I saw a post on the Book of Faces that pointed out that 2023 is 53 years after 1970. While that makes a lot of people my age feel old, if you go back 53 years from 1970, the date is 1917.
wait - what??
That means that someone born in 1907 would have been the age I am now in 1970. That is astounding. Us late-stage boomers and Gen-Xers have the advantage of a new millennium happening in the middle of our adult years to shield us from the reality of jarring factoids like this.
I have a 45 year high school reunion coming up this weekend. I graduated in 1978. So that got me thinking: what was happening 45 years before I graduated?
Subtracting 45 from 1978 gives us... lessee... carry the 2... 1933. So someone born in 1915 would have graduated high school in 1933, and would have been attending their 45 year high school reunion in 1978. Yes, that seems like a lot of nonsense. But if we step back for a moment and think about what changes have occurred in those timeframes, it's pretty amazing.
Looking back 45 years from my graduation, we had the German Weimar Republic being replaced with the Nazi regime and WWII. We had popular music transition from folk and show tunes to big band jazz to do-wop to guitar-driven rock and soul. We got the Eisenhower highway system, two wars in Asia, commercial airflight becoming common, the space race and landing on the moon. We got civil rights passed for the "negroes" of the time, the right to marry outside of one's "race", and legal abortion. The World Trade Center was built.
We like to think about how amazing it must have been to live through those times with all of those incredible changes and advancements.
So what's happened since I graduated in 1978?
We've seen democratic governments in the Middle East replaced by theocratic extremism. We had music transition from rock to punk and new wave, to hair-metal, to "alternative rock", and finally cheesey pop. We had the birth of rap and hip-hop. We had the introduction of the space shuttle (including 2 which ended in disaster) and it's retirement. We got smog, gridlock, acid rain, and a hole in the ozone layer. We got states finding ways around the Civil Rights Act, the demise of pensions in favor of 401ks, and the end of Roe -v- Wade. The World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists.
On the other hand, we got the personal computer, and landline phones replaced with cell phones. Between those and the doors on stores which open automatically, we're only missing transporters to make the Star Trek trifecta complete. We have the human genome pretty much completely mapped, and mRNA vaccines a reality. We've had a black president, and currently an Asian-African-American female vice-president. We have a pill that - where available - makes surgical abortions obsolete.
The history which we live through will always be a mixed bag, and whether we see the glass as half full or half empty, it is still a glass with something in it. What sort of history will kids born today have to look back on?