Life Timeline

For those born September 30, 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, the IBM PC, the first blockbuster personal computer, was introduced to the public.

In June 2015, David Sims wrote about the introduction of the personal computer.

Year 41

You were born in September 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, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Turkey and killed more than 17,000 people.

In December 2012, Ceylan Yeginsu wrote about a survivalist town in Turkey.


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.


Jim Ruymen / Reuters


In 2004, Justin Timberlake, who was born the same year as you, won a Grammy Award for his album Justified.

In March 2013, Hampton Stevens wrote about how Timberlake embodies the showbiz archetype of the song-and-dance man.


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.


By the time you turn 48, humanity's water requirements will exceed its supplies by 40 percent.

In May 2012, Stewart M. Patrick wrote about the Intelligence Community's report on global water scarcity, and the plan to combat it.

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: