Life Timeline

For those born August 31, 1961.

Not your birthday? Find your timeline here.

1960
Before you were born

You're one of the first people who's never lived in a world without the Beatles.

In the July/August 2014 issue, Joshua Wolf Shenk wrote about the collaborative genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

1961
Year 57

You were born in August of 1961. This year, The Atlantic celebrates its 160th birthday, making it 3 times as old as you.

The year you were born, Eleanor Roosevelt demanded a national recommitment to the American Dream.

1961
Beginnings

Around the time you were born, the communist government in East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall.

In May 2009, Lane Wallace wrote about his memories of being a grad student in Berlin in the age of the wall.

1969

NASA

Man on the Moon

At 7 years old, you were alive to behold people walking on the moon.

Over the years, the moon landing has come to be lauded as the pinnacle of human achievement, although it was often derided at the time. In 1963, NASA astronauts took to The Atlantic to plead the case for landing on the moon.

1974

Everett Collection

The teenage years

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

The Lords of Flatbush was released in 1974.

1979
Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, Saddam Hussein became the president of Iraq, continuing decades of conflict.

In May 2002, Mark Bowden wrote about the daily life and thoughts of Saddam Hussein.

1988
Half a life ago

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

In August 2012, Ashley Fetters traced the history of cable television's longest-running programming event.

2007

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

Across the Universe

When you turned 45, you watched humankind reach the outer solar system.

With NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission in 2005, humans landed a probe in the outer reaches of the solar system for the first time, a moment Ross Andersen called the most glorious mission in the history of planetary science.

2008

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Contemporaries

In 2008, Barack Obama, who was born the same year as you, was elected the 44th president of the United States.

In April 2016, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote about Barack Obama's approach to foreign policy.

2025
Forecasts

By the time you turn 63, the World Bank predicts that the U.S. dollar will lose its global dominance.

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

Today
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: