I have always had the fantasy of survivalism. It started as a little boy. That boy that picked up the stick and pretended to slay a monster. The same boy who built a fort out of random scrap wood, rusty nails poking in all directions, the risk of tetanus at an all time high.
My imagination ran wild. I was living off the land. Collecting piles of berries, weapons and setting booby traps. Most of the time the food was inedible, and I didn’t try anyway. It was part of the ‘game.’ The traps were foolish and were often Rube Goldberg like machines before I even knew what that meant.
It began to grow with video games. Precious, limited resources were found in all sorts of games. I needed to collect as much as I could and refused to use most of it. Saving it for that very special moment (that often never came). I began to be a power-up hoarder.
I would lie in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about how I’d survive the zombie apocalypse. I would ask myself what the best home in the neighborhood would work for defense. What buildings would I loot first, risking my life when the outbreak began? Would I be all alone? The only survivor. I would need food, water, weapons and tools. Gasoline would be important.
My imagination would run wild. I tried to live like this in a way in college. It became a game to see how I could feed myself for the lowest cost per week. A bag of potatoes, dozen eggs, block of cheese and case of beer.
How many various things can I create with that to feed myself for the week. Could I work for cash, join rewards programs, earn pennies for watching advertisements on my computer? Sell stuff? Maybe I can flip something from craigslist.
It continued. Let’s buy a house. Spend nothing. No credit card balances. A $600 loan for a washing machine was torture. Every cent saved. Aluminum cans, and scrap metal. More online click, videos and bonus offers for points to be redeemed.
I had to re-roof my garage. I calculated the number of shingles needed and completed the job with just one sheet to spare. Keep the other extra materials for use on some other project. The pack-ratting begins. Look at that dresser! Garbage? No. Time to become a garbage picker.
Then I met her. My now, current wife. And everything had to change. We began needing things that I never knew were important. Decorations. Form over function began to prevail and the credit companies were thrilled.
It’s been an adjustment for me to say the least. I’m used to zero balances and now hold massive ones. I have numerous 0% promo offers, signature loans, and other financial items. I’m doing my best to manage the balances, making minimum payments, transferring balances to new promotional accounts. I’m still clicking for pennies. I’m watching online advertisements for points. I get bonuses for opening new accounts, and free gear for collecting points from brands we buy.
I’m a survivalist once more. Strategy. Limited resources. Attempting to complete jobs and household tasks with items we already have. Trying to make ends meet with a strange new version of the bare minimum. I’m working through a zombie apocalypse, but I feel like I’m the only walking dead to be found.