2 Gs

Friends, sometime today, 15 May 2023, I will have been alive for about 2 billion seconds. Or as we metrologistas say, two gigaseconds (Gs).

Long periods

We traditionally celebrate our ages in years – orbits around our Sun. And at my age, these milestones pass with tedious regularity. And we take special note of decades, of which we might hope to live for a couple of handfuls. We mark these special birthdays with fear or wild celebration. But these super-long periods are interesting.

Astrologers discuss the significance of the ‘Saturn Return‘ which occurs typically every 29 years and this has something in common with a gigasecond, which is 31.7 years.

I am fortunate to have made it past my first gigasecond – which could be considered to encompass my youth. And  I feel especially fortunate to be alive to experience my second complete gigasecond – which I guess has encompassed what we generally refer to as middle age. But realistically, I am unlikely to be alive to celebrate my third gigasecond, which will pass just after my 95th birthday. This is not a maudlin reflection, this is just statistics. And even considering the oldest people who have ever lived, no one has ever reached four gigaseconds.

And so while it is unusual to measure the length of a human life in seconds – very roughly heartbeats – the gigasecond is a useful unit because our lives can be considered on such a very simple scale: 1, 2, 3…

Friends, whatever your age, I urge you, if you can, to pause to enjoy the day on which I embark on my third gigasecond.

Best wishes


12 Responses to “2 Gs”

  1. 171indianroad Says:

    Happy Gigasecond – And – a general wishing of happiness for your family.

  2. protonsforbreakfast Says:

    Thank you: and best wishes to you and yours too. M

  3. drb42 Says:

    Hi Michael

    Does this mean that today is your birthday???


    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      No – not my birthday – I am just 2,000,000,000 seconds old.

      Have a great day! M

  4. StJohn Smith Says:

    Happy DuoGigaSecond today Michael – do something entirely unrelated to Numbers! 🎉🤣🌟

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. I think the celebrations will begin with a coffee at a local café!

      Have a great day yourself: M

  5. Paul Rudman Says:

    A nice thought – the three ages of man meets statistics; enjoy the transition to the next phase – my own is not so far away!

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Paul: Thank you for your kind thoughts: don’t forget to put your own duo-gigaversary in your diary – otherwise it will just flash by!

      All the best: M

  6. Ross Says:

    I am trying to think how the Gig Economy fits into this….

  7. Ross Says:

    Aha!! thus an excellent reason why the later years seem to go past faster. The first 31.7 years are accelerating at 1G. The next lot are accelerating towards 2G…and onwards.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Finally an explanation – and I think people typically black out as the acceleration increases…

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