This week, I’d like to spend a moment addressing something that’s one of my wife’s pet peeves. It’s struck me, as well; I don’t think I feel it quite as sharply, though. It would be: books on self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
Particularly, the fact that they’ve got a set of particular drawbacks, which may not be immediately apparent.
First, almost none of them take into account that you may have outside interests. Now, I’m not talking about “going out to eat every night,” or even going to five or six movies in a week (I actually know someone like this). No, I mean any of a variety of hobbies. (To be fair, I think many hobbies can be classed as “useful”–even if only to produce things that can be bartered or sold…)
The focus seems to be primarily on activities that directly relate to the “Goal” (self sufficiency, or whatever), but don’t allow for time spent on activities that don’t have a “reasonable” direct connection. Often enough, this seems to apply to the practice necessary to achieve real skill in something useful. (Some of my hobbies–brewing, archery, woodworking–take lots of practice for any real skill. Others don’t need the practice, but it helps for aesthetic reasons if nothing else.)
Then there’s the fact that they seem not to account for the costs that can be incurred in becoming self-sufficient. Have you priced even a small photovoltaic system lately? The books recommend paying cash for everything–but the amounts of money required for land, building, equipment, processes, and everything else–can be prohibitive. Apparently, we’re supposed to be financially independent first. (One tip for saving: assume everything is available on Craigslist, at yard sales, and thrift stores. It’s amazing what can be found, and for how little money…)
I could probably go on for a while about this. I’m certain that my wife could fill three or four posts. Expect to hear more about it in future…
As a bit of a preview, and for a slight change of pace, we’ll be attending our first “Survival/Preparedness Expo” this weekend. Assuming we survive, I’ll be giving my thoughts and opinions on it next week.