Over the last few years, many have become obsessed with the concept of "Mortality Maths."
It's that feeling when you realize how old a particular point of pop culture is compared to how old it feels.
Case in point is brought to us by Twitter user Lev Parikian (@LevParikian) who is all too gleeful to make you feel old.
He set it up with a "warning" tweet.
Morning. I’ve been waiting a while to do this next tweet. I hope you enjoy it.— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548831939.0
Parikian's point involves George Orwell's seminal work 1984, which was published in 1949.
Orwellian mortality maths. https://t.co/usHo0buVLU— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548831996.0
For those who can't see the image, it shows the publication date of the book on June 8th, 1949.
On the other side of it is the day the tweet was posted, which was January 30th, 2019.
And in between these two is an estimated date when the events in the book happened.
"We are now as far in the future from '1984' as [the year] 1984 was when '1984' was published."
Is anyone else starting to feel old?
@LevParikian O.M.G. And that bright cold day I was 15.— Xavier Alenya (@Xavier Alenya) 1548924268.0
@LevParikian https://t.co/UOyicjUJfZ— Bill Fishkin (@Bill Fishkin) 1548907237.0
@AmandaReedActor I KNOW RIGHT?— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548880154.0
@LevParikian @TerryTeachout1 Waugh if true.— Church Curmudgeon (@Church Curmudgeon) 1548886467.0
This is the essence of mortality maths, a term coined by rock critic Peter Paphides. It's not universal to everyone, as different generations have different cultural milestones that are important to them.
For some, the idea that five years ago was when the last person Madonna name dropped in her song "Vogue" died is what will make you feel old. For others, it can be as simple as telling you it's been about ten years since Justin Bieber's first single was released.
And still, others may feel old knowing that starting last year, every single kid (in the legal sense of under 18) was born in the 21st century.
Other Twitter users decided to share their own mortality maths.
@LevParikian Philip J Fry has been frozen for 20 years and 29 days.— ask about my day (@ask about my day) 1548886859.0
@adadiamond13 Too early to do the maths in my head, but I trust you.— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548917831.0
@aceoaces Oh damn. Perhaps if you’d done a little timeline diagram...? 😉— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548917802.0
@LevParikian While teaching The Handmaid’s Tale a few years ago, I realised it was as far in the past for my studen… https://t.co/Jm4hKw0VUy— Klaudio Z. Podreka (@Klaudio Z. Podreka) 1548860703.0
@EricFielding No, but we have a few years to go yet, I reckon. The film was 1968, I think. Nice thought though :-)— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548885853.0
@LevParikian @FreeRangeKids More time has elapsed from Star Wars release to now than between Gone With the Wind rel… https://t.co/kUx1YzlZnQ— Mike (@Mike) 1548889190.0
@SurlyBobbys Ooh nice one.— Lev Parikian (@Lev Parikian) 1548857108.0
@LevParikian Another one, Nirvana's release of Smells Like Teen Spirit was equal distant from last year and the sta… https://t.co/JYivDumbOH— Darrin Wicken (@Darrin Wicken) 1548866914.0
This isn't a new phenomenon. It's old enough that it's been shared, parodied, meme'd, and back to sincere again.
But it's the enduring feeling this leaves that makes it such a long lasting idea. As old as we may feel, mortality maths never gets old.