Time flies. Years that seem recent can quickly become buried in the past, and if you tune out for a second, you can quickly find yourself standing in the future. Suddenly, today, it’s 2015. Let’s look at what that means:
The 21st century seems like it just started, but we’re already half way to 2030.
The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. If it were made today, it would cover the years 1995–2000. Instead of episodes about the moon landing, The Beatles, and the Civil Rights Movement, they’d be about AOL, ‘N Sync, and the Bush-Gore election. The characters in a Wonder Years made today would be watching Friends (’94 – ’04), South Park (’97 – present), Dawson’s Creek (aired 1998 – 2003), Sex and the City (’98 – ’04), and they’d even catch the first couple seasons of The Sopranos (’99 – ’07).
Speaking of the moon landing, the following movies were in theaters closer to the moon landing than to today:
- Wayne’s World
- My Cousin Vinny
- The Newsies
- Silence of the Lambs
- Terminator 2
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Addams Family
- City Slickers
- Father of the Bride
- Home Alone
These movies were in theaters closer to JFK’s presidency than today:
- Back to the Future 2
- The Little Mermaid
- Indiana Jones
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids
- Field of Dreams
- Major League
And these movies came out closer to World War II than to today:
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Shining
Then there’s the Godfather, which came out in 1972, a date closer to the 1920s than to today. Likewise:
Born before June 1, 1972? You were born closer to the 20s than to today. Today’s 38-year-olds were born closer to the 1930s than to today. I was born in 1981 which is closer to the 1940s than today. 28-year-olds and 23-year-olds, before you laugh, you were born closer to the ’50s and ’60s than today, respectively.
Know any 85-year-olds? Their birth is farther away from today than is the 22nd century. And there are millions of people alive today who will live well into the 22nd century.
Remember 1995? The way we thought of the 60s then is how someone who today is the age you were then thinks of the 80s. The way you thought of the 70s then is exactly how far in the past the 90s are today. In 1995, the Mad Men era was the same distance back as the Disco era is today.
How about 1980? It’s closer to FDR, Churchill and Hitler fighting each other than it is to 2015.
1977 is 38 years ago—1/4 of the way back to the Civil War and Lincoln’s presidency.
How about other presidencies? If you’re a 33-year-old American like me, your early childhood took place during the Reagan administration, you finished elementary school during Bush Sr.’s presidency, and high school coincided with Clinton. Someone who’s 13 today views W. Bush the way I view Reagan, and for them, the Clinton years are as far back as Watergate and the Vietnam War are for me. Reagan, for them, happened when JFK’s presidency happened for me.
And finally, one of my favorite childhood movies was Back to the Future, during which the present was 1985. The year the movie used as the faraway future? 2015.
Want the full perspective? Here.