Life Timeline

For those born July 24, 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 nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to be the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March 1988, Gene Sperling wrote about O'Connor's potential role as a swing vote on the changing Court.

Year 41

You were born in July 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, John F. Kennedy Jr. died after crashing a plane he was piloting.

In January 1994, Steven Stark argued that the Kennedys had transformed from political figures into cultural icons.


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 50, the collective GDP of the four leading developing countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) is likely to match that of today's leading Western nations.

In February 2012, Charles A. Kupchan wrote about the world's emerging economies, and how the world will look by 2050.

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: