Monday, January 16, 2017
This is a question I used to ask myself a lot when living (or should I say surviving) in Argentina.
I knew the answer well enough. I was surviving in Argentina and I did not like it. That’s why we left after all. Since then I can say we’ve been living life. It’s been a great life with my fantastic wife and kids. We live every day to the fullest and look forward to the next one. In many ways we’ve been making up for lost time. Every day I try to do right, do what I like and live it as the precious moment that it is. For all the talk about the snowflake generation, I do treat each day, each moment as one. As something that is unique, special, will last just a moment and I’ll never get back. Let me tell you, it’s a great way to live your life. If you do it you’ll look back and regret nothing.
What does it mean to “merely survive”? It means to just be alive but not do much living other than that. In our case the clear limiting factor was crime. Every time you left your home you felt exposed and you did because you actually were. You would walk around always looking around, you looking for threats. Even in crowded places you needed to be careful with pick pockets or snatchers grabbing your backpack, briefcase or in the case of women their purses. I’ve seen men get mugged, at gun point, at the train station in the middle of rush hour. The platform packed full of people and the robber sticking a gun to the guy’s face. It could truly happen anywhere at any time and it happened a lot, all around you. After we left Argentina, the thing that amazed us the most was that, security. The ability to go out for a long walk, pretty much anywhere we want and not fear getting attacked. Sleeping at night knowing that even is some noise wakes you up, chances are its not four or five guys trying to break in.
Crime limited you in other ways too. It dictates where you can live. Gated communities and apartments in safe buildings are fine, a more isolated house in the outskirts of town is not. When buying a new car, try not buying one that is too expensive or looks too good or you’ll get carjacked over it. A guy that I knew bought himself a fancy car and had it armoured so as to be able to enjoy it. A week later he was carjacked when getting in, robbed at gunpoint.
What can you do about this? The choice is either do something about it (try to avoid being a victim) or go into denial. I’d say 90% of people chose denial.
The other factor was of course economic. No matter how much money you made 25% inflation meant you couldn’t save up money at all. You had to spend it right away. With that kind of economic instability you can’t plan for anything beyond a couple weeks, let alone a few years.
Here is where I suppose a lot of people may feel represented. Not because of inflation but because of money being tight and living month to month with nothing left in between. That isn’t much of an enjoyable life either. Worrying about an unexpected expense, an accident or illness ruining you financially. Never taking vacations, always living on a strict budget. In my case I felt as if my life was on hold, as if someone had pressed the “pause” button in my life. What kept us going was the hope that soon enough we’d get to live for real. Be free to go out for a walk without worrying about getting mugged. Get to travel without the fear of our home getting picked clean while we were away. Get to dress anyway we wanted without worrying about having something on us that was of certain brands or worth a bit too much and it being too much of a temptation for a would-be robber. I mean, my wife and I, we ended up replacing our gold wedding bands for silver ones. It was common practice to avoid getting mugged. I still remember the day after we left that we got to wear them again.
When certain “preppers” talk about looking forward to SHTF, because they’ll do great while all the liberals die off, they have no idea what they’re talking about. Surviving sucks folks. It’s the living part that’s fun. Merely surviving sucks but it’s much better than being dead, most of all because it means there’s still chance you may end up living again one day.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.