When you think of it, every day is the end of the world as we know it because everything, and I do mean everything, changes.
There is an old myth that every cell in our body dies and is replaced within a seven- to 10-year period. Some of that is true. For example, of our 50 to 75 trillion cells, each one has its own lifespan, but there’s no clock ticking off seven or 10 years. Some die within days, but some take weeks or months. White blood cells, for example, live for more than a year while our skin cells only make it for two or three weeks. The only cells that typically last a lifetime are brain cells, but there are plenty of those know-it-alls that get damaged when we drink too much.
Nevertheless, things change all the time, and the good news is that we human beings have been very adaptable to most changes. Yes, of course, cockroaches are better at survival than us, but we’re still here. And when it comes to the number of already extinct species, that’s a pretty big deal.
The predominant question that we have now is what is going to change dramatically enough to impact us as human beings? Will it be the extra 3 billion people who will be joining us on Earth over the next decade or so? If they have a standard of living like we do here in America, it would take four more Earths just to meet their consumption wants and needs.
Will it be global warming, aka climate change? There’s a new documentary out by Leonardo DiCaprio titled “Before the Flood” that hits this problem square on. Even if you’re convinced that man doesn’t have anything directly to do with it, it’s happening. The temperature has reached a point now where we’re getting mega-storms, giant tornadoes, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, droughts and melting ice caps, and we haven’t really scratched the surface of where things are heading.
If you’re trying to breathe in the Carolinas right now or you want to take a very long shower in San Diego or make it to your storm cellar in time to avoid joining Dorothy in Oz when the tornado hits in the Midwest, it’s a little more frightening.
What else is changing? Clearly the politics of our country have changed, and if you’re African-American or Muslim, or an immigrant from almost anywhere, things probably feel a little less safe. It’s also more intimidating for the LGBT community, for women seeking medical attention and for those individuals who are not fully employed orwho have minimum wage jobs. Truthfully, except for the things we’re seeing on television every day, that fear is pretty much based on previous negative personal experiences or campaign rhetoric.
We might also have a sense of uneasiness when it comes to the 12 million insured who might not continue to be insured in the future or the 10,000 of us who are going on Social Security and Medicare every day. But for now that is all just apprehension of the unknown.
Finally, there is some trepidation when it comes to wars that are currently covering most of the Middle East and terrorists who are sneaking into Western countries.
Bottom line? Everything, and I do mean everything, is changing in lots of ways. Consequently, we can either get used to it, adapt to it, embrace it and recognize it, or we can hide under the table and pray that it will pass over us.
I, for one, am hoping that some very smart people address the majority of the issues listed above in ways that are better for the entire gang. Either way, we have to find some way to begin to listen to each other, to try to work together and to find common ground or only the roaches will be left.