A Lack Of Planning On Your Part Is Not An Emergency On Mine

The title of this blog post is brought to you by a chief I had in the Navy. This was one of his favorite things to remind people as he instructed us in the art of becoming pharmacy technicians. I, personally, never heard him drop it when someone was actually panicking, but I do like to keep this phrase in mind.

The reason it comes up today, though, was because of a TV show I recently binge-watched when I had time. It’s on the Discovery Channel and it’s called Homestead Rescue.

On the show, a man and his son and daughter travel around the country to bail out modern homesteaders who are in over their heads and are about to lose their homesteads.

Much of the time, the problem is that they’re not utilizing the land correctly or they lack certain skills or something, but for the most part, these are people who jumped feet first into something they didn’t really understand.

And then they need someone to bail them out.

First, let me say that I’m kind of addicted to the show. Homesteading is something I’ve been interested in for some time now. Imagine a barbarian homestead in the wilderness where I grow my own food, raise animals, hunt, fish, and just live a quiet life.

Ah, that would be glorious.

But the last thing I’d like to think I would do is move onto a patch of land with nothing on it and start trying to make a life for myself when I don’t have a damn clue how to do it.

One guy swore to his girl that he’d build them a cabin. The problem was he didn’t know how to build anything. What they ended up with was a death-trap waiting to kill them both.

Another had this idea of raised bed gardening, but clearly didn’t understand the concept very well.

They jumped into the deep end and clearly didn’t have an inkling of what they were doing.

Again, I get it.

So many people talk about their dreams and few follow them. Truth be told, I really don’t have any room to judge. My own escapades in the newspaper business weren’t all that different from theirs, in its own way.

Then again, maybe my own history is part of why I’m both fascinated by the show and why I shake my head at these people.

You see, while I hoped for a miracle, I didn’t beg someone to come and save me. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I don’t know if it actually saves these people or not. There are follow-ups on the show where they see how they’re fairing several months later, but long term? Who knows.

Yet I can’t help but watch these people–and think of myself–and think of the words of my chief.

They had a lack of preparation, and it didn’t constitute an emergency on anyone else’s part.

Unlike with me, they had someone who they could turn to for help. They got support and education from people who have been homesteading their whole life.

The thing is, though, they end up helping like six or seven people every year directly. That’s it.

Most homesteaders are stuck having to figure out their own stuff. They might watch the show–assuming they have cable or satellite TV–and pick up some tips, but it’s still on them to solve their problems.

Honestly? That’s how it should be.

I know how painful it is to lose everything. Especially when you lost everything due to your own lack of knowledge and preparation.

But that’s also why you need to take time before you jump into it. You need to educate yourself before you start anything, then you need to start slowly and build from there.

You don’t get in over your head and end up drowning due to your lack of understanding.

Everyone should make a leap from time to time. Life without those leaps isn’t really life.

But it’s one thing to make a courageous leap into the unknown. It’s quite another to make a foolish leap into that same unknown out of pure ignorance.

I’m fascinated by the show, and there’s a lot of ideas I want to explore in that show, but this isn’t the time or place for it. What this is the place for is remembering that following your dreams is awesome, but if you don’t prepare yourself first, your dream could become a total nightmare and there’s no one to save you.

A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on anyone else’s part. Never has, never will.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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