A post-apocalyptic scenario, commonly known as TEOTWAWKI (pronounced teh-oh-twakee,) stands for “The End Of The World As We Know It.” In the early days of the prepping craze, 2009-2014 or so, TEOTWAWKI was on every prepper’s mind. Thanks to books like One Second After, millions of people expected to wake up to a landscape right out of The Road or The Walking Dead.
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What does TEOTWAWKI mean?
At its most basic level, it’s defined as a complete and utter breakdown of all existing institutions. The governmental, societal, and political institutions we rely on to hold our civilization together in a (mostly) civilized fashion fail spectacularly, and life becomes a Mad Max world.
TEOTWAWKI is a catastrophic event resulting in harsh survival conditions for a prolonged period. It’s not wonder so many people are fearful and wonder if they could survive.
TEOTWAWKI vs. SHTF
TEOTWAWKI is different than SHTF. (SHTF is an acronym for “Shit Hits the Fan.”)
SHTF scenarios are more temporary and may or may not be widespread. A job loss is an example. Although things get pretty awful for a while, they eventually return to some semblance of normalcy. Examples might be natural disasters like hurricanes, localized EMP strikes, or hyperinflation. Many SHTF events strung together might result in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.
The idea of TEOTWAWKI struck a chord with Americans, in particular, when 2008 ushered in bank failures and a record bust in the housing market. They looked at the steep decline of their home’s value, the loss of their jobs, devastation to their hopes of retirement and any savings, and wondered if the end of the world as they know it was becoming a reality. “The Rise of the Preppers“ was a logical result.
COVID-19 and TEOTWAWKI
A new surge in prepping consumes us now in the post-Covid years as supply chain disruptions, inflation on everything, and the accompanying fear and uncertainty firmly grip us.
What if the world as we have always known it has ended? In 2021, Survival Mom stated that it was Covid that ushered in TEOTWAWKI, and based on how much the world has changed since then, she’s probably correct.
Or, as one reader said, “I knew all along that the end of this will be the beginning of something different.” While Covid-19 wasn’t exactly the end of the world, so much has changed that it definitely was the end of the world as we knew it.
As humans, we don’t care much for uncertainty. We like knowing what tomorrow will bring and how to plan weeks, months, and even years into the future, but it seems that God or fate or the universe has other plans for us.
So what are some inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI? Here are just a few of my personal observations and expectations, and let me warn you, a few may make you uncomfortable. Of course, I could be proved wrong.
Inconvenient Truths about The End of the World as We Know It
- Not everyone will survive. Ouch.
- For many, circumstances will trump preparedness.
- Preparedness will cost money. There’s no way around it.
- If you talk about preparedness, you’ll be ridiculed. If you keep your mouth shut, you’ll miss out on establishing a support system that could become necessary to survival. There’s no easy call on this quandary.
- A rural retreat may not save you, as some believe.
- Stored food runs out, eventually. Then what?
- Even the best-prepared survivalist Navy Seal can be brought down by an infected ingrown toenail. Deaths from formerly innocuous things will rise as medical care and drugs become scarce. Advanced first aid skills to address things like wounds and infections will be invaluable.
- You probably aren’t tough enough for what’s coming. However, you might surprise yourself. Some who survive long-term might not be the ones you expect.
- Gold and silver may be useless if a world currency is established. Their use may even be criminalized. I’m not sure that money will be the answer in that circumstance. The Federal Reserve wants to establish a Central Bank Digital Currency. If that should happen, all financial privacy will be gone.
- In a time of plenty, it’s impossible to imagine the reality of true scarcity. This is why so many people fall into a state of normalcy bias.
- Survival is easy for armchair quarterbacks.
- Most survivalists and preppers are overly optimistic regarding how much food to store, what scenarios to plan for, and their ability to survive off the grid. They also tend to put their trust and emphasis on things that can be purchased (that’s easy), rather than focusing on learning skills and gaining knowledge.
- TEOTWAWKI will change the way you and your children and grandchildren live. Forever.
- The minute you bug out, your chances of reaching your retreat destination are slim. Therefore, how survival-friendly is your location when you think of The End Of The World As We Know It? Do you live in a state where survival in hard times will be easy or impossible? Learn about the best states to live here!
- You’re kidding yourself if you think your hidden caches won’t be found by others. Or alternatively, you’ll forget where you hid them. As proof, how many “buried treasures” are lost to history despite maps indicating their locations?
- You won’t know if you’re ready for TEOTWAWKI until you’re in the middle of it. After that, it will be a case of day-to-day survival.
- Ultimately, a too-powerful government will be the biggest threat to your survival — either a totalitarian government or smaller fiefdoms where “might makes right.”
- Life will become cheap.
- Free time will become a thing of the past if there’s a long-term power outage because the bulk of your day will be spent scrambling to survive in one way or another. Water filtration to ensure safe drinking water will be something you have to constantly deal with.
- Damage to our power grid will bring about TEOTWAWKI, no doubt about it. Wondering how you might survive the early days after an EMP attack? Get my free EMP report here.
- There’s nothing wrong with preparing for natural disasters. However, if you’re not ready for a collapse of the American economy or a similar worst-case scenario, you’re not ready. Therefore, consider if you have a skill that would bring in money or that you could use to barter? The more sources of income you have, the better your hedge against unemployment or complete economic collapse.
- Tough times will threaten even the best of marriages and other close relationships. Sadly, children will bear the brunt of much of this.
- Growing your own food is a bigger challenge than you ever thought possible. Having food preservation skills will help stave off hunger.
- Savvy, desperate people will be able to easily identify the edible weeds found in the typical backyard garden. Security issues will be top of mind by necessity.
- Dealing with human waste and trash will become your new part-time job. Stocking up on things like soap and bleach wouldn’t be a bad idea.
- You’ll discover exactly what you’re capable of when your family is threatened.
- Formerly strong and capable people will escape their new reality through booze, drugs, and/or suicide.
- Protecting and nurturing close family ties will become one of the most important things you can do.
- Don’t count on help from emergency services. Assistance will be limited and, eventually, unavailable as first responders turn their attention to their own families and homes.
- Trees in urban and suburban areas will rapidly disappear during the course of winter as people hunt for firewood to burn. Fruit trees may fall victim as well, despite their food-producing ability. Once the obvious sources of firewood are gone, as with other scarce resources, other sources are fair game. This applies to animals, too.
Final Thoughts about TEOTWAWKI
Those who can accept and adapt will find survival easier than those who hold on to the past or have unrealistic expectations of the future. Continue to learn essential skills you can utilize now or in a worst-case scenario future.
LEARN MORE: What are the three warning signs that it’s too late to prep?
What do you think of these inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI?