“When You Should Not Adapt In Place” by Sharon Astyk

Please take the time to read and carefully consider the points Sharon Astyk raises in this post. For many African-American women and their children, where they are living and what they’re doing is not viable in any long-term sense.

This applies on many different levels. For example, I know that with each year that passes, I’m becoming less tolerant of subzero Midwestern winters (even though I’m originally from Chicago). I also know that heating and other subzero weather-related costs will continue to rise. I won’t want to spend that kind of money on staying warm when I’m a senior citizen. So, I know I need to make some adjustments to my lifestyle—such as moving to an area that’s more livable year-round—while: (1) I’m still young enough to do so fairly easily; (2) before anything happens that forces me to make those kind of major adjustments; and (3) before anything happens that makes these desired adjustments impossible. The point is to get as optimally situated as possible for the long run.

ASK YOURSELF: ARE WHERE AND HOW YOU’RE LIVING RIGHT NOW VIABLE FOR THE LONG RUN?

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59 Responses to ““When You Should Not Adapt In Place” by Sharon Astyk”

  1. Joyousnerd says:

    I have been thinking along these lines for many years. I shared in previous comments that my father was crippled, suffered long and hard, and finally died of MS. There is a genetic component to the disease that is not fully understood as of yet.

    So I know that I face an elevated risk of a similar fate. This is a terrifying and painful thing to accept. I am doing what I can to reduce my likelihood of developing MS: taking vitamin D and B vitamin supplements and including more fresh organic foods in my diet.

    These things may not be enough to prevent the disease. So, I have to think ahead. I look around me in the US at the situation of the chronically ill and the disabled… and I do not like what I see. Extreme poverty, exploitation of every sort and almost NO safety net outside of the family structure. I am a stay at home mom, which is already a precarious situation. MOST men start to cheat and then leave when a woman becomes disabled. I don’t think my husband would, but I have to face the reality of that possibility. What would I do under those circumstances?

    This situation is not pleasant, far from it. But it is more pleasant to think about such heartbreaking things NOW while I am young, healthy and have support than the alternative of waiting until the worst case scenario is thrust upon me.

    So what will I need to be ok if the worst happens? I need CASH. The great leveler. I NEED EU citizenship. With EU citizenship I can move within the EU to the areas that have the best medical care and support services for the disabled. I cannot abide the prospect of being trapped in America with MS. I refuse to go out like that. So I’m doing all that I can to acquire both money and mobility (via dual citizenship) now.

    Of course, the EU might fall apart. It could happen. So that’s why I need to have a large piece of land that I can make available for sharing with family and friends. They potentially could need a place to live and can care for me in exchange for a place to stay and land to farm.

    I don’t often talk about this kind of extensive life planning because people try to pooh-pooh my concerns, tell me it’s not feasible, or that I’m crazy etc. I realize that they are threatened by realizing how woefully unprepared they are for a storm that might befall THEM and seeing me prepare points that out. So I say nothing, but I never stop thinking and planning.

    Great post, Khadija.

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Joyousnerd,

      I am sending you lots of support and prayers. I think you are very wise in planning for this and you are right it all does seem lonely at times bc everyone seems to poo poo the things that are important to you.

      Even if the EU falls apart you still have the freedom to relocate to other countries that may have good healthcare with your EU citizenship and passport that may raise flags if you were to use your American citizenship/passport.

      Cuba for example. Cuba is reported to have the best medical care, but Americans can’t go there. If you had some savings you may be able to create a nice life.

      I am just using this as an example – I don’t know all about Cuba, but its just an example of how you doing what you are doing would give you greater options.

      I even heard that some latin american countries provide privileges to certain european nationals who relocate and do business in their countries. So if the EU falls you still have options.

      And at present even though the dollar is a mess both the dollar and Euro can go far in those countries.

      So you have options and there is more than one way to skin a cat. 🙂

      Wishing you the best.

      • Joyousnerd says:

        Thank you so much for your kind wishes and useful advice! It never occurred to me that other countries might have the medical care I will eventually need (due to MS or another ailment from old age) and that a second passport could provide that benefit. I really appreciate you pointing that out.

        I found out today that the Slovak government has an online A1 and A2 language class for people in my position! They want to make it EASY for American and British people of Slovak decent to come “home” (bringing fluent English skills to teach, business acumen, and capital). Other applicants have to jump through multiple sets of flaming hoops to get in.

        You ladies are such a benefit to me! Your support and great ideas enrich my life.

      • JoyousNerd,

        You said, “I found out today that the Slovak government has an online A1 and A2 language class for people in my position! They want to make it EASY for American and British people of Slovak decent to come “home” (bringing fluent English skills to teach, business acumen, and capital). Other applicants have to jump through multiple sets of flaming hoops to get in.”

        {happy dance}

        That’s wonderful news! From what I’ve read over at The Sovereign Man and a few other places, a number of EU countries make it easier for Americans of those countries’ descent to get passports.

        What Oshun/Aphrodite mentioned about some Latin American countries providing “privileges to certain european nationals who relocate and do business in their countries” is also very encouraging. Clearly, the thing is to get a 2nd passport in an EU country. Any EU country that one can get into. It seems that once you gain one EU 2nd passport, you have a number of other options in terms of mobility throughout Europe (and other places, it seems :-)).

        This is yet another example of how we never know what’s available until we actually look. And KEEP looking. (Which will be discussed in an upcoming post.)

        The point is to keep creating as many choices as possible for ourselves.

        “And the ants went on with their work!”

    • D,Palmer says:

      You are not crazy with your planning, Many people I encounted are not prepared for anything. There favorite statement ” Only white folks think that way”. I am in college and the economic is not getting better. As a young african american woman I must plan my life in order to maintain my health and emotional wellbeing. I have taken classes in business,finance and yoga. You are a thoughtful person with common sense.

  2. JoyousNerd,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    Guurl, you ain’t neva lied; what you’ve said is some REAL talk that more AA women need to consider. What most AA women currently do is stick their heads in the sand about these matters. Which, of course, compounds the difficulties that do occur in one’s life. As Ms. Astyk said in the beginning of her post,

    But I do think it is important to begin the class with the assumption that everything is on the table. Because as little as each of us likes to admit it, it is. There will be many migrations in the coming decades, many of them unwilling and unwanted. And it is always easier (not easy) to consciously choose to step away before you are forced to leave than it is to abandon in pain and storm and disaster your home and never be fully able to return.

    (emphasis added)

    It’s always easier (NOT easy, as she noted) to get something together before circumstances FORCE you to get it together. Since so many AAs refuse to think these issues through, we wait until we are forced to act in the context of “pain and storm and disaster.”

    You said, “I look around me in the US at the situation of the chronically ill and the disabled… and I do not like what I see. Extreme poverty, exploitation of every sort and almost NO safety net outside of the family structure.”

    That’s the unflattering reality.

    You said, “MOST men start to cheat and then leave when a woman becomes disabled.”

    Another unflattering reality. In general, wives are supportive of their chronically ill husbands; while husbands are NOT supportive of their chronically ill wives. If, for whatever reasons, a woman is at increased risk of becoming infirm in the future, she MUST NOT put herself in a position where her husband is her only source of support. Because most husbands won’t “be there” for their wives if their wives become infirm. Of course, there are exceptions; but that’s the overall pattern.

    As you said, most men start cheating and ultimately abandon a wife who becomes chronically ill or disabled. John Edwards. Newt Gingrich. (Gingrich cheated on his first wife and told her he wanted a divorce while she was recovering from surgery for cancer! He subsequently cheated on his second wife with a much younger aide.)

    You said, “This situation is not pleasant, far from it. But it is more pleasant to think about such heartbreaking things NOW while I am young, healthy and have support than the alternative of waiting until the worst case scenario is thrust upon me.”

    That’s very wise of you. And I hope similarly-situated readers are taking notes. Most AAs don’t even think about these issues until after the worst case scenario is thrust upon them. These conversations we’re having are all interconnected at the end of the day. There are droves of AA women—young women—out there who are already dealing with the opening stages of chronic ailments (high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on). Folks need to start thinking about how they have their lives structured.

    Most AA women have situated their lives in a way that everything must continue to work right for them to simply survive. I’m not even talking about comfort right now. If even the slightest thing goes wrong, then they’re SOL. It’s all too precarious. They haven’t done anything to create or seek out a soft, cushioned landing spot for themselves just in case. So, when their chronic health problems escalate, they don’t have a soft place to land. And, as a consequence, neither do their children.

    You said, “So what will I need to be ok if the worst happens? I need CASH. The great leveler. I NEED EU citizenship. With EU citizenship I can move within the EU to the areas that have the best medical care and support services for the disabled. I cannot abide the prospect of being trapped in America with MS. I refuse to go out like that. So I’m doing all that I can to acquire both money and mobility (via dual citizenship) now.

    Of course, the EU might fall apart. It could happen. So that’s why I need to have a large piece of land that I can make available for sharing with family and friends. They potentially could need a place to live and can care for me in exchange for a place to stay and land to farm.”

    {standing ovation for the courage to face reality, plan, and take action}

    Yes, indeed: Cash AND alternative places to live that have a more civilized social contract (than the US) in terms of how they deal with disabled people.

    You said, “I don’t often talk about this kind of extensive life planning because people try to pooh-pooh my concerns, tell me it’s not feasible, or that I’m crazy etc. I realize that they are threatened by realizing how woefully unprepared they are for a storm that might befall THEM and seeing me prepare points that out. So I say nothing, but I never stop thinking and planning.”

    I understand the “grasshoppers'”* frightened reactions, but it still angers me when they try to discourage the “ants” from continuing their preparations. If the grasshoppers are willing to run the risk of dying in the cold, that’s their business. But they should stop trying to sabotage the ants who have the sense to prepare.

    [*See the fable of The Grasshopper And The Ants.]

    “And the ants went on with their work”!

    • joyousnerd says:

      Thanks for your support. It gets kinda lonely being a BW ant/sojourner. Having this safe, sane and supportive place to pow-wow means so much to me.

      I have tried to talk sense into grasshoppers before; I’ll never do it again. My time and energy are finite resources with high value. I refuse to waste them, esp on those who refuse to see the plain truth staring them in the face.

      And now, let me go study my Slovak language book.

    • JoyousNerd,

      You’re welcome!

      You said, “Having this safe, sane and supportive place to pow-wow means so much to me.”

      I feel the same way; I learn so many life-enhancing things from you and the other readers. As a side note, this is why I can be harsh with people that I feel are hecklers. We’re working on literally life-saving and life-enhancing projects here. There are thousands of frivolous Black blogs where hecklers can hang out, talk smack, and practice their bad-faith debating skills. Hecklers need to go to those places where their games will be welcome and appreciated.

      You said, “I have tried to talk sense into grasshoppers before; I’ll never do it again. My time and energy are finite resources with high value. I refuse to waste them, esp on those who refuse to see the plain truth staring them in the face.”

      I totally understand. I only give ONE warning—just enough so my conscience is clear that the particular grasshopper can’t honestly claim that nobody told them—and then I’m through with it.

      You said, “And now, let me go study my Slovak language book.”

      Indeed! 🙂

      I’m beginning to think the 10,000 Sentences Method suggested by the All Japanese All The Time blogger might be the Holy Grail of language study!

      HUGE THANKS to Jarinda for mentioning the site during the latest Language Adventurers post! I’m excited by what I’ve experienced in doing it for the last few days—faster and greater retention of new vocabulary because I’m learning it in the context of meaningful sentences. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

      (1) I’ve been mining the Spanish sentences from sources that I’m actually interested in (as opposed to stale, dry Spanish textbooks). I try to stick to things I’m genuinely interested in—things I would be happy to read in English. I’m mining sentences from the Spanish translations of 2 books that I bought, but haven’t yet read in English: Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom and The Eight (which is a DaVinci Code-type thriller).

      (2) Reviewing my sentence flashcards for about 5 minutes of down time during each hour (roughly).

      Even though creating flashcards can be tedious, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how addictive this method can be. Once you see the increased and faster retention you get by using this method, you get greedy and excited to learn more. LOL!

      One caveat about this method: I wonder how effective this method would be for a complete beginner who is totally unfamiliar with the target language they’re studying. When I compare the Spanish translations to the original English-language books, I can sometimes spot the small differences in meaning created by the translators’ word choices. [Different words have slightly different shades of meaning.]

      Another interesting observation I’ve made while using this method: English is often a more compact language than Spanish. It often takes more Spanish words in a phrase or a sentence to communicate the same idea. In all my previous years of classroom-based study, I never noticed this before.

      “And the ants went on with their work”!*

      [*Said in solidarity with, and celebration of, the ants in The Grasshopper And The Ants. :-)]

      • T says:

        Yeah, I noticed this too. When I was translating some sentences for an Argentine friend, I had to get to the “meat” of the phrases, what they would mean in English, so that readers could better understand. It was a tedious process, but it gave me a greater appreciation of languages and how they work.

      • GoddessM says:

        I adore Khatzumoto because all of his teachings are free. The only time you have to pay is if you’re too lazy to read lol.

      • joyousnerd says:

        I am howling with laughter reading the 10,000 sentence guy’s blog! He is such a talented writer, and I bet he’d be fun to hang out with.

        Where I’m getting a bit stuck is that I don’t know from this SRS stuff… maybe I should use index cards? There are only a few sites I’ve found so far that are written in Slovak, but its’ a start. I don’t need to be fluent for the permit to live/work/buy land/get healthcare (similar to a green card). But I’d rather overdeliver on this in case they want to play games and get all persnickety with me b/c I’m black.

        • JoyousNerd,

          Yes, he is funny. 🙂

          I briefly played with the Anki and Mnenosyne (spelling?) SRS programs. I don’t like being stuck with sitting at the computer to use something like that (I don’t have an iPhone or any other portable gadget that could use those SRS programs).

          IIRC, the All Japanese All The Time blogger used the SRS programs AND wrote out Japanese sentences on flashcards.

          So far, I’m sticking with filling out my blank Vis-Ed cards as flashcards. At 3.5 inches x 1.5 inches they’re smaller and thinner than regular sized flashcards. (At that size, it’s easier for me to keep 30-50 of them with me to review throughout the day.)

          In terms of folks acting crazy about a residency permit because of language competency, you might want to check out whether Slovakia has a (beginner level) Slovak language certificate like the ones described for other countries’ national languages in this post from Fluent in 3 Months. http://www.fluentin3months.com/language-diplomas-no-courses/

          I would imagine that having one of those certificates would eliminate minimal (beginner) language competency as a legitimate quibble.

          Expect Success!

          • Joyousnerd says:

            {Doing the Cabbage Patch} Thank you SO much for this advice! I did a little googling and I’m well on my way here. The application had said a language school certificate would suffice for that requirement. Now I’ve found 2 programs that could fit the bill, and I’ve sent off for the information.

            You and your blog are awesome! {throwing roses}

  3. Everybody,

    While I’m thinking about this, let me emphasize a few points. This sort of planning is NOT about fear or living in fear. It’s another facet of self-care and self-love. It’s about giving yourself the gift of “the hook up.” 🙂

    It’s about taking a rational look around, noting whatever potential hazards might show themselves later on, and taking steps to ensure that your lifestyle STAYS comfortable. Similar to the Sovereign Man blogger, when I look around I’m actually quite optimistic about the future. That is, I’m optimistic about the future for those people who prepare. I’m optimistic for “the ants.” Despite this current Age of Turmoil, there are still so many new opportunities and tools at our fingertips. For those who actively seek, there are plenty of ways to MAKE a way for oneself. The Sovereign Man blogger said,

    The game as we know it is being reset, and the new rules have not yet been written. For those who are well prepared, this is a time not of fear, but of once in a century opportunity. During this rough period, the die shall be cast for generations. Fortunately, we can see what’s coming and there is still a bit of time to act.

    You can survive and thrive in the Age of Turmoil and over the next several days I intend to lay out a set of core principles which, when adopted, can shelter you from most of the pain, and position you and your loved ones to reap great rewards.

    http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/age-of-turmoil/

    I agree. And I’m inviting as many BW as possible to join the ranks of the prepared!

    “And the ants went on with their work”!

    • Clarice says:

      “While I’m thinking about this, let me emphasize a few points. This sort of planning is NOT about fear or living in fear. It’s another facet of self-care and self-love. It’s about giving yourself the gift of “the hook up.”
      Thank you! Finally someone gets it. This sort of planning is not living in fear – living in fear is refusing to face the hard cold facts about possible events because it is unpleasent or uncomfortable and staying locked in a negative thought loop or action actually in-action cycle. Living in fear is not moving for fear of losing the status quo. Maybe none of these things will come to pass; but by living well you have lost nothing by preparing. Better to have and not need than to not have and need. Worse case scenario a person makes all these preps and the worse does not come to pass – the positioning and preps give them the means to do other more pleasurable things – net loss = 0 net gain in terms of peace of mind and freedom of mobility and creating options – priceless.

      Clarice

      • Clarice,

        You said, “the positioning and preps give them the means to do other more pleasurable things – net loss = 0 net gain in terms of peace of mind and freedom of mobility and creating options – priceless.”

        Indeed!

        Expect Success!

  4. MsMellody says:

    I am wholehartedly ACCEPTING this invitation Khadija!!

  5. joyousnerd says:

    Oooh, I need to check out this 10,000 sentences thing. I’ve decided that once I know 500 Slovak verbs, I’ll sign up for an online language exchange. I don’t want to be tedious to my potential partner, so I want a decent baseline first. I LOVE learning languages!

    Your distinction between being an ant and living in fear is important to make. Yes, *some* people do allow themselves to be crippled by fear. I’ve been there and I still struggle not to allow fear to stop me.

    However, that allegation of living in fear is often used in bad faith. Some people won’t do even the smallest things for their health, safety and future. They want somebody else to create a perfect life for them and drop it in their lap. When an ant points out to such a person that a Mack truck is barreling down on them, a grasshopper will remain in the speeding truck’s path with the declaration that they refuse to live in fear. Those people are using an excuse to avoid the hard work of taking responsibility for creating their own lives.

    For example, I have heard people openly admit that they have extremely unsafe sexual practices including unprotected sex with multiple anonymous partners. When someone invariably says they should use condoms and consider staying zipped up more often, then comes “I refuse to live in fear of AIDS” from the hardheaded grasshopper.

    There is an eastern european saying that translates roughly to: He who will not use his head will have to use his back (or backside, depending on the clean or dirty version lol). I don’t want to use my back OR my backside! So the only other choice is using my head.

    Happy to be an ant,
    JN

    • JoyousNerd,

      You said, “However, that allegation of living in fear is often used in bad faith. Some people won’t do even the smallest things for their health, safety and future. They want somebody else to create a perfect life for them and drop it in their lap. When an ant points out to such a person that a Mack truck is barreling down on them, a grasshopper will remain in the speeding truck’s path with the declaration that they refuse to live in fear. Those people are using an excuse to avoid the hard work of taking responsibility for creating their own lives.”

      Yeah, that “living in fear” slogan is used as a way of avoiding dealing with reality. Also as a way to avoid doing anything that requires delayed gratification. The grasshoppers have all sorts of word games and slogans to justify their behavior. I’m bored with them AND their slogans.

      Expect Success!

  6. lunanoire says:

    It is so refreshing to hear a BW remind other BW to prepare for upcoming changes and likely hardships.

    Although I live in an apartment with no terrace or yard space, I joined a local volunteer organization to learn gardening skills. It may be winter, and I may currently live in a place that is not a great fit for my lifestyle, but the time is a blessing to work on certain things- regular exercise, learning (languages, finance concepts, etc.), and preparing for the next stage.

    My employer has free access to the Rosetta Stone, and unsurprisingly, there’s a waiting list.

    This employer has also recently offered an opportunity to transfer in several months, and it would provide me to achieve my lifetime dream of living in NYC. After a year, the plan is to apply to graduate school for a program in international real estate development, with the goal of working in real estate in a BRIC country, preferably Brazil.

    Also, given the bad reputation NYC has for single women, I’ll cast a wide geographic net and socialize with internationally-oriented people to learn and grow and date, and move after graduation.

    • joyousnerd says:

      Now that sounds like a great plan! Remember, Princess Angela met Prince Maximillian (of Lichtenstein) in NYC. So even though it’s not the best dating scene, it still does have lots to offer. I lived in NYC for a year myself. I hope you have a ball and meet your prince, too!

    • vonnie says:

      I hope that the transfer goes through for you! That’d be exciting since you are one of those people who wants to live in NYC 🙂 hope that you thrive

    • Lunanoire,

      That sounds like a good plan. I like the way you’re keeping the next stage(s) in mind. Far too many AAs drift into things like leaves in an ocean. Or, if they did have plans, they fail to step back periodically and review the plan. Plans often become obsolete. But people don’t notice that sometimes because they’re on autopilot.

      Expect Success!

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Congratulations!

  7. Jarinda says:

    This post has had me looking up ways to get a free graduate education in one of the EU countries all afternoon! I’m already “guaranteed” a free undergraduate education and I don’t want to have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a dentistry degree. Graduate school is my next big decision about the way my life will progress–everything else I need to work on can be done from anywhere in the world. I’ve always wanted to study abroad, and if I can do it while accomplishing my goals for free, well why not?

  8. Rhonda says:

    Sorry for the “drive-by” comment to this post — not much time today, but I have a few thoughts from the comments I’ve read (really, skimmed):

    1. Someone mentioned MS (Multiple Sclerosis). You might want to read the book “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Enig and Fallon. It is not only about weight loss. It is mainly about how the increased eating of saturated fats (specifically, taking a few tablespoons of coconut oil — believe me, that stuff heals!) can improve one’s health and/or prevent illness/disease from taking root in one’s body. I remember the book talking about MS and AIDS. Also, you might want to do some research into a paleolithic way of eating and living (going outdoors daily during daylight hours, etc) to keep MS away from your door. Advice, which you can take or leave: Keep away from grains, even the “healthy whole grains”; that food-stuff will ruin your health.

    2. Top Ten States People Are Fleeing However, I think, if you can get out of the US (trouble is, so many countries are going the way of this one) for a “better” country (perhaps, one with a real democracy, and that treats its citizens with a modicum of human decency), it is better than fleeing to a so-called better state in the US, because, just as bad as some states are, now, the so-called good ones will be the same way soon; that is why I shan’t flee billions-in-the-hole-in-debt California, for it shall be the same in — let’s say, North Dakota or Tennessee — a few short years. At least in this part of California, I’m closer to quality food sources from small farms (damn that S510 food bill that AgriBusiness is pushing through our corrupt federal politicians!) and good weather. When, I leave Cali, it shall be for another country.

    3. The 10,000 Sentences method of the All Japanese All The Time author is great. Khadija, you can get lots of sentences, if you don’t already, from movies. To stay in tip-top-shape with Spanish, and push me further along in French, I watch French movies with Spanish sub-titles. Also, I watch English-langugage movies (which often do not have Spanish dubbing) with the Spanish subtitles, and I find that the translations are accurate, so that is a good way to pull sentences from Spanish as it is currently spoken.

    • joyousnerd says:

      Thanks so much for your book suggestion. It’s hard to admit but in many ways I have been pushing myself INTO getting MS because I’ve long had a carb addiction (trying to break it now) and have spent insufficient time in the sun. There have been many times I spent WEEKS without direct sunlight! I’m trying to create a new habit of going outside daily. I’m trying to change all of my unhealthy habits to turn this thing around.

      I feel, deep down, that a paleo diet might be the best thing for me.

      Let me stop being cheap and go get this book.

      • Karen says:

        JN,

        I went “cold turkey” on the Paleo Diet at the beginning of September with the intent of only a 2 month “trial basis”. The results were positive that I have made it a permanent change.

        I have slight arthritis in one foot that would flare up with swelling. Since I made the change, I have no further incidents. My doctor notice that I have increased mobility in the joint.

        I already was diagnosed with gluten intolerance but was still eating corn, rice and potato products. With the paleo diet I eliminated them too and also lost about 10 pounds since September.

        I highly recommend trying it out. I find that when I eat now something that I should not, my body immediately lets me know that it was not a good choice.

        Good luck!

        • Joyousnerd says:

          Thanks for sharing your results. I’ve heard similar accounts from others. What coul it hurt to try? If I don’t get results I can always stop. I ordered a copy from the library today. (I’m trying to stop buying so many books!)

    • Rhonda,

      You said, “However, I think, if you can get out of the US (trouble is, so many countries are going the way of this one) for a “better” country (perhaps, one with a real democracy, and that treats its citizens with a modicum of human decency), it is better than fleeing to a so-called better state in the US, because, just as bad as some states are, now, the so-called good ones will be the same way soon; that is why I shan’t flee billions-in-the-hole-in-debt California, for it shall be the same in — let’s say, North Dakota or Tennessee — a few short years. At least in this part of California, I’m closer to quality food sources from small farms (damn that S510 food bill that AgriBusiness is pushing through our corrupt federal politicians!) and good weather. When, I leave Cali, it shall be for another country.”

      I’m inclined to have similar plans. When I leave Illinois (which is the No. 2 state that folks are leaving), I’ll probably also be leaving the country.

      I’ll say more about some of the variables I believe folks need to consider in my reply to Karen’s comment below.

      Expect Success!

  9. Faith says:

    This was a great post and another addition to those writing about Minimalism, Lifestyle Design, Location-Free Living and making other preparations for the future. I’ve found a few new blogs that I’ll be sharing as well.

  10. RColeman says:

    I love this blog! No matter what I am thinking of or going through, this place gives me additional food for thought to be able to navigate out of the land mines that are constantly out there.

    Case in point-

    Today was my peer review evaluation. Peer reviews where I work are done anonymously by all staff on ones performance. One also gets a self-evaluation form to fill out prior to the evaluation.

    It asks about your plans for 6 months, 2-3 years & 5 years. I purposely answered “Too many options to list here”. I had no intention of letting them know any concrete plans, I like to keep all my options open.

    Now understand that although I work at a community owned grocery co-operative (which is supposed to be an environment that has employee relation/work related standards that are unlike what one encounters in the regular job sector) I have ran into- you guessed it- HATERS.

    It appears that because I do not have all my eggs in one basket (meaning that I have more than one income stream going) or gasp! reduced my hours of working there to pursue other personal projects outside of it that I have been perceived as not being as totally dedicated to the cooperative. In other words I am not wholly reliant on being there for my livelihood and therefore cannot be pushed around.

    My supervisor that was giving the evaluation was concerned and said that I “do not talk about what is going with me outside of work” so that everyone would not have that perception.

    I agreed. And I told her that I have no intention of letting anyone know anymore that I have been disclosing. I am a very private person at work.

    As I was discussing this with another “Ant” she put it to me this way- “How dare you have a life and do what you do with this type of economy?! How dare you have a life that they can’t have and can only dream about having when they are in their 60’s if even then?! How dare you have choices that exclude them?!”

    The ability to be flexible in your life and have executable choices in a way that benefits you….priceless.

    • RColeman,

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it!

      You said, “The ability to be flexible in your life and have executable choices in a way that benefits you….priceless.”

      Indeed.

      Expect Success!

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Keep up the good work! I love that you are not in a position to be exploited and I admire your stealth.

  11. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    Excellent post and very timely. A wise old man I once knew stated “never become too attached to a home” that it causes you to miss out on an opportunity.

    It was a very valuable piece of advice when I was younger.

    In this “Age of Turmoil”, the major question among others that would need to be answered is whether you are an “island” in this “home” or part of a community that is interconnected.

    If the answer is an “island”, then it bears consideration to assess whether it is the right place to live. We live in interesting times and being an “island” can be a dangerous situation. It is important to have “family” (biological or those that become family through shared values). If you have that where you are, in my opinion, that carries more weight than how attractive a “new job” may be if it means leaving that network of family and friends.

  12. Dear Karen,

    What you’re highlighting in your comment is extremely important. In fact, it’s a Make Or Break point.

    You said, “In this “Age of Turmoil”, the major question among others that would need to be answered is whether you are an “island” in this “home” or part of a community that is interconnected.

    If the answer is an “island”, then it bears consideration to assess whether it is the right place to live. We live in interesting times and being an “island” can be a dangerous situation. It is important to have “family” (biological or those that become family through shared values). If you have that where you are, in my opinion, that carries more weight than how attractive a “new job” may be if it means leaving that network of family and friends.”

    A certain degree of transient lifestyling is okay when you’re in the college/grad student age range (under 30). However, once you hit your 30s and/or you have children, you really need to think about whether or not you’re putting down roots somewhere. Most AA women are islands for all practical purposes. Many of us are giving UN-reciprocated support to the people we have in our lives. Many AA women are also living in places where “roots” (meaning supportive networks and neighborliness) CAN’T grow. The soil is too toxic for that.

    Familiarity does NOT equal neighborliness or mutual support. Remember Esmin Green. Remember that she was an active churchgoer who sang in the choir (presumably at a Black church).

    What is on my mind the most right now is a news story I ran across while traveling: the shocking death of Esmin Green, age 49, in the county hospital in Brooklyn, NY. She collapsed and died on June 19, 2008, after spending nearly 24 hours in the hospital waiting room. Hospital workers did nothing to help her as she lay on the floor for over an hour. Eventually, a staff worker walked over and poked her prone body with her foot!

    The lack of respect and compassion evident in this facility is deplorable but it should not be surprising in a public mental hospital. There is a huge degree of institutionalized racism and discrimination against persons with mental illness throughout the American health system.

    What saddened me was the role of Ms. Green’s church.

    Ms. Green had recently lost her job as a day-care worker and subsequently, her apartment. She was sending money back to her six children in her native country, Jamaica. She was active in her church, singing in the choir and running children’s activities.

    She had been having problems with anxiety and appears to have suffered some kind of psychotic break. According to CNN, Esmin’s pastor made the decision to call 911–“a decision that haunts her.” I don’t fault her pastor for making that call, but I do wonder why no one stayed with her all that time in the ER. What if someone had been there to get her food or water? To summon help? She might still be alive today.

    If the pastor was not available, could not a lay person have been found? If the church truly forms a family, how can it abandon one of its members at the gates of hell and hope that everything will be all right? I am sure that everyone involved meant well, but I think there is a lesson here for church communities. We simply cannot wash our hands and trust that the “proper authorities” will take care of those in the most acute need.

    Because, honestly where else do people have to go?

    http://southerncrossbook.blogspot.com/2008/07/remembering-esmin-green.html

    Let me repeat: Familiarity does NOT equal putting down the sort of roots that will sustain and nurture you.

    A lot of AAs confuse familiarity with putting down roots. And so, many of us remain in physically deadly Black residential areas because we’re used to the faces we see there. Black residential areas are totally devoid of neighborliness—the soil is too toxic for anything like that. Truth be told, most modern AAs are incapable of forming mutually supportive networks among themselves. This deficit is at the core of all our problems as a collective.

    The violent crime that goes unchallenged in AA residential areas is an extreme version of a lack of neighborliness. A similar but milder lack of neighborliness exists in many comfortable, affluent White areas. This lack of neighborliness seems to be an overall American problem. I suspect the increasingly transient nature of US residential areas has a lot to do with this. [With large numbers of Americans moving cross country for jobs and college.]

    The exceptions that I’ve witnessed—places where people in a neighborhood still actively look out for each other—tend to exist among tribalized, ethnic White neighborhoods. I get the feeling that the folks in those sorts of neighborhoods have simply transplanted (and inherited) this from the towns and villages their grandparents left in Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Greece.

    Of course, not every White ethnic neighborhood functions like that, but from what I’ve seen, this sort of active looking out for neighbors is more likely to happen in those sorts of neighborhoods. The problem is that clannishness (is that a word? LOL!) is the flip side of active neighborliness.

    I will also note that the Black folks I’ve know who live/have lived in Europe describe a different situation there. Apparently, there is still an entrenched sense of neighborliness in many European neighborhoods and towns.

    Neighborliness and “roots” matter. A lot. The whole point of putting down roots is to be among and near people who are going to be helpful. You need a “tribe” of helpful people close by. That “tribe” can consist of family (biological or chosen), close friends, and neighbors who understand the concept of neighborliness.

    All those hours and years that so many BW spend grinning and skinning with:

    1-biological relatives,
    2-the people at a Black church/mosque
    3-the people who live on their block

    means NOTHING if these people won’t actively support, sustain, and nurture that woman. Especially during times of need. Remember Esmin Green.

    Familiarity ≠ Putting Down Viable Roots!

    More AA women need to ask themselves: Is where I’m living right now a place where I can put down some roots that will actually help sustain me?

    Expect Success!

    • ann says:

      Good Post as usual.

      In reference to putting down roots…for the more mature woman where would you like to retire? Think safety? Are you going to be driving? What about public transportation? What about a retirement community that caters to retired people? Speaking only for myself I would not want to retire to a mostly bc.

    • tertiaryanna says:

      “All those hours and years that so many BW spend grinning and skinning

      So true, and this is such a necessary reminder. I’m also thinking of those dead-end romantic or pseudoromantic relationships. I think dating and even having a little fun are normal and healthy. But there are too many BW who are investing their romantic and sexual energies in the kinds of relationships that won’t be there when times get even a little tough, much less when things get really bad.

      I also think that too many BW have been cast in the role of saviour. They get so tapped out handling other people’s drama, that there’s no energy left to buffer themselves. When they need help, it’s not available, and the people who were dependent on them are still needy.

  13. Truth P. says:

    Thank you for this post Khadija.The fear of change and coming hardships can be crippling at times.It is something that I am working to overcome.There is alot of hardwork ahead of me.There are so many things that i’m undecided on that I have to make a decision on soon.But there is no looking back.
    Sometime you fear the destruction but you also fear whatever it takes to keep from seeing the destruction.Kinda like when I’ve went to see the dentist.I fear the pain that I might feel if I go but I also fear losing my teeth in the long run.

    Please pray for my strength and i’ll pray for you all as well.

    • TruthP.,

      You’re welcome. Yes, I’ll pray for you (and thank you for your prayers).

      Let me emphasize: Yes, there are points of concern, but there’s no reason for fear. At least, no reason for the “ants” to be afraid. As long as one is willing to think clearly, adapt, and use every available opportunity, then the odds are in one’s favor.

      The “grasshoppers” (especially AA grasshoppers) who are ultra-dependent on things remaining as they were before the economy crashed (“good gub’mint jobs,” plentiful welfare payments, programs to accommodate their chosen dysfunctions, etc.) are the ones who are in deep trouble. The grasshoppers are the ones who should be afraid, not the ants who are calmly continuing on with their preparations and work.

      “And the ants went on with their work!” 🙂

    • tertiaryanna says:

      I will pray for your continued strength!

    • joyousnerd says:

      This comment really resonated with me… I can relate to how you are feeling here. From what I’ve seen of your character via your contributions here, I personally have faith that you can make sound decisions and that you will choose wisely. {big hug}

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      I will pray for you as well. I am somewhat in the position Khadijah mentioned a few posts above. I have wanted to put down roots for a few years, but am unsure where. I like heat, humidity, and water, but I am unsure about the economic climate of these places.

      I have amputated useless relationships basically all the ones I had were no value and I currently don’t have any new ones to replace them with.

      It is challenging to meet ants in real life. I am trying to shake my extended family tree in order to vet and find some that I can establish mutually beneficial relationships with.

  14. Foxycleopatra says:

    @ LaJane Galt,

    Thanks a lot for replying to my question on the Remington post.

  15. Energize says:

    Watching that disastrous Katrina unfold was a wakeup call for me. When I seen ALL those black folk being herded to that colliseum with NO other options and no money to hold them over until the storm ended, I knew i had to do something to better prepare myself. The one interview that stood out for me was a woman walking to the colliseum (she was obese and barely moving) with 6 kids and no man around. She did not even have a vehicle. I have to keep asking myself, am I prepared for a Katrina? This blog is such a blessing of idea sharing and truth telling.

    • Oshun/Aphrodite says:

      Co sign Energize. That incident should be a huge clue as to how things like this will be handled in the future. I kind of had a feeling that AAs would really suffer with that incident.

      The other eye opener for me was that I have met some white folks who were destroyed by Katrina and had businesses destroyed in the BP spill and those people have been treated in the same ways. I am thinking if you are ignoring “your own”…. I can’t be lax about covering my butt.

    • Joyousnerd says:

      Yes, Katrina was a wake-up call for me as well. I realized for one thing how little of a safety net there is for ANYONE in this country. We are all operating without a net for all intents and purposes. So what each person needs to do is make their own safety net in advance. Those who fail to do so will be left to suffer and die.

      Of course those who are barely keeping head above water during the best of times will suffer first and hardest during times of trouble, they are already suffering during sunshine and good times!

      Another thing that really woke me up was an incident in the winter of 2005. A family from California got lost in the snow and the husband froze to death when he left the car to go out and find help. His wife was waiting in the car with a toddler and a newborn. He was an Asian-American IT guy who had a podcast and a website… he reminded me of my husband. The family had almost no food in the car, no warm clothes. The whole family almost died.

      Seeing that made me start looking into emergency preparedness. Men are so hardheaded sometimes, it’s up to us women to think and plan ahead for these things. My husband for instance felt that my desire to put warm clothes, extra food, a flashlight etc in the trunk meant that I didn’t have faith in his ability to protect our family and get us safely from point A to point B. *roll eyes*

      Another woman would have let his stupid ego get in the way of preparing but not me. I tried to reason with him for a while but in the end I just packed up the provisions we’d need in case of emergency and put them in the trunk.

      Having a husband is good but letting them run the whole show is for the birds. Now I know that if we get stuck somewhere I’ll not starve or freeze and neither will the kids. I also set aside some stored water, toiletries and food in the house. Let him pout, I don’t care. I won’t suffer to protect his fragile ego.

      • ann says:

        Many behave as if they have not learned anything from Katrina. I believe Katrina bought alot of government inefficiencies. Bush said it himself, “You cannot depend on the government…”
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        [Khadija speaking: I beg to differ to a certain extent. No, you should not leave yourself and your loved ones totally dependent on the government. A responsible adult does what they can to save their own lives.

        However, disaster relief IS a duty that every government owes to its citizens. Mass disaster relief activities are far above and beyond the capabilities of individual, private citizens. It’s not unreasonable to expect that if a government herds/steers its citizens to what it claims to be a place of refuge and shelter, then that shelter should be adequate for the task.]

    • Energize,

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it.

      “And the ants went on with their work!”

  16. Evia says:

    @ I’m also thinking of those dead-end romantic or pseudoromantic relationships. I think dating and even having a little fun are normal and healthy. But there are too many BW who are investing their romantic and sexual energies in the kinds of relationships that won’t be there when times get even a little tough, much less when things get really bad.

    ITA! And I’m going to tell y’all right now who these bw are going to run to for help. YOU ants! LOL! I know this because this is what’s happening NOW and has always happened and it seems so normal and is in line with your teachings or your <i)"programming."

    For ex., my sisterfriend came over the other day. She is a smart, wonderful woman but she’s an absolute mule and she cannot AFFORD to be a mule. We’ve talked about that often. She has admitted that she will always be a mule. She cannot depend on her husband; instead he depends on her, and they have 3 young children. I’ve noticed that whenever she comes by, her phone begins ringing with usually bw callers asking her if she can take them someplace, babysit their kids, do errands for them, lend them money, etc. Or it’s her husband telling her what he needs for her to do for him. She told me that the minister even calls her sometimes to ask her to pick people up for church and he doesn’t ever give her anything for gas. When her van needed another transmission, NONE of these folks (not even her husband) offered her a penny to help her with the repair expense. I volunteered to give her the money for the repairs because she’s my sisterfriend. She declined my offer. However, I COULD afford to help her that one time. We have a reciprocal relationship. Most of the time, bw cannot afford to help each other like this.

    Bw are going to count on each other for help because bw have always depended on each other even during those times when bw behaved sensibly. Of course, bm in general also depend on bw to a staggering extent. The entire bc depends on bw and bw have been indoctrinated not to say “no.” That “yes” chip is in the bw’s program. This has always been the way things were.

    Just because the masses of bw are behaving foolishly these days doesn’t mean that the chip has disappeared. That “yes” chip in their program will continue to make them give, give, give unless they can rip out the chip. But there’s another chip in the program that defends the first chip and so on. Chips are there defending chips. Bw are not born with the chip. It’s inserted as they grow up. We know this because we can clearly see that the bulk of bm definitely do NOT have that “give-give-give chip/yes-chip.” Bm also know that when bw run out of something, they can go to other bw to get the help, whether it’s her female relatives or Sistas so-and-so at the black church, etc. They know that at least 95% of other AA women have been indoctrinated to help them. So, no matter what y’all may say, if they have access to you, they ARE going to share your resources with you.(Time, energy, money, skills, etc.)And some of you are still going to share meager resources with them even if you’ve moved from them due to the programming.

    This is why it is critical for typical AA women to monitor and examine EVERY thought you have. Most of your thoughts are anti-YOU. With each thought, you need to determine whether the lion’s share of your actions/resources are benefiting you first and foremost or someone else, and if the latter, then get rid of that thought or fight it every time it flares up.

  17. Rhonda says:

    joyousnerd,

    I hope that you find that book beneficial, informative. Here is a link to a recent article that I read at the Mercola website. It talks about coconut oil and how it can help in the prevention of, the fight against, Alzheimer’s disease; the article also mentions MS.

  18. ***Note to Readers***

    In making this new site the kind of project that’s sustainable for me over the long-run, I’ve had to streamline how I handle certain things. The comments section is one of them. What this means is that I’ll give substantive responses to those folks who enter the conversations early (as I did across the board at the previous blog).

    After each post is a couple of days old, I’ll generally continue to publish new comments from readers. (That meet the commenting guidelines as set forth at the previous blog—those who are unfamiliar can read the comment “box” at the previous blog.)

    But, after a each post is a couple of days old, I generally WON’T continue responding to new comments.

    [In other words, I’ll continue to publish comments to this post, but I’m not going to reply to anymore comments in this thread. FYI.]

    Expect Success!

  19. […] to live well with much less money if you’re willing to create overseas options for yourself. However, you can’t wait until the storm hits to make preparations. You can’t wait until you fall ill or reach retirement age to start wondering what you can do for […]