I had a long talk this morning with one of the most thoughtful women I know and I thought that I’d share with you some of the things that she and I discussed. It won’t come as a surprise to my readers when I say that times are going to get tough. Really tough. What can you do, especially between now and January 20th, Inauguration Day?
- Get a passport. If you already have one, update it. There will obviously be a glut of people applying for passports and it will, as a result, take longer to get one. Apply now.
- Women: either get an IUD or have a tubal ligation, depending upon whether you think you may want children someday or you’re sure you won’t want any more than you have now. Do this now. Men who’ve been thinking about a vasectomy, do it now. No one knows for how long any forms of birth control will remain legal. Whether you think you may need them or not, buy Day After pills and condoms and keep them in your medicine cabinet. You or a friend may need them and, again, who knows how long they’ll be available? If you have a medical background, please learn how to do abortions.
- Pack a “go bag.” If you had to leave immediately, what would you need to take? Medications, some cash, socks, comfortable walking shoes, a sweatshirt, a transistor radio and batteries, a charger for your phone, menstrual supplies, energy bars, bottled water, copies of important papers (if you own a home and/or car, this includes a copy of your titles/deeds/etc in case you need to prove ownership when you come back), a First Aid kit, the one book you need to take (for me, that’s A Secret Garden and a Tarot deck, OK, I know that’s two), etc. If you do have to run, what’s your plan for your pets? Will you let your cats out to be feral? Will you bring your dog with you? if so, what will it eat? Keep your gas tank full; once a crisis hits, assuming that you can even buy gas, the lines will be long, the prices will go up, you may have to show your papers. Talk to family members and friends and arrange a meeting place or two. Maps. Printed out, paper maps. Your GPS won’t work if the grid goes down.
- If you have any kind of insurance or medical safety net (Medicaid or Medicare) get everything done that you can possibly get done. Have an eye test and buy glasses. See the dentist. Get a physical. Fill your prescriptions. Use up your flex account. Go ahead and do that “elective” procedure that you need but have been putting off.
- Along the same lines, and this is going to be a major goal of mine, get yourself into the best physical shape that you can. Not only will exercise, sleep, and good food make you feel better and lift your mood, we’re all going to need to be strong to face what’s coming. I asked myself Tuesday night what would happen if I had to hike to Canada, live off the land for a while, or carry a heavy backpack for hours and the answer was that, desk-bound old woman that I am, I probably wouldn’t make it and, worse, I might cost a friend or family members precious time. I’m going to do what I can to fix that. Quit smoking. If you can, get a flu shot. Make fire cider. Tincture elderberries. Start eating greens.
- Be careful, or at least conscious, on Social Media. First, too much of it is just flat out heart-breaking right now. Second, if they can hack Secretary Clinton, they can hack you. And, as we’ve seen, what may be innocent banter or sarcasm can sound very different when leaked to a hostile audience. Once they hack you, they can publicize where your children go to school, which nursing home your mom is in, where you work, where you park, your next-door neighbor’s data so that they are angry at and terrified of you. Similarly, re-think what you share on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. What’s on there that you should go back and delete? Especially if you’re going to be posting things that can be seen as opposed to the new administration, figure out with whom you want to share it and how. Some conversations should take place in person or over the phone (a bit more risky than in person) for the time being.
- Get your financial house in order and do it NOW. First, build up a nest egg of cash. The standard advice is to have six months’ worth of net pay in a savings account that you can access instantly. A years’ worth is better. Pay off all the debt that you can pay off. Think VERY seriously about taking on any extra debt or engaging in much discretionary spending. I would not borrow now for an education. I will not be taking an expensive vacation this year. If you have to take a second job or sell stuff you no longer use, or start taking in piece work at home, do it.
- Can you grow any of your own food, even a big pot of Swiss chard or a small plot of garlic? In much of the US, you can still grow some crops even in the Winter. Can you learn how to can vegetables, knit sweaters, darn socks, chop wood, keep chickens, use local herbs for healing?
- Do you have a plan for what you’ll do if you stay and for where you’ll run to if you need to run? Today, you can find people on social media swearing they’ll always stand and fight and people figuring out how to emigrate. What’s right for one person may not work for someone else. What works for me up to a certain point may be different from what I’ll do past that point. You have to decide what’s right for you and support others when they decide what’s right for them. But have plans.
And, last, but certainly not least, begin, or return to, or strengthen your daily practice. Now, when it feels as if it is least possible, is precisely the time when you need to ground, meditate, do some yoga, pull a morning Tarot card, light a candle, journal, walk the labyrinth.
Look, even if you do all of this stuff and everything turns out to be fine, you’ll be glad you did it.
A friend reminded me today of this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien ‘s Fellowship of the Ring: