I have measured my aging mostly by the age of my students and of my frisbee opponents:
- I knew I passed key markers in time when my undergrads were born in the 1980's and their first international political memories were of Iran-Contra, bombing Libya (the first time), the Berlin Wall falling.
- The second major marker was when I realized that I was playing against a team where I could have fathered every single player after I had graduated college.
- The third marker was when I realized my students were less than half my age, so that they were born when I was in college or after (late 80's).
- Now, my undergrads were born after Yugoslavia fell apart and 9/11 is their first major memory.
Mostly, I agree with the cartoon above--things are better now, despite the best efforts of politicians and media to tell us otherwise: less crime, less violence, less tolerance of intolerance (despite 25% of Iowa caucus voters choosing Santorum), and so on. The glass is always half-filled, but looking back reminds me that it looks half-full to me, not half-empty.
On the other hand, due to a friend's facebook challenge, I learned that the #1 song when I was born was: