What is “Normal?”

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The ongoing crisis in Japan is getting a lot of people thinking and talking about preparedness.   Sitting around the lunch table recently, some co-workers were talking about possible disasters, and their take on preparedness.

Two ladies mentioned they had bought handguns and were starting to go to the gun range.  This produced an amused, slightly nervous reaction from the table, as someone chimed in, “Well if things fall apart, we are going to your house!”  One guy mentioned he is really worried about being unprepared and wanted to start buying emergency supplies.  He had been looking at survival websites and thinking about how to protect his family from emergencies.   However, he was in the minority.   Most of the group felt 72 hours of food and water should be enough and not worry about anything else.

I asked the worried guy, how does his wife feel about getting prepared.  He said she understood the need for it, and agreed to buy a little extra at Costco, but just wanted to be left alone and lead a “normal life.”

This got me to thinking, what is defined as “normal?”  I used to think “normal” was working for a paycheck then going to the mall to shop and get all the latest fashions and gadgets because “I deserve it, I worked hard!”  Not anymore though.  I realized normal should include appreciating what we already have, being good stewards of our money and should also include preparing for any emergency so you can continue to have some comforts if or when a disaster hits.   As I saw from the group, this is still a minority view.  After the brief discussion, most of the people in the group started talking about the clothes and shoes they bought at the mall the previous weekend, then everyone went on their merry way.

What does “normal” mean to you?


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  1. Normal is having food, water, and supplies on hand so you won’t be one of those people waiting for the government to do something just in case anything goes wrong. Normal around here means staying away from the stores unless you are going to purchase something you need. Shopping trips are planned. (ok, every other Wednesday the grandkids get a slurpee on the way to religious school) Normal is also raising pullets in the house. Normal means kids are expected to do chores. Normal is carrying a weapon. Normal is knowing it’s a good day because you appreciate what you have. The most normal is being able to invite all the kids and grandkids over for dinner (18 people total) and maybe even some of their friends and being able to whip something up quickly, easily, and without getting stressed.

  2. I think that it’s the fact that “normal” could very well change in the near future, that’s got us all prepping. It was Harding, I think, who coined the term “normalcy” when campaigning for president. He promised a return to normalcy after WWI.

    The things that I most have in mind when prepping are a possible economic collapse or a terrorist attack that leaves the common people defenseless and/or without utilities, such as an EMP. I have to wonder if there even could be a return to normal after such a catastrophe.

    1. A complete societal and infrastructure collapse due to EMP, nuclear war would be hard to recover from, at that point, nothing would be “normal” Definitely a worse case scenario.

  3. Normal since 1960 has been the “just in time” system. Most people shop when they need something and expect it to be at the store when they go to get it.
    But for all the centuries before 1960, normal was putting away food, tools, fuel, clothes etc when they were available for the times when they would not be. That was not just normal, that was how to stay alive. The “just in time” system is what western people are used to but it is very artificial and most Americans just don’t believe that their food or needed goods won’t be at the store whenever they pop in.
    I grew up watching 2 grandmothers who went through the depression, and not being able to get enough of some needed thing was very real to them and so as adults they always had a bit extra set aside. So that was normal to me. I absorbed it from them. And I have been in the military and now work in healthcare and I have been trained to be able to say how I will take care of myself and my charges in an emergency so that is normal to me. I know for a fact that “help” will be a long time comming in a major emergency. And I have no intention of waiting 10 days for food, water or shelter.

  4. I grew up in a family that grew a big garden, fished for salmon canned and froze a lot of food, and did a big grocery shopping trip once a month. Normal for me has always been having 3-6 months worth of food in the house. My version of normal was normal for most of our grand or great grand parents and I think we’re getting back to that.

  5. Normal….its an interesting word….normal probably means different things to different people. Myself? normal is a way of life, it’s never trying to play catchup, it’s hunting /fishing /farming…living/laughing/loving….and never ever believing a politician…..to me thats normal 🙂

  6. I used to be like your co-workers wife… wanting to be prepared, but not wanting anyone to think differently of me. I kept it quiet for a while in order to avoid the sneers and snickers we seem to come across. But, the more I prepared, the more normal it became. It has changed my perspective on everything, and I am proud to be of the small percentage that are prepared.

    I think the more people realize that there are a lot of uncertainties in life, the more “normal” preparing will become.

  7. To me normal is the situation you find yourself in for a long period of time. In Haiti, I have to believe over a year later, some of the refugees consider their life to be pretty “normal” on a current day to day basis vs. what it was two years ago. I have to believe that “normal” is your state of mind. Being prepped to me today is “normal.” 20 years ago, I would not thought that it would have been too normal because I was focused on different things.

  8. I think that living as close to “normal” through an “event” is one of my goals. Depending upon the event – of course it will be impossible to live life like nothing has happened. One of the reasons I stock food – is to beable to feed my family when “normal” sources of food are not available. One of the reason I stock entertainment stuff – like battery powered DVD players and books – is to boost morale when “normal” entertainment items such as TV is not available. One of the reasons I have water purification equipmentis to be able to provide refeshment for my family when “normal” methods are unavailable.

    I am sure you catch my drift.

    “Normal”…….I wonder how long what we call normal today will remain.


  9. I think that “normal” would be always having extra food and water on hand in a safe room in your house. Also stocking that safe room full of blankets, flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches is a good idea. I believe that every family needs an emergency plan, especially in light of all of these natural disasters that have been happening. Thanks for posting!

  10. Normal is being prepared….for whatever. If you are prepared you sleep well at night knowing you have done your best for your family.

    Normal is having a safe home where you can keep it safe and keep its occupants safe.

    Normal is thinking outside the box and it feels “normal” to you.

    Normal is my new way of life.

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