A prepper’s perspective on gratitude this November

Hello! I’ve spent the past few days browsing this site since seeing it on 60 Minutes and have to say that so far it’s exactly what I needed in my life right now. Who knew there were AA batteries with a USB port in the side to charge them with!? Well apparently this site!

Something that is always on my mind this time of year and something I want to personally work on is gratitude. To make it relevant to this forum though, I want to share my thoughts about how being grateful is important for your mental health and for preparing in general. I have been prepping for the past 4-5 years, so I’m in no way an expert, but can say I have a basic knowledge that hopefully applies.

I find it ironic that on Thanksgiving day we sit down and with our loved ones and talk about all the things we are thankful for and then head out the next day and fight people over a coffee maker that is $20 off and we already have one that works.

Gratitude is overcoming discontentment of wanting more things. And not necessarily just things, but also wanting more experiences, more success, more recognition, a better job, a better marriage, and more more more more.

While those AA batteries that I saw and are so fascinated with are now definitely things I want, I took a moment to realize that I have about 30 disposables still and a handful of rechargeable ones that you plug into a brick to charge. I don’t need any more and need to be content and grateful for what I have. The cool batteries though will be on my mind when it does come time to replace the older rechargeables and if you didn’t have any rechargeable batteries before then that could be a good investment. Take a minute to analyze if you really need something versus just being a want.

Look at your unfulfilled desires and be okay with not having everything. “I’ll be happy when I buy that new car.” or “That new camp stove sure will make life easier” There’s always something to strive for and want isn’t there? Take the richest man in the entire world for example. He is still trying to obtain more things, the company Twitter being the latest example. It’s only in our nature to want more things and there is always one more thing you could have, even if you are the richest person in the world. Gratitude is being content with whatever you have, be it only the clothes on your back, what you currently have, or even if you are filthy rich.

It is hard to not compare yourself with others. Hearing about that person who just won over 2 billion dollars in the lottery, or someone driving by in their nice sports car, you think about what it would be like to be like that person don’t you? I do. Something that can help you though is to consider that if you are reading this right now, you probably are in the top 5% of wealth in the entire world. There are so many people who have so much less than you. People who may have no home, no food, no job, no legs, no sight, no family, no friends, no hope. There’s always someone above you who has more than you, but there is most likely a lot more people who would do anything to have what you have. Your life might just be that sports car envy of someone else. And just how I think about how I wish all those super wealthy people would just walk up to me and pay off my house, what do I do with my wealth and helping those around me?

I don’t want to go too long with this, but just want to remind people that it is important to be grateful for what you have. When we were born, we came into this world with absolutely nothing. You have much more than what you started off with right? Even if you lose it all in an earthquake tomorrow, you have so many past experiences and even the ability to read my ramblings right now. We have so much!

Survival is about being resourceful with what you have and making the best out of your current situation. Replacing the old generator with a new one would be nice, but you have a functioning one now that you can tune up and get more life out of and even if you didn’t have that, you probably could get by like so many people did before the generator was even invented.

Gratefully yours,



  • Comments (14)

    • 3

      I’m glad you found this site and I certainly welcome your comments.  As an old redneck, driving a beat up pickup with over 200,000 miles on it, I can relate to your comments above. 

      • 2

        That could be a whole post itself! I’d love to learn how you took care of it for so long, what repairs it has needed, do you wait until things break and then fix or fix before they break, do you repair it yourself or have a mechanic?

        Excellent example of being grateful and appreciating your vehicle. Every time I drive mine, I am amazed by how quickly and effortlessly I move vast distances. Cars are cool.

      • 5

        I’m certainly no mechanic.  I did nothing special besides making sure it got periodic maintenance.  I do the oil changes but that’s about it.  I guess it is a testament to the way Toyota builds trucks.

        I just retired end of last month, so I won’t be driving 35 miles to work & back every work day.  My plans are to keep it another 200,000 miles.  I like the way it feels.  It suits me.

      • 2

        Thank you Redneck for your comment. I’ve had cars get up to 250K+ and still ran like a champ, and others that started having too many issues to justify keeping at 130K. Guess some makes, models, and years are better than others, and if you get a good one like you did hold onto it and keep it running well!

      • 2

        I lucked out once and had a car that got over 400K miles! I did nothing special. It was a Chrysler product, late 1990s.

    • 4

      Welcome Debby! What a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the community. You say you personally want to work on gratitude, but from the looks of things you are doing a fantastic job by at least being aware of everything you mentioned. 

      You might like this other forum post where they talk about finding multiple uses for the same item. By thinking about what you can do with a single item, you become grateful for it and find more uses for it. Even if you think outside of the box like when I use my multitool as a hammer. It definitely isn’t meant for that, but for tacking in small nails it works.

      • 2

        That is a great forum post! I like all the ideas people have on there and will try and see items around me in multiple lights.

    • 4

      Welcome Debby, nice to have you.

      I recently subjected the chat server for TP to my escapades of relearning how to sew by hand and darning. I was able to use some basic cheap material to make myself a stuff sack and a couple of bandanas. I had been looking for some cheap ones to buy online and eventually was just like, hey, my mom has a lot of material that she’s not using, and some of it looks like what they make bandanas out of. She was on board and gave me some, I pulled some thread and needles, pulled some YouTube videos and after a few days had a bunch of stuff made up. 

      I very much enjoy using them, I know every stitch of them and eventually I’ll embroider some silly things on them. Hemmed a pair of pants that’s been sitting around forever, it’s very fun to say you have had your clothes tailored. 

      I also recently installed a sliding door and some insulation on an existing door and just tickled about how much warmer the house is. Which is good because it’s already getting pretty cold here. The scrap wood from installing the slider door I used to make a Lucet for my mom and a door opener for myself, which was fun to make and helps me a lot in the house. I caught my other bandana while making those with my saw, but instead of just leaving it that way, I darned the hole, and I’m looking forward to darning the wear spots on my fancy memory foam pillow cover.

      I would like new winter boots but the ones I have now, while ten years old, are basically brand new and hardly broken in. They’re still toasty and have so much sole life left, they were a good investment 10 years ago when I had money for nice boots. They’ll serve well if the winters stay like this.

      Then my mom found a canteen looking bottle that’s not a Nalgene or military issue at a thrift store, and I was extremely grossed out by it, but at the time, canteen Nalgene bottles had stopped being made. Eventually I realized that there are ways to economically and easily disinfect a thing like that in a way that’s actually useful: what do you eat with at restaurants with? So a good application of bleach and it’s nicer than using a soylent bottle and fits better in the sink than my other Nalgene bottles. Canteen Nalgene are still being made in small batches funnily enough, but it’s not a race to get one now. Plus I learned about putting paracord handles on bottles so you don’t grab the cap strap and prematurely break it, which on this non branded bottle, would be impossible to replace. 

      The household is modest on eating meat, it’s satisfying for us and helps with blood sugars when we can afford it. This last dinner, I split a acorn squash and skinned some potatoes. That’s all dinner was, with some paprika and brown sugar and maybe a couple sticks of butter. But I toasted the seeds with everything else and they came out really good. The squash was fantastic. The potatoes were undercooked but that’s what happens without skins. But it was a really nice meal even with minimal meat. 

      This is all reflected on with recently watching a video of someone driving a 100k SUV off the lot and totaling it instantly and it’s like dang, imagine just burning money. I need to get my SUV up and running again, but it’s becoming cost benefit about it, due to pattern failures that cost a lot and just general fuel inefficiency.

      Just different worlds I suppose. I still want more Swiss army knives and stuff, but the essentials like masks and such come first.

      • 4

        You are a great representative of the gratitude club.

        When you embroider things onto your pieces of clothing, that would be fun to try and stitch in helpful things like something that helps with navigation or possibly a password or secret code. Not sure exactly what you could do, but it would make me feel like a spy. 

        My winter boots had a small rip in them but I stitched it up and it still has a lot of life left in them too.

    • 3

      Welcome, Debby. You make good points about gratitude and perspective. Yesterday I lost electrical power to four outlets in my house, outlets used for my coffee pot, computer printer, and TV/internet. (I will need an electrician to sort it out.)

      At first I felt aggravated. Then I felt gratitude that other outlets / other circuits worked and that I could do without for a while until things are fixed. One of my core beliefs is that many things are true at the same time. Wisdom consists of which of many truths to act on (or not act on) in the moment. Thanks for your post.

      • 1

        Hope that you can get your outlets figured out soon, but I’m happy that you didn’t lose your entire house. Hopefully it was just the breaker tripping or wearing out and will be a quick and cheap fix for you. I admire your perspective about the situation though.

        I try and be more grateful around this time. Thanksgiving always reminds me of how blessed I am to have so much food when others in the world or my ancestors may have had very little. We live in very prosperous times.

    • 3

      Reading your post made me think of Leonardo DiCaprio’s (last?) line at the end of Don’t Look Up, which is a good reminder that the someone who envies your imperfect life might be… future you. (I won’t quote it, because it is a tonal spoiler if not a technical one— and because you should all watch the movie! It was good!) That’s a perhaps needlessly grim way of looking at things; a brighter way of looking at the same line/moment is that for all the things one might perceive as missing from their life, we live in a moment where an almost unimaginable variety of things, experiences, and information are far more available/accessible than they have ever been before. So… let’s try not to eff it up by wanting more. (And obviously I’m not directing that at folks who actually cannot access or afford things they truly need, or the small things that would make their lives brighter or more comfortable.)

      One of the things that I’m increasingly thankful for as I get older are the things I genuinely do *not* want that other people seem to want and/or to spend a lot of money on. I’m certainly not immune from wanting some kinds of nice and/or frivolous things, so I’m grateful for every instance where the culture wants me to want something and I genuinely have no interest in/desire for it.

    • 2

      Nice topic, Debby.  It is a good reminder for what I seem to learn more and more as I age.  Gratitude is having a grateful attitude which results in appreciating and being content with what you have.  In my mind, what you have covers a lot of areas that relate to prepping: stuff yes, but also relationships/community (friends, family, neighbors, TP), services/infrastructure (internet, email, electricity, water, food growers, trucking/trains, etc), capabilities (mental, physical), skills (survival, shooting, repairing, driving, swimming, etc), privilege (nationality, socio-economic, etc) and probably many others.  I aim to increase my appreciation for their contributions as well as stuff that serves me.   So often we don’t truly know the benefits we are enjoying until they’re taken away.

      • 2

        There’s an old poem about an old man that lived alone in a shack in the mountains. In the winter he drank tea around the clock. In the poem he states that he has a bundle of sticks by the hearth and enough rice for 10 days. I think of that gratitude sometimes.