2024 — Adapting to a Changing World

Tatiana Androsov
5 min readJan 16, 2024

Hopefully, we all change or adapt with time. A baby adapts while learning to walk as being carried around becomes less and less of a possibility and curiosity leads the baby to explore what seems to be an enormous space even though by parental standards it may only be the floor and furnishings of a room. A child adapts while tapping the little symbols on a smartphone and acquiring a more nuanced and layered depth making it possible to grasp new, exciting areas. A young person adapts while reaching out to others beyond the family and seeking ways to function in the community. Most adults adapt again after starting the whole process once more, that is doing something useful for themselves, their community, and having children to ensure the continuation of the group.

And here starts the challenge as the majority of adults no longer grasp outwards, no longer seek to widen their circles. Of course, the constraints of time and the efforts demanded by family, work and community do not make efforts at widening circles easy. It becomes much simpler to repeat and continue as one has always done until the passage of time, wear, tear, and natural aging processes, make it easier to simply sit back and relax.

However, a minority, no matter the circumstances, continues to forge. If that were not the case, we would not have gone beyond the hunter/gatherer stage. Thanks to this minority all our advances in taking care of ourselves, having a more consistent and better food supply, making the places where we live more secure, ensuring less demanding ways to go from one place to another while still being in communication with one another has led to incredible developments. The insatiable curiosity of an even smaller minority has led to discoveries on our own planet and beyond, making it possible to move from one area of the globe to another, going to the moon and contemplating building an outpost there and on Mars.

Another tiny minority has pursued trying to find the meaning of all of this given the impermanence of life itself and the one thing that has not left almost every human being — that is curiosity and fear of what lies beyond each one of us. In doing so, they have offered pathways to eternity and/or consolation.

On the other hand, a different minority, including a few from the other groups, has grasped for power, a human frailty, seeking to control those around them. As we humans have grown from tiny groups to small and giant nations covering the planet, the apex of that minority, the ones who control or seek to control, have led us into ever increasing dangers, one where our discoveries with weapons, perfecting them to the point of being able to wipe out our advancements, threaten the vast majority.

For a time, it seemed that even the members of that minority were more than happy to create rules for themselves that would keep those dangers at bay. However, lulled by conflicts that only concerned millions in an ever more populated world, going from circa two to slightly more than eight billion since the last giant war, they are now caught in struggles that could, if continued unchecked, jeopardize the very fabric that has created our increasingly comfortable lives, one which has increased the average world life expectancy from under fifty to over seventy in less than three quarters of a century.

The results of a recent pandemic, however one may judge it, and the measures taken to contain it certainly show the fragility of what we humans have built, as even in the most advanced social and economic communities, empty store shelves and closed doors led to cracks and frailties that have still not wholly disappeared.

So, it is time for us, all of us, to forge new growth layers in our lives, ones that will make it possible to adapt to a new world. Don’t think that it is that hard. After all, those of us who are in our seventies and eighties have learned to deal with a world where our closest group or groups expect us to be reachable on any day. That was certainly not true until the end of the last century. Then, when we left the place we lived in, we did not bring along communication means in our purses or pockets. We told those we thought should know where we were going and when we would be back, and that was it. On vacation unless we were rich we would not communicate except with cards or letters that often arrived after we came back home. If we went for work to foreign places a once-a-month phone call and letters going either way were about it.

Do you think we don’t miss those days? In fact, we often do, recalling how independent we felt, how full of adventure and far from all kinds of constraints, advice and demands. Going away, we were really going back to our childhoods, forging ahead into the unknown. Now, leaving those communication devices in the house and venturing out without them, we feel guilty, as we cause those close to us to worry if they contact us and do not get an almost immediate response.

With much greater mobility many of the things surrounding us have become more representative of the various cultures, beliefs, and races on our planet. We see strange foods in our giant markets, whereas half a century ago we still had quite a few local markets with things that were produced within a rather close radius. One particular item that change brings to mind is olive oil, something that one, if one even knew about it, had to go to several grocery stores to find but that is now ubiquitous, seemingly present everywhere.

Hearing different languages, seeing different types of faces, and facing various skin hues, some of us hanker back to a time when those around our community seemed the same. However, others going back decades may recall times when those today considered ‘one of ours’ would be looked at askance and addressed with less than respect because of the way they dressed or spoke to their children.

‘Proper ladies’ in those days never wore pants, no matter how cold it was and would not let their daughters wear them. Years later, having put on a pair in cold, freezing weather, many of those same ladies found excuses for filling their closets with slacks, having discovered their warmth or comfort. ‘Proper gentlemen’ wore suits and ties on most public occasions. Now, many grandpas turn their back on them, often trying to eschew the outfits’ restrictions even in the most formal situations.

One of our greatest challenges is environmental degradation. Will we adapt to lessen and improve our impact? Using the example of plastics and what they are doing to our oceans and rivers, will we find and use more replacements, some of them necessitating an effort? Remember crawling on the floor, getting up and falling, so that we could walk and go further, needed a great deal of effort. Consider that when continuing with what we have become used to. Will we learn to walk toward a better world? Will those who hold or aspire to power turn their ambitions towards more constructive instead of destructive ends?



Tatiana Androsov

A novelist on the sea of life coming, cresting and breaking having traveled near & far from a post WWII immigrant childhood to a UN world of poverty and riches.