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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calculating Milestones in Days.

Every once in a while here in blogworld, someone will write a post about some sort of milestone in their lives (i.e. birthday, anniversary etc.) and make a comment about the exact # of days they have been alive or married or whatever. The problem is, each time I have read such a comment, the exact number of days has been incorrect.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let's say someone is celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary today. That means they were married December 18th, 1986. Perhaps they want to post about it. They might take out a calculator and multiply 365 by 25 and get a product of  9125 days. They might say we've been married 9125 days today.

That is not correct.

There are 2 mistakes that are being made. 1 is obvious and 1 not so obvious. Actually, both are obvious to me. Let's see if either one is obvious to you.

First, a little thing I like to call Lauren's birthday. Lauren is a sweet girl in our co-op. She has had 2 birthdays, and will have her third next year. The thing is, Lauren's 11. That's right, her birthday is on Leap Day.  The above calculation did not take into account the  extra day every 4 years that leap year produces.

The next mistake is based on the method used for counting days. Let's say you were born at 11:00 p,m. today. At midnight, it is the next day, and although you have been alive for 1 hour, you have lived on 2 different days.

This is the mistake I see people make when they are counting days by year. They don't count the day of the event they are commemorating. For example, I was born on 9/23/64. On 9/23/65 I had lived in all or some of 366 days, not 365.

If you are not totally confused already, let me teach you a sure fire method of counting the exact number of days (including parts of the 1st and last day) that you are commemorating. If you are totally confused, go do a Charlie Brown: pound your head against a tree, and say I can't stand it. You could also, as Amy is apt to point out,  do a Miss Piggy and say, "I don't understand any of this."   I'll wait.

Welcome back those of you returning from the tree, or your Miss Piggy impersonation.

In order to calculate the exact amount of days you have been involved in something, you need to know 2 things:

1) The current day.
2) The date you are counting from.
3) How many days are in each month. (access to a calendar will suffice.)

Here's our test case:

Amy and I were married on Apri l 11th 1998.

I want to know how many days (full and partial) we have been married, here is what I do . . .

1) Starting with April 11th 1998 I count out 4 year periods as 1461 days (365 per year times 4 plus one leap day.

April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002 1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006 1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010 1461

2) Since April 10th 2010 is less than 4 years before today, I count out years as 365 days, unless there was a leap day and then I count it as 366.

April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002 1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006 1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010 1461
April 11th 2010- April 11th 2011 365

3) When I get to where there is less than a year left til the current date, I just count out the remaining days by months. This includes the rest of April 2011 and the days that have taken place so far this month..

There are 30 days in April and I have already accounted for the first 10 in 2011. This means there are 20 more to put in our rendering. Today is December 18th. So the amount of days Amy and I have been married can be tallied like this:

April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002                         1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006                         1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010                         1461
April 11th 2010- April 11th 2011                            365
April 11th 2011 - April 30th 2011                             20
May 2011                                                                 31
June 2011                                                                 30
Ju;y 2011                                                                  31
Aigust 2011                                                               31
September 2011                                                        30
October 2011                                                            31
November 2011                                                        30
December 1st to Dec 18 2011                                   18

4) Add all the numbers together


That means that as of today Amy and I have been married 5000 days. Wow, imagine that! The day I picked to do a tutorial on calculating milestones, was actually a milestone itself. I think I'll take her out to celebrate. Actually, I have been using this calculation for years and chose today because it is our 5000th day of marriage.  I am taking Amy on a secret surprise date to commemorate the occasion.
This explanation serves 3 purposes

1) The next time someone posts about blogging for 3650 days when they have actually been at it 3653, I will simply send them the link to this post.

2) To communicate to you what Amy has been putting up with  for 5000 days.

3) To commemorate an average day as a momentous occasion for the woman I love. I am touched by the holiday symmetry of this occasion. Our first day of marriage was the Saturday prior to Easter in 1998. Today, Day 5000, is a week before Christmas 2011. Amy is a lot like Mary Poppins, in that every day is a Jolly Holiday with her.


John Wilkerson said...

I go to http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html

Less math. Ugh.

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