So I recently as some of you know celebrated a birthday. I’m the south side of the 30’s now, but thank you for the well wishes I’m sure. A few people told me to not worry because age is just a number. To which I say is true, but a number is a unit of measurement. So what does it measure?
Well we can start literally since we are talking mathematics. A “year” as we as human beings commonly call it measures one earth orbit around our star the Sun or 12 months, or 52.17 weeks, or 365 and 1/3 days, or 8765.81 hours or 525,949 minutes. I suppose I could go further but you get the picture. How does one judge this concept of time? Ok lets give some point of reference while we are at it.
Let’s take something basic at first and then open it up. The average human on earth currently lives (according to CIA factbook) 67.59 years, and in the United States it’s 78.49 years (which is good for the 50th place among all countries). This AVERAGE life expectancy from birth according to the CIA takes into consideration everything. All health related, war related and accidental related deaths. This average is up from 20 years in the Neolithic Period, 28 years in Classic Greek and Roman Periods, anywhere from 25-40 years in Medieval Britain and 30 years in early 20th Century. Now with that said there are two things to take into consideration here, the first being life expectancy from birth differed greatly from 15 years on in these previously mentioned periods (usually adding another rounded figure of 40 years to the ages listed). An important consideration because modern life now (for the most part) is closer in life expectancy (for those periods) to those that lived past 15 then those that didn’t. Second, it wasn’t until the 18th Century that antiseptic soap began to be regularly used immensely decreasing the chance of fatal disease and infant mortality and thus increasing life expectency. Throw in Penicillin in the early 20th century and you have a dramatic increase yet again.
Ok so we get a basic idea of how long humans live over the course of our modern species (Homo sapiens sapiens) existence which by most scientific knowledge is 200,000 years old (wiki). Wow, 200,000 years sounds like a long time. I mean in this time frame Hss went through one Glacial Period (Ice Age), The Stone Age, The Bronze and Iron Age, dispersion through 6 of the 7 continents (although scientific researchers and regular inhabitants live on Antarctica now), numerous Asian dynasties (including the Ming), The Roman and Greek Empires, Medieval to Modern UK, the US colonization and independence, and the Industrial and Information ages. Man that’s a great deal of evolving with it happening exponentially as a common math model. But surely we weren’t the first ones here, were we? I like to believe that we were preceded, and I like to believe that this is common scientific knowledge.
So we as a species (and world entity) have made it to 2012 AD. So I have been around for oh 1.88% of those 2012 years. Yep under 2% and that is just taking into account from the year 0 AD. If we include the 4000 or so years of the BC part of our European/Western calendar it’s 0.6%. If we say the 200,000 years that our modern species has been around, I have lived 0.019% of that time. Well that’s not very much, that makes me feel a bit better. But I still feel a bit old, so let’s look further into this.
Our Earth, the planet that our entire species has inhabited and does inhabit, by general scientific estimates is 4.5 Billion years old (see link). So taking my age again in years and dividing that by 4.5B comes to, let’s see, 0.00000084%. Well the Earth certainly has some time on me. Maybe I should start listening to the stories it has to tell. Usually the old folk have some whoppers, yet somehow have this doze of truth to it. Yes maybe I should listen indeed. Somehow I still feel a bit aged I think. Surely something has to exist before Earth, right?
Well, our universe by the current scientific school of thought evolved and still is evolving because of an explosion or the “Big Bang” spreading matter through out space. It seems like a solid theory but many scientific theories have been laid to rest over the years because they are but theories. But for the purpose of this article let’s except this as a working model. By this we agree according to NASA that our universe is between 12 and 14 Billion years old. Again taking my age in years and dividing that by 13.75 Billion (the average age generally accepted) that comes to, now let’s see again, 0.00000027% of time that I have physically been involved in the universe. I should really use scientific notation here but I felt using the zeros was more effective.
See I’m 27! well…rounded.
Now I don’t feel so old.
Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is an artist developer focusing online on front end development and keeping up with new techonolgies. Photography has been his most recent and strongest passion. He’s shot thousands of photos throughout the years only recently display a larger portion of his library here on Joup.