss. They raised close-knit families that took care of each other. They knew their neighbors and depended on each other during hard times.

The economy is in much worse condition than we are led to believe. The stock market, banks and our currency are on a dangerous track to fail in a devastating way. Overseas alliances are forming that look forward to a day when we are caught sleeping and unprepared. We are being manipulated by corrupt government leaders and only given the news they want us to know.

By my estimation, we are in about the same place as Austria prior to World War Two.

Wake up folks. Do what you have to do so the next “storm” doesn’t catch you in gas lines or fighting over a loaf of bread. A wise man sees the evil and avoids it.

For the sake of your family… Wake up.

I want to add two resources for you to consider. For opening your eyes to family, my book Becoming a Better Man is full of stories relating to mistakes I made and solutions we found. For all things related to planning and preparation, Off The Grid News has been become one of my favorites.

M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at, and through his books, which are available at Amazon.

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