In the space of little more than a decade, ideas of the human genome have shifted significantly, with the emergence of the notion that the genome an individual changes with development, age, disease, environmental inputs, and time. This paper examines the emergence of the genome with a life span, one that experiences drift, instability and mutability, and a host of other temporal changes. We argue that developments in chromatin biology have provided the basis for this genomic embodiment of experience and exposure. We analyze how time has come to matter for the genome through chromatin, providing analysis of examples in which the human life course is being explored as a set of material changes to chromatin. A genome with a lifespan aligns the molecular and the experiential in new ways, shifting ideas of life stages, their interrelation, and the temporality of health and disease.