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Thursday, August 21, 2014

But Really, What Can I Do?

Posted by Dave on July 12, 2011

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any.  Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I spend 40 hours a week sitting at a desk.  I have a decent knowledge of accounting via the hundreds of hours of studying and application of the skills, along with a degree in Economics.  After perhaps reading too many post-apocalyptic books, I have come to realize that if push came to shove I really don’t have a whole lot to offer outside of these skills.

In the latest “collapse” book I read (Patriots by James Wesley Rawls) an economic collapse was triggered in the US which caused society to basically break down into anarchy, with people forced back to homesteading as food and other supplies ran out rapidly.

I’m not  a part of some fringe sect of survivalists, (really, I promise I’m not) but as part of my personal finance plan, I generally look at the worst-case scenario of any possible situation and attempt to insure I have at least some sort of a plan to combat the down-side scenario.  In a situation where I may have to live off of what I can produce by myself, I’m thinking that my desk-sitting ability may not come in too handy and my knowledge of accounting would not be overly useful to anyone.

It seems to be over the past 30 or 40 years or so that a sort of “hyper” specialization has taken place, with people gaining knowledge in only a few areas, while not bothering to figure out the basics of life, some people don’t even know (or care) where their food comes from.  My grandparents, when they were growing up still butchered their own meat, built their own houses and really didn’t look for outside help unless the task they were carrying out was new or extremely intricate.  Compare that to me, who can barely do basic home repairs without breaking something, and there seems to be a disparity of skills.

So, I have no “real” skills – I am not really all that handy, have never really built anything substantial by myself and really don’t have the opportunity to do so at this time.  The main thing I’m missing and I think my grandparents (and more so my great-grandparents) had was time – none of them worked in “town” they all lived and worked on farms and essentially grew the food they ate.  In doing so, they learned real skills which, other than a small percentage of people in North America have largely disappeared.

I have previously written about Homesteading as a quaint lifestyle – I don’t believe it would be easy, but I do think even a partial setup which would allow some self-sustenance would not be out of place.  I really don’t think that there is a significant risk of financial collapse occurring, but gaining some real skills, such as the ability to build something (anything really), hunt/fish/farm would be useful.  What it all boils down to for me, is that what I know how to do, if there is a major problem with the economy doesn’t really translate into survival all that well.

Do you have any “real” skills?  Does the possibility of a significant Economic collapse concern you?

Comments

7 Responses to “But Really, What Can I Do?”
  1. I’m an accountant and I had a really hard time with not really having any skills. It was so bad, that I figured I would get out of accounting and get into something where I could work outside and build REAL skills.

    A couple of years later and I’m not a practicing accountant, but I’m still in a cubicle… and this post further reminds me that at some point I want to live in the country and grow my own vegetables and self-sustain. Sad that it has to be a long-term goal, but I just don’t think I can afford it (financially) in the ST.

  2. kate says:

    This is one area I am passionate about. Not as a survivalist, but as someone who believes we need to have generalists, and that we need our children to know where our food comes from, how to grow it and prepare it. I garden, I sew, I have built things. I’m not living in the country on a homestead (although there is part of me that is very attracted to the concept), but in the suburbs of a small city. My husband and I have always taken pride in being able to do tasks that we could earn money at or trade with if we had to. It’s comforting to know that if the jobs were gone, if the skilled work we specialize in for some reason ended, we could still get by. And so the possibility of a significant economic collapse doesn’t really concern or scare me.

  3. George says:

    Your grandparents probably didn’t have as much time as you think they did. What they had, however, was the opportunity to prioritize their time which you do not have since you have a boss that wants you in the cubicle all day.

    Personally, I went to a polytechnic high school and had classes in machine shop, electrics, foundry & pattern, photography, and majored in electronics (pre-engineering). Went to college intending to get an EE degree, but I then got an English degree with a heavy emphasis on math. I intended to be a technical writer, but wound up doing high-level computer support. I now have a 1500 sq ft workshop full of tools and cars and racecars and 1 acre for gardening.

    Significant economic collapse? Doesn’t concern me apart from losing access to cheap energy (oil, gas).

  4. lanie says:

    worked in the high arctic for a bit and had to have many survival classes….so, i can snare a rabbit, build an igloo (you never know…), make fire, shoot a gun (hate it) and much more.
    Besides the survival courses i can also grow a mean garden….have one right now….and know how to grow one indoors too.
    would have to run around naked though as i can’t sew or knit….

  5. Jacq says:

    I would win Survivor if I could remember just 10% of what I learned growing up. If you really want to learn that stuff – and I don’t know why you’d really want to, check out a couple of the Foxfire books out of the library. Definitely not a glamorous life. I tend to like the idea of it more than the actual doing of it.

  6. M says:

    Oh, this is so up my alley! I’m no survivalist, but I’d like to consider myself a bit of a DYI woman. I’m lucky I married a really handy guy who fixes most things. I taught myself how to cook, garden and raise livestock.Living this way (and it’s only a hobby right now) isn’t by any stretch quaint; it’s hard labour mucking barns, hauling hay and weeding. Animals tie you to the home. But the trade-off is knowing what you eat, enjoying the variable personalities of your stock, and grieving when they die. Why not start simple by container planting or joining a community garden for the short summers here? It’s a great way to learn from others and network resources as you learn. You won’t regret it.

  7. vecchio 14-16, finì adottate al fine di Scuola regionale Streatley primaria per essere curati per mezzo di paramedici. Un bel paio di coppa riduzioni riscontrate nell’incontro., MBT Chapa GTX donna arresto Pit Tamigi Corte parlato di questo 43-anno-vecchio proprietario dell’auto in treno sono stati arrestato con sensazione di guida a rischio. Questa strada sembra essere d insieme ad una deviazione integrata quando la guarigione che appartengono alla disciplina accaduto. La visita del tempo di blocco

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