Was I alive in 3 or 4 different decades?

I was born on the 16th of January, 1990. Most people have told me I was only alive in 3 (1990s, 2000s and 2010s) but I would argue I was technically alive in the 1980s as well.

My reasoning for this is that:

  1. Third trimester fetuses are viable outside the womb, and have functioning brains, they can even hear their mother’s voice.

  2. Someone born in 1988 or 1989 is obviously too young to remember the 80s, but they’re still considered an 80s baby since they meet the bare requirements of existence, so why couldn’t I be considered an 80s baby too? It’s not like I’m claiming to remember the 80s or to have grown up then, I’m just saying that technically speaking I did exist in that decade albeit only in the most minimal way.

  3. If I was born prematurely, I could have been in November or December of 1989 easily.

  4. Let’s face it, pop culturally speaking 1990 and 1991 were still the 80s anyways. Nirvana and the fall of the Soviet Union in late 1991 are more meaningful a divide than the turn-over of the calendar. 1990 wasn’t the real 90s any more than a 20 year old is a real mature adult. I remember when the year 2000 came that the 90s vibe lingered for several years beyond that.

Ah, I guess I’d just rather be an 80s baby than a 90s baby. Born in 1989 sounds like a mature adult who’s been around the block, say you’re born in 1990 and people lump you in with little 13 year olds born in 1999 who have no memory of anything even remotely old school. People born in the 80s are just as close to my age as people born in the 90s.

Just because I was born in 1990 does not mean I had an iPad and a MySpace as a little kid and I’m obsessed with Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana! :smiley:

Reported for forum change.

Three decades. “Potentially viable outside the womb” is not equivalent to “alive.” I can’t see how even a creationist who argues that life begins at conception would say that you were born in the '80s, because you weren’t born yet. No matter what you might wish, your birthdate was in 1990.

This is a really weird thing to care about.

Antiabortion rhetoric aside, the span of someone’s life is pretty much universally understood as the dates of their birth and death. That’s what they’ll put on your stone if you have one.

‘Decades’ in this sense are defined by the calendar numbers.

You missed the '80s.

Well, in American terminology, you have only been ‘alive’ in three different decades. Claiming otherwise by your logic can result in all kinds of problems. Everyone from abortion rights activists to genealogists will get pissed if you try to press that one too far.

However, there may be some hope if you are willing to try for an unconventional defense.

  1. Move to an Asian country. I don’t have any experience with it but I have heard that some of them count age in a way that might be more to your liking.

  2. Make the argument that the 80’s did not really end until January 1, 1991. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. There was no year zero so decades can easily be argued to be slightly different than popular terminology suggests. This logic is why many people argued that this millennium did not begin until January 1, 2001 instead of 2000.

  3. Come up with your own calendar system. You are correct that 1990 was more than the 80’s than not. Maybe you could come up with a system of dates like BN and AN (before and after Nirvana) and give your birth year as 2 BN for example.

Arguing that the millennium didn’t begin untill 2001 is far different from arguing that the 80’s did not include the 10 years encompassed by 1980-1989.

There was no year 0; there was a year 1980.

You have to have one decade in there somewhere that was only 9 years long then. Which one was it?

No you don’t.

The 199th decade is a different thing than the 1980s, just like the 20th century is a different thing from the 1900s, and the third millennium is a different thing than the 2000s.

Of course not. 1-10 is a decade, as is 10-19, as is 1985-1994. It’s just any ten year period, and there’s no rule that says that if you subdivide a millennium into decades that they have to coincide with whatever popular culture calls “the 80s.” And popular culture is quite clear on how we define that – years that start with 198x.

I was born in Feb 1980, so I kind of get where you’re coming from. For a long time having an “80s” birthdate made me seem younger to some people. In 2001, people were kind of amazed that someone born “in the 80s” was out of college and in a reasonably responsible job, etc. This goes away and at some point seeming younger via your birth year is a positive. For example, when I hang out with my 20something friends, birth dates in 84-86!

But yes, you are still a 90s baby, sorry!

ETA: I have a friend born in early November, 1980. He refuses to admit to being alive during the Carter Administration. He was born a few days after Reagan was elected, but since Carter was still Pres till January 81, there’s no real argument. It’s just a weird psychological thing

I understand what you are saying but the same argument was used fairly convincingly for the millenniums and even centuries. A decade is just a subdivision of the century so I would say that it doesn’t matter what the name says.

At least, that is the card I would play if I was the OP. It is cheaper and easier than moving to another country and less time consuming than inventing your own calendar.

The argument is that the 20th century is from 1901 to 2000, and the 21st is from 2001 to 2100. But that’s not the same as saying the 1900s didn’t start until 1901 and the 2000s didn’t start until 2001. The 1900s and the 20th century are two different things, and there’s no reason to lump them together.


It’s also really weird to say someone somehow becomes alive only after they exit mom. It’s also weird to equivocate creationists with pro-lifers. I’d bet most creationists are pro-lifers, but I’d be less sure the reverse (or converse or inverse or whatever) is true.

I’m not trying to start an abortion debate (I’m a Saganian on the subject, so don’t think I’m a rabid pro-lifer), but not even the most strident pro-choicers I’ve met would say a fetus/baby one week away from being born wasn’t alive. A just-fertilized ovum is alive; everyone knows this. The point isn’t about whether an abortion stops a life–it’s about whether it kills a person.

It’s not like a huge deal or anything, it just annoys me I get lumped in with today’s teenage generation just because I was born in January 1990 as opposed to say, um, December of 1989. :smiley: I’ve even seen people say 1990-2010 is Generation Z and Generation Y is only the people born in the 80s.

As far as the abortion thing, I think life begins not at conception nor at birth but rather at the point where a person has a developed brain. The evidence points at this being somewhere around 5-6 months so I would say I was a human being for at least the last 2 or 3 months of the 1980s.

I existed in the 80s every bit as much as someone born in 1988 or 1989.

If the argument as to whether a fetus is a person or not depends on if they are conscious in a true sense - well you might as well say someone born in 1988 wasn’t alive until the 90s, since as far as we know babies are not conscious in the way older children and adults are.

You weren’t born in the 1980s, but you already knew that.

But it’s true that either you were alive in the 1980s, or the biological thing that became you was alive in the 1980s (or both).

That’s what I mean. I think the idea birth is the exact point someone becomes a person is ridiculous. Like passing through the vagina has some kind of magic power or something.

I mean, what makes a person a person. Is a newborn even really a “person” if a person means speaking a language, and having a continuous narrative? Who remembers being an infant? I know some claim to but I regard that the same as people who claim to be abducted by aliens - it’s possible, and I don’t dismiss the claims but I find it difficult to believe without proof.

I can agree with on some levels but that is just the way it works in the U.S. If you were born a premie, you would have been a child of the 80’s but alas, no. I am telling you, you need to move to a country where they count it differently. I know there are some in Asia. Where are they fellow Dopers?

It could be worse, I was born in 1973. There is no amount of lawyering that can get me out of that one. I am a child of the 70’s except all I got out of it were the bad parts like having flower child parents and bad clothes and none of the good parts like carefree casual sex. I dry heave at the smell of hippies to this day (I did back then too and the doctor thought I had spit-up problems. I was really just appalled at the world I was born into). Be thankful for what you have.

For that matter, the sperm and egg pre-fertilization are alive, too. But on this topic, everyone seems to use their own definition of the word “alive”, and none of those definitions seem to quite match up with each other, which is, I think, part of the reason why the abortion issue is so contentious.

By “alive” I mean basically the point where a person has a mind of their own or at least a “proto-mind” which is affected by its environment.

But instead of dividing up decades as “the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties” you could speak of the 7th, 8th, 9th decade of the 20th century, and just as “the 20th century” is different from “the 1900’s” in that it runs from 1901 through 2000, just so the 9th decade of that century would run from 1981 through 1990.