On Finding You and Your Dog’s ‘Same Age Day’
And Other Nontraditional Anniversaries
Since I was a kid, I’ve been kind of fascinated by dates and nontraditional anniversaries. Not like astrological signs or anything like that — I don’t think dates really mean anything more than the meaning we ascribe them — but in a very nerdy way, I did think it was fun to calculate the day of the week I was born (Thursday) or when I’d turn 5,000 days old (March 6, 1999). I kept a little journal where I’d write down these important dates in the back and would check out the list every once in awhile to see if anything notable was coming up.
Even now, for whatever reason — maybe it’s a tendency towards apophenia or an inherent interest in self-data — I get some enjoyment knowing these dates, and occasionally will have a passing thought about a date that might be interesting to know. Now I don’t have to do the calculations by hand or keep track of them in the back of a journal — adding them to Google Calendar gives me a reminder the day it finally rolls around, sometimes months or years later.
Beyond just absolute dates (eg ‘turning X days old’), knowing exactly how old people were when major events happened and then finding the day I was that same age has been interesting. For instance, on October 20 this year, I was exactly the same age as my dad was the day I was born. Or on January 30, 2006, I was exactly the same age as Nas was he released Illmatic: I was a sophomore living in a dorm on 113th and Broadway, trying to figure out what to major in at Columbia; he was signed to a major, Columbia Records, and releasing one of the greatest debut albums of all time.
In any of these, the velocity of time is accepted as constant — a day for me is the same as it is for a day for anyone else. The parallel lines never cross because they share the same slope, but there is a case where time moves at different rates and those lines intersect.
In June 2013, I adopted a dog, Rufus, and the SPCA said he was born on April 26 of that same year (how they know when a dog they rescued was actually born is a question I’ve had, too, but it’s the best date I’ve got). And despite my best intentions to not become the type of person who takes too many photos of their dog and puts them on Instagram, that’s exactly what I became.
Beyond the photo taking, I was curious about dates related to him. If there are seven dog years for every one human year, he gains one dog year about every 52 days, and so every month and a half or so, I get a reminder of how old Rufus is turning in dog years. And it’s fun to note the day that Rufus turned 16, or 21, or whatever age it happens to be on that day.
These reminders make me smile on their own, but the progression of them is also a gentle reminder of the fact that he is growing older much faster than I am.
A few years ago, I realized that this intersection of lines would occur on a single day, and on that day we’ll be the exact same age — me in human years, him in dog years.
Yesterday, December 15, 2017 was that day — we were both 32.469 years, or 11,859 days old (human days and dog days, as it were). Every day up to then I’ve been older, and every day from here on out, he’ll be older. Like any of these dates, this day doesn’t really mean anything in particular — nothing more than what meaning I ascribe to it — and still there is something that feels significant to me about it, even if objectively I know there isn’t, really.
Keeping track of dates like this is admittedly kind of an odd practice, to mark the passage of time by noting large round numbers of days or benchmarking to other people’s life events. But it’s actually not that different from celebrating any other birthday or anniversary, with the major exception of it not necessarily being something universally accepted as having some level of import.
But really, I think that’s part of what I like about it — they’re these peculiar dates that pop up every once in awhile and are kind of a nod from my past self to my present self; a reminder as much of what the date commemorates as a thought back to who I was and what I was doing when I added it.
As an adult, not only do we lose a lot of the universal demarcations of time we have as children or teenagers (summer vacation, starting middle school/high school/college) but our perception of time accelerates — just think how long a year felt when you were 10 versus how easy it is to forget how old you are a couple decades later.
I kind of assumed this interest in dates was probably just the result of being a kid who liked trying to discover new things that I didn’t think other people had given much thought. But surprisingly, as an adult, given how easy it is for months to fly by and our own perceived acceleration of time, I appreciate having these little reminders even more now.
For a bit, I considered building a super simple app that would have a birthday input and then allow for a selection of dates you wanted to know, and then let you one-click add them to your own calendar. I’m not sure how universally applicable this weird interest in random relative dates is, so I never went through with building it, but if you do ever feel like it’d be interesting to know these for yourself, I do recommend it.
At the very least, it should make you smile when you get the reminder, like getting a message sent from your former self to your current self. If you’re interested in doing it yourself, make a copy of this Google Sheet and fill in your own info to figure out when you’re the same age as your parents when they had you, when you and your dog have your same age day, or copy the template on the second sheet to create as many as you’d like.
Give it a shot, and see if it does make you smile when that reminder pops up. Hopefully, it at least gives you a moment of appreciation when you wake up for a day that otherwise might not be particularly notable or differentiated in the larger context.
-charlie, 12.16.17 (11,860 days old)