Ettie Newlands

The post going around Facebook said, “We are all 2018 today,” and went on to say that on that particular day, the whole world was the same age.

It said the phenomenon happened only once every 1,000 years.

It said your age plus the year of your birth, for every single person, was 2018.

It said this is so strange that even Chinese experts can’t explain it.

I was intrigued, apparently like a whole lot of other people were.

I tried to figure it out but when several people – all obviously of different ages born in different years – tried it and it always came out to 2018, I was beyond intrigued.

I was baffled and annoyed. I also felt a little dopey.

So, I took the problem to my friend Mark. Mark not only understands math, he actually enjoys it. Not only that, he can explain math to people who don’t understand or enjoy it.

I asked him to explain it to me, using small words and even smaller numbers.

His response was that this is true every day, for every person, in every year, as long as the person has already had a birthday that year.

He said saying it happens once every 1,000 years is a lie. He also said it was insulting to say the Chinese experts couldn’t figure it out.

He said we could look at it another way. He gave the example that if someone was born in 1952 and you want to figure out how old they are, just subtract their birth year from the current year. You’ll get their age.

It always works, Mark said, every time, every day, for every person.

A little embarrassed, I asked him to break it down just a tad bit more.

I reminded him that I am very good with punctuation and am an excellent driver. Math, not so much.

“Adding your birth year to your age will always result in the current year,” he said.

And when he did, it was suddenly crystal clear.

Now I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to understand it.

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