A year ago, on January 1, 2015, I put together a series of time-based facts to remind everyone that they’re old. One year later, let’s do an update:
The 21st century seems like it just started, but we’re already halfway to 2032.
The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. If it were made today, it would cover the years 1996–2001. Instead of episodes about the moon landing, The Beatles, and the Civil Rights Movement, they’d be about the Bush-Gore election, Britney Spears, and the September 11th attacks. The characters in a Wonder Years made today would be watching Friends (’94 – ’04), South Park (’97 – present), Family Guy (1999 – present), and the first season of 24 (2001 – 2010).
And Family Guy started airing (Jan ’99) closer to M*A*S*H being on the air (1972 – 1983) than to today.
Speaking of the moon landing, the following movies were in theaters closer to the moon landing than to today:
A League of Their Own
My Cousin Vinny
Silence of the Lambs
Beauty and the Beast
The Addams Family
Father of the Bride
These movies were in theaters closer to JFK’s presidency than today:
Back to the Future 2
The Little Mermaid
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Field of Dreams
When Harry Met Sally
And these movies came out closer to World War II than to today:
The Empire Strikes Back
Then there’s the Godfather, which came out in 1972, a date closer to the 1920s than to today. Likewise:
Born before 1973? You were born closer to the 1920s than to today. Today’s 38-year-olds were born closer to the 1930s than to 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 84-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. But there are only two people alive today who were also alive in the 1800s.
The average age of an American woman when she has her first child is 25.8. That means that the average woman giving birth to her first child right now was born in the 1990s.
Remember 1996? 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 1996, Sinatra’s early prime 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 2016.
1977 is 39 years ago—1/4 of the way back to the Civil War and Lincoln’s presidency.
How about other American presidencies? If you’re a 34-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 nine years old today views George W. Bush the way I view Jimmy Carter, and for them, the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal is exactly as far back as Watergate is to me. Reagan, for them, happened when Eisenhower’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 date the movie used as the faraway future? October 21, 2015. A time now in the past.
Want the full perspective? Here.
And for some optimism, here are 200 Wait But Why readers’ New Years Resolutions from two years ago.