Life Timeline

For those born March 22, 1981.

Not your birthday? Find your timeline here.

Before you were born

You're one of the first people who's never lived in a world without the 24-hour news cycle.

In October 2009, Mark Bowden wrote about the toll of constant coverage.


Around the time you were born, President Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt and gunshot wound.

In April 2001, Richard V. Allen published transcripts from the White House Situation Room after Ronald Reagan was shot.

Year 40

You were born in March of 1981. This year, The Atlantic celebrates its 160th birthday, making it 4 times as old as you.

The year you were born, William Greider wrote about the incoming budget director's experiences working in the Congressional Budget Office, in a revealing article which set off a firestorm of controversy in and around the Reagan administration.


Mark Seliger / ABC via Getty

The teenage years

This is what Hollywood thought teenagers looked like the year you became one.

My So-Called Life premiered in 1994.

Half a life ago

Your life can be divided into two halves: before and after Google.

In the July/August 2008 issue, Nicholas Carr wondered whether Google was making people stupid.

Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined NATO.

In July 2016, Zuzana Boehmova wrote about the former Iron Curtain countries' experience in the EU.


Jason Redmond / AP

The 9/11 Attacks

At 20 years old, you were part of the generation most shaped by 9/11.

The conflicts and displacements touched off around the world by the attacks have been reverberating for the majority of your life. “This ‘war’ [on terrorism] will never be over,” wrote James Fallows, a few years after the towers fell.


Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

The Arab Spring

When you turned 29, you witnessed the revolutionary fervor that transformed the Arab world in 2010, a movement led by your generation.

When 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, he ignited a tinderbox of protests that continue to roil the Middle East, and kindled the beginnings of democracy in Tunisia.


Corinne Dubreuil / FFT / Reuters


In 2016, Serena Williams, who was born the same year as you, won her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, tying Steffi Graf for the most major championships in the Open era of professional tennis. She went on to break that record the following year, when she secured her 23rd title.

In July 2016, Vann Newkirk II wrote about the significance of William's win and her position as one of the greatest athletes of all time.


By the time you turn 43, experts at the Pew Research Center warn that there will be no "surveillance-free spaces."

In December 2014, Adrienne LaFrance wrote about how the way we see privacy will change over the next decade.

History in the making

History is happening all around you, every day.

The Atlantic is here to help you process it, in stories like these: