On Being Prepared

On Being Prepared

I like the Twitter account for Everyday Carry. My daily carry is very basic: clothing on body, glasses on face, wedding ring on finger. I suppose those are everyday wearings. What I actually carry is simple: my smart phone in my left front pocket. In my front right pocket, a keyring with my car key, apartment key, and mailbox key. In my back left pocket, my wallet (which is not filled with much).

One could say I prefer to travel travel light.

The Things We Carry

Looking at Everyday Carry, I see knives and lighters and string and other tools carried in pockets. When I was younger, I used to carry a knife, string, lighter…everything I could — as if I believed I would find myself suddenly lost in the wild and in need of these things. I carried every key I owned. If someone needed a metric screwdriver, I could summon one from a pocket!

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I rarely used the things I carried. It was more like this: why would I need to start a bonfire or tie up bad guys with twine when I was simply walking up the street to the bus stop?

Just in Case

Someone once asked me why I don’t own a gun. They assumed it was some deep political statement. My answer was simple: “I don’t feel a need to own a gun.”

Guns are fun to shoot, but I prefer archery to shooting guns. If I lived in a bad neighborhood, I very well might own a gun. But I live on the upper floor in a quiet apartment complex in a town with very little crime. I fear the weather more than I fear waking up to a criminal in the apartment — and I don’t fear the weather, even during spring in Texas.

When I explained this way of thinking about gun ownership, the person I talked to said, “Yeah, but just in case, wouldn’t you want that security?”

I look at it like this: I feel more secure without a gun in the apartment than this person feels with a gun in their home. This person, every night — on some level — thinks about a home invasion as they set their gun on their night stand. Me? I just go to sleep.

The Unseen Carry

I realized something about the need I once had to carry so many things, “Just in case.” With those physical objects, I carried a head full of strange what-ifs. I wasted energy thinking about unlikely situations in which I saved the day with a magnifying glass, bottle opener, and a plastic toothpick.

Once I stopped carrying so much, my head cleared. I realized there is a lot to be said for trusting my abilities to think differently if I needed to solve a problem that string, a knife, or wire clippers could solve. (That, and I stopped breaking fingernails by trying to open obscure tools on my Swiss Army Knife that were in there so tight!)

Be Prepared

Many people see the motto “Be prepared,” and feel that their preparation should come in the form of carrying things for those “Just in case” moments that will — most likely — never come. “Be prepared,” to me, means having confidence to trust yourself to find solutions to things as situations arise — not fretting and running every doomsday scenario through your head that — if they ever happened — would still not work out as planned. Being prepared means looking back on all the things I wasn’t sure I could do and remembering that I can’t think of a time things didn’t work out because I can adapt.

These days, I don’t carry much at all and, because of that, even unseen baggage falls to the side.

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