“I’m going to quit smoking,” I declared proudly to my friends. “I just bought a gym membership!” exclaimed Aven. “I’m learning how to cook healthy food,” beamed Juan. It was eleven fifty-something, New Year’s Eve, 2020. We were excitedly discussing our New Year’s resolutions, empowered to enter 2021 with a purpose: we were each going to become better people… in our own ways. The clock struck midnight, the illegal fireworks were lit and for a few minutes we basked in what was to be a new era for each of us.
Cut to a week later, Juan and I were eating fast food almost every day again. A few days after that Aven changed his gym schedule from every day to every other day, to whenever he felt like going. Two weeks into January, I found a cigarette between my lips once again.
The emotional labor of self-improvement is simply too much for some of us. In lieu of personal improvement this year, I propose a new resolution; one that won’t require us to address our dysfunctions, but will benefit us and the people around us nonetheless. It’s time to acknowledge that we live in a rapidly deteriorating world.
Covid-19 showed us that the institutions we trust to protect us aren’t capable or even willing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all who live in this country. Although we have a new, slightly less bad president, the political turmoil that Trump stirred up is only going to get more intense until its inevitable breaking point. Global warming still isn’t being addressed in any meaningful way and America has become an open police state. We are on the verge of something huge: a new epoch for this country is going to begin soon, but things are going to get worse before they get better.
If we want to survive, we must become self-sufficient. Fixing our damaged world is going to require a new mode of production, one that doesn’t rely on mega-corps whose only motivation is profit. We need to be able to take care of ourselves. Self-sufficiency doesn’t mean you get to build your bunker and cower by yourself through the figurative nuclear winter-no matter how prepared you are, there will come a time when you need somebody’s help. There will come a time when those in your community need your help.
If we’re going to get through this, we’re going to have to do it together. In 2021, let’s resolve to become self-sufficient together.
However, that’s empty advice for someone who doesn’t know anything about self-sufficient living. Sure, just learn how to provide for all of your basic needs! It’s even more difficult than it looks! Over the next few weeks, I’ll bring out guides on how to start providing for yourself over the coming seasons. They’ll come with plenty of resources to help you wean yourself off the comforts of unsustainable western living. Until then, just take care of yourself. That task won’t always be as easy as it is right now.