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A post-apocalyptic scenario, commonly known as TEOTWAWKI (pronounced teh-oh-twakee,) stands for “The end of the world as we know it.” In the early days of the prepping craze, 2009-2014 or so, TEOTWAWKI was on every prepper’s mind.
What does TEOTWAWKI mean?
At its most basic level, “The End of the World as We Know It” is defined as a complete and utter breakdown of all existing institutions. The governmental, societal, and political institutions we rely on to hold our civilization together in a (mostly) civilized fashion fail spectacularly, and life becomes a Mad Max world. The typical norms of society vanish. Contrary to R.E.M.’s assertion, we won’t feel fine.
TEOTWAWKI is a catastrophic event resulting in harsh survival conditions for a prolonged period.
TEOTWAWKI vs. SHTF
TEOTWAWKI is different than SHTF. SHTF is an acronym for “Shit Hits the Fan.”
SHTF scenarios are more temporary. Although things get pretty awful for a while, they eventually return to some semblance of normalcy. Examples might be natural disasters like hurricanes, localized EMP strikes, or hyperinflation. Many SHTF events strung together might result in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.
The idea of TEOTWAWKI struck a chord with Americans, in particular. They looked at the steep decline of their home’s value, the loss of their jobs, devastation to their hopes of retirement and any savings, and wondered if the end of the world as they know it is becoming a reality.
A new surge in prepping consumes us now as supply chain disruptions, inflation on everything, and the accompanying fear and uncertainty firmly grip us.
What if the world as we have always known it has ended?
Or, as one of my readers said, “I knew all along that the end of this will be the beginning of something different.”
As humans, we don’t care much for uncertainty. We like knowing what tomorrow will bring and how to plan weeks, months, and even years into the future, but it seems that God or fate or the universe has other plans for us.
So what are some inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI? Here are just a few of my personal observations and expectations, and let me warn you, a few may make you uncomfortable. Of course, I could be proved wrong.
Inconvenient Truths about The End of the World as We Know It
- Not everyone will survive. Ouch.
- For many, circumstances will trump preparedness.
- Preparedness will cost money. There’s no way around it.
- If you talk about preparedness, you’ll be ridiculed. If you keep your mouth shut, you’ll miss out on establishing a support system that could become necessary to survival.
- A rural retreat may not save you, as some believe.
- Stored food runs out, eventually.
- Even the best-prepared survivalist Navy Seal can be brought down by an infected ingrown toenail. Deaths from formerly innocuous things will rise.
- You probably aren’t tough enough for what’s coming. However, you might surprise yourself. Some who survive long-term might not be the ones you expect.
- Gold and silver may be useless if a world currency is established. Their use may even be criminalized. I’m not sure that money will be the answer in that circumstance. Find out why here.
- In a time of plenty, it’s impossible to imagine the reality of true scarcity.
- Survival is easy for armchair quarterbacks.
- Most survivalists and preppers are overly optimistic regarding how much food to store, what scenarios to plan for, and their ability to survive off the grid.
- TEOTWAWKI will change the way you and your children and grandchildren live. Forever.
- The minute you bug out, your chances of reaching your retreat destination are slim. Therefore, how survival-friendly is your location when you think of The End Of The World As We Know It? Do you live in a state where survival in hard times will be easy or impossible? Learn about the best states to live in here!
- You’re kidding yourself if you think your hidden caches won’t be found by others. Or alternatively, you’ll forget where you hid them. As proof, how many “buried treasures” are lost to history despite maps indicating their locations?
- You won’t know if you’re ready for TEOTWAWKI until you’re in the middle of it. After that, it will be a case of day-to-day survival.
- Ultimately, a too-powerful government will be the biggest threat to your survival — either a totalitarian government or smaller fiefdoms where “might makes right.”
- Life will become cheap.
- Free time will become a thing of the past if there’s a long-term power outage, because the bulk of your day will be spent scrambling to survive in one way or another.
- Damage to our power grid will bring about TEOTWAWKI, no doubt about it. Wondering how you might survive the early days after an EMP attack? Get my free report here.
- There’s nothing wrong with preparing for natural disasters. However, if you’re not ready for a collapse of the American economy or a similar worst-case scenario, you’re not ready. Therefore, consider if you have a skill that would bring in money or that you could use to barter? The more sources of income you have, the better your hedge against unemployment or complete economic collapse.
- Tough times will threaten even the best of marriages and other close relationships. Sadly, children will bear the brunt of much of this.
- Growing your own food is a bigger challenge than you ever thought possible.
- Savvy, desperate people will be able to easily identify the plants found in the typical backyard garden.
- Dealing with human waste and trash will become your new part-time job.
- You’ll discover exactly what you’re capable of when your family is threatened.
- Formerly strong and capable people will escape their new reality through booze, drugs, and/or suicide.
- Protecting and nurturing close family ties will become one of the most important things you can do.
- Don’t count on help from emergency services. Assistance will be limited and, eventually, unavailable as first responders turn their attention to their own families and homes.
- Trees in urban and suburban areas will rapidly disappear during the course of winter as people hunt for firewood to burn. Fruit trees may fall victim as well, despite their food-producing ability. Once the obvious sources of firewood are gone, as with other scarce resources, other sources are fair game.
Those who can accept and adapt will find survival easier than those who hold on to the past or have unrealistic expectations of the future.
READ MORE: Do you know the three warning signs that it’s too late to prep? Click here to find out what they are!
What do you think of these inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI?
I’m the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I’ve been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.