As much as I hate dealing in platitudes, we truly live in uncertain times. On a daily basis, we face the threat of terrorism both foreign and domestic, the possibility of invasion by foreign enemies, ever more virulent disease, the likelihood of civil unrest brought on by economic collapse or other factors, and let’s not forget the possibility of an outbreak of zombies. Any one of these factors could easily bring our somewhat cushy lifestyle to an abrupt end.
As we saw with hurricane Katrina, our government is woefully unprepared to deal with even a relatively small disaster. What if something worse were to happen? Something that didn’t just occur in a somewhat isolated area. Something nationwide. Do you think the government would be able to bail us out? It’s very likely we would be on our own.
Take heart, the doomsaying is over. Man is a social animal and society will reform. Likely in a tribal system. Many of these tribes will require new members to “bring something to the table” whether it be supplies or valuable skills. I have made a list of fun and exciting skills and hobbies that will help to ensure your survival in a post-apocalyptic world as well as provide you with an enjoyable and rewarding way to spend your free time and possibly even make yourself a bit of money while you’re at it.
If you have medical training you’ve pretty much got a golden ticket. While not exactly a hobby, medical training, even if it’s only a basic first aid course, will be immensely valuable should society collapse. Let’s face it, the post-apocalyptic world will be a dangerous place. Even a small nick, should it get infected, has the potential to kill you. Even if you prefer animals to people, veterinarians will be able to treat people in a pinch.
As society rebuilds, it will need tools. Particularly tools that have become obsolete as things have become automated. Who will people turn to when they need a tool to make shingles for their house? The trusty blacksmith, that’s who. Blacksmithing is also a very rewarding hobby. It is a good way to take out your aggression while making something both useful and beautiful. Blacksmithing is also a good way to supplement your income as people are willing to pay top-dollar for something hand-made.
People need food. Back when society was made up of tribes, the hunter was regarded with the awe and respect of the chieftain. Without the hunter bringing meat to the tribe, they would have surely starved. In the post-apocalyptic world, the primary source of food will be wild game. Hunting can also offset your grocery bill and give you the confidence that only self-reliance can provide. I advise learning to process your own game. It will save you the expense of paying someone to do it, and will make you that much more valuable should you ever have to hunt to earn your keep.
Man can only live on meat for so long, not to mention that there is only so much game in the woods. To ensure long-term survival of a tribe, it needs not only to be able to plant crops but to be able to make them grow to fruition. Growing a garden is as much an art as a science and thus every bite of the fruits of your labor will be a confirmation of your skill. Growing your own vegetables means not having to buy them, not to mention wondering what pesticides and other chemicals were used on them.
Beer will be one of the things sorely missed by society when it is gone. While I think alcoholism will not be tolerated by most societies, beer and wine for social events will go a long way to boost morale. Alcohol is also one of the earliest disinfectants. While distilled spirits work better for this, I can attest to the fact that beer works just fine. Back in my college days it seems like we spilled as much beer as we drank. The funny thing was, it seems out minor cuts and abrasions would heal almost overnight. Beer brewed by your own hand tastes much sweeter than anything you can buy in the store. You’ll sit and watch the bubbles in your glass and marvel at how you made it yourself.
People will need entertainment. Whether it be music, telling stories by the campfire, or acting out scenes from Shakespeare, without entertainment, life will quickly become monotonous and some will even wonder why they are working so hard to survive at all. Having a talent will be sure to make you more popular among your friends and neighbors as well.
This is only a short list and is by no means comprehensive. I have intentionally left out certain skills that would be useful in the event of societal collapse because doing them as a hobby would be highly illegal. You can use your imagination for these. If you are wondering whether a hobby would be useful in the post-apocalyptic world, just ask yourself two questions.
1. Does my hobby provide something that won’t be readily available in the post-apocalyptic world?
2. Will there be a demand for the things my hobby provides?
Of course I hope things do continue to be fine, but as the boy-scouts taught me; One should always be prepared.