How many days, months and years we have lived is a social lie we all agree to tell. We mark the occasion of our birth with an annual celebration, using that day to iterate our age. How old we are determines many things in our culture. It determines when we are allowed to start school, when we can drive a car, and when we can draw social security.
Why is our official age a lie? Consider these two people…
The child on the left was born too early and should still be in the womb like the child on the right. She will have an advantage over her full-term counterpart who will officially be younger than her when born. The little girl born prematurely will be able to take advantage of many of society’s benefits ahead of the person waiting on their nine month gestation to complete. She can do this even though they will have lived the same amount of time from the true beginning of their lives — the moment of their fertilization.
Depending on the time of year each child is born, the person born full-term may be held back from starting kindergarten while the person born early can get started on their public education. This will mean they will finish school one year ahead of their on-time arrival, giving them a chance to join the workforce a year earlier than their near-peer, earning more money over the same lifetime.
The early arrival will also have access to government pension benefits three months ahead of their full-term counterpart. Assuming both lived to the same official age measured from the day of their birth, the premature baby will draw more money than the baby born after nine months. Is this fair?
Additionally, since our age is a measure of how long we have lived, every driver license is incorrectly used to determine that age. If you lounged in your mother’s womb for nine full months, you are actually almost a year older than the age calculated from the date-of-birth recorded on your license.
We could easily identify the correct age of every person by adding the time we spent gestating to our official age, since we were, after all, alive. This would even the playing field for everyone. As an added benefit, we could make our parents blush every year when we celebrate our conception day.
I make these observations for one reason: to awaken others to the fact that we were the same living human being prior to our birth that we are today. By lying about our age, we are lying about that undeniable fact.
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