This piece was originally published in Exiles.
One of my long-term goals is to be the kind of person who could be dropped onto an uninhabited island and survive with nothing but my wits and physical capabilities. To not only survive, but flourish. To build a coconut radio. And when the rescue party arrives, to have built a tiny island paradise, complete with monkey butlers and a wooden roller coaster.
That might be a small exaggeration, but it is a guiding principle of how I operate and what I invest in. I invest more time and money in myself than anything else, because I know that I am the one thing I’ll always have around. Other things — possessions — can be broken, stolen, made obsolete, or lost. I can be none of these things, because if I am destroyed, I will no longer be around to worry over it. Shrug.
To that end, I’ve spend a lot of time systematically removing barriers to my goal of absolute self-sustainability. Little things, like gaining immunity to allergies (which required five years-worth of allergy shots), have already been completed. Other things in that vein (laser eye surgery) have yet to be undertaken, but are on my list of must-dos in the near-future.
The less listable items are tougher to define, but easy to feel. I know I would need to become better at depending on myself and myself alone when it comes to long-term goals. I know I would need to figure out how to study hard and stay focused on one thing at a time. These are two weaknesses I think could hurt my chances of building that jungle roller coaster, and might even impact my ability to survive alone.
Thankfully, in the meantime I can enjoy working with other self-reliant folk and see what results from putting our heads together and applying our individual capabilities. Regardless of how much I may be able to get done solo, if I have a few other people working the same way, the monkey butler-driven society I dream of would come to fruition a whole lot faster.