Kin Lane

Going To The Store To Shop For Dinner Each Day

One of the highlights of my day when I am home in Seattle is walking to the neighborhood grocery store with my wife. We have an amazing locally owned grocery store which provides us with almost everything we need for her to make some amazing meals at home. The walk to the market each day is part of our regular exercise activity, but also is a ritual for us to supply us with what we need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We do not own a car anymore so walking to the market and shopping for what we can carry is is our regular routine-—something that means a lot more to me than it will mean to most people, and reflects an evolution of who I am, and how I see the world around me.

Growing up we always had a large pantry full of bulk and canned goods that we used to deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. We didn’t go to the store each day partly because the store was almost always 5+ miles away, but most importantly because society could collapse at any moment, and we needed to always be prepared. This wasn’t just your sensible disaster planning that every household should possess, this was rooted in a deep and inexhaustible fear that the shit could hit the fan on planet earth at any moment. It didn’t matter that there was no demonstrable evidence of this in any of our lifetimes, we wouldn’t buy a 1 pound bag of flour when needed it, we always bought several 50 pound sacks of flour because we needed to be able to survive for an extended period of time, beginning and ending at an unknown date and time.

I am still unpacking exactly why this reality existed, but growing up the concept wasn’t ever questioned. It just was the way things are. It is something that shaped our cooking and eating habits, and a it is belief I carried with me into adulthood–pushing me to always possess cupboards and pantries full of food that we didn’t always need or consume, just because the world could collapse at any point. It could be an earthquake or other natural disaster, but more likely it would be human induced financial system collapse, leaving us all to fend for ourselves. The end of the world was always right around the corner, and we needed to be prepared. Within this environment the notion of going to the store each day to get what you needed was just plain crazy—-despite actually doing that on a pretty regular basis because we needed produce, and other items that were forgotten when the bulk purchasing occurred. 47 years later I am still unpacking what the hell was going on, and work to prevent myself from shopping in this way, and not feeling crazy and unprepared for what might happen tomorrow by going to the store today.

If you haven’t grown up in a family like I did this sounds pretty whacky, but for many people this is a hard reality. A perpetual belief that society is going to collapse at any moment is a way of life for many people who live in rural areas, and even the suburbs or urban areas. In this state existence you are not equipped to ever assess whether or not we should be doing this or not. It is just the way it is. It doesn’t matter if the world has not ever collapsed in our lifetime. You hoard. You conduct massive shopping sprees for food, guns, and other gear whenever you can afford it. It doesn’t matter if things end up not getting used or going bad. The idea of the world ending keeps you warm year round. Anyone who questions this way of life is crazy, and you are the only one who is smart, prepared, and ready for the future—-despite not ever actually living today. I feel like there are many things that are lost when you live your life this way, but forfeiting actually being able to fully enjoy each day your are given on this planet is by far the most damaging.

Unpacking this view of the world has been very difficult for me. Learning to not have anxiety about the world collapsing has been one of the most difficult things I have done in my life. I was programmed hard growing up. However, over the last 25 years I have learned to better notice each day and let myself be more present, instead of perpetually fearing the future. I’ve witnessed how this has changed my finances and career. I’ve witnessed how this changes who I let into my life, and who I don’t. I’ve watched my anxiety levels lower, and my overall happiness go up. I’m able to enjoy simple things like walking to the store each day. I smile and say hello to the security guard walking into the store. I don’t buy things I don’t need. I’m eating healthier and I stress a lot less. I’m also pretty confident that if a natural disaster did occur that I would be alright. Not just because I have some canned goods in the cupboards but more importantly I feel like everyone in our neighborhood will be in the same situation and we’ll all pitch in to help. I’m pretty sure that many of the people I lived around growing up would have an everyone for themself attitude and would not pitched in like the folks would in my current urban environment.