... also, "Is it still paranoia if they're really out to get me?" They aren't, of course, but I'm not paranoid that they are, only that they could -try-.
I live a paranoid lifestyle. I don't pick up hitchhikers. I move a loaded revolver into reach anytime I stay in one place in my home for more than a couple of hours.
When I'm walking about, I'm constantly evaluating risks, particularly at night; if somebody jumps out at me with a gun, I'll spray him with petrol, and explain he shouldn't shoot me or he'll start on fire. (Okay, probably not true, but I suspect a would-be robber wouldn't know this.) Or I'll just -KEEP- spraying him with petrol, if he has a knife; it's very hard to concentrate with gasoline in your eyes.
I palm my keys so I can use them as weapons.
I own two wallets. One used to be my "decoy" wallet, to fool pickpockets, but since then it's become my primary wallet, just because my primary wallet is a passport wallet and I've, for paranoid reasons, stopped carrying my passport with me. I intend to buy a new decoy wallet and simply haven't done so yet.
(Now the weird thing is, I'm not the only guy I know who happened on the idea of a decoy wallet. It's a surprisingly common idea, particularly among the kind of people I associate with; we're highly individualistic and self-reliant. I've never known a woman to employ this, but then, most of them carry purses, and decoy purses are harder; yet another reason men's fashion is superior.)
I once punched a fake sword as somebody jumped out from behind a corner and play-swung it at me, in an attempt to scare me.
I shave with a straight-edge razor (technically a barber's razor, but you plebs probably don't know the difference); I keep it at hand in the shower in case somebody comes at me from behind the certain. (Shaving tip: Don't use a straight-edge to shave pubic hair.)
The short of it is, I am -never- not on alert. Life is a constant process of evaluating risks.
I've avoided being mugged as a result before; two guys were following me and a friend in New Haven, CT, at night. We ducked into a store, they were still there when we came out, and started tailing us. A loud conversation about how a mutual friend should have dealt with a mugger ended the tailing; if it hadn't, we were both prepared to fight.
I do not go so far as to stay perpetually equipped for battle; I will wear sandals, I will go places unarmed. But I am always read to kick my sandals off if need be.
And I more or less regard this as not merely normal, but -proper-. This is the way people should behave.
Preparation is the vaccination for violence. If everyone operated like this, nobody would need to.