Leap Year has always been interesting to me. Actually, the concept of time in general has. When I was a child I was fascinated with traveling through time and what it would be like to go back and fix mistakes. I wondered how it worked that I was celebrating the New Year’s Eve countdown almost an entire day after my Australian friends. And as for Leap Day, I wondered if there was something magical inside babies born on February 29th. Did they not age at the average rate? How did they know when to celebrate their birthday? Would they be able to drink on February 28th the year they turned 21, or did they have to wait till the calendar turned to March?
Time seemed so made up to me as a child (and it basically is). I sit here in the Vancouver airport, three hours behind my usual time zone, thinking how it’s bizarre that it’s already been dark at home for hours. It’s 7 pm here because we say and generally agree it is. Leap Day seemed like such a great example of how time is bizarre, so I was always eager to celebrate it. In fact, when I get super hormonal during PMS, I often have miniature breakdowns and call my friends and boyfriend crying about “how far away Leap Day is”. Seriously; they can vouch. (I’m ridiculous.)
In 2012, 30 Rock made the coolest episode to celebrate Leap Day. They acted like it was a holiday everyone celebrated with the same vigor as Christmas or Halloween. The traditional colors were blue and yellow, and it was all based around the mythical/magical man Leap Dave Williams. The idea behind the episode, besides intellectual hilarity and entertainment, was to make note of the fact that every four years we get an extra calendar day and prompted us to ask ourselves: what will you do with your extra time?
Now in reality, we don’t have “extra” time. We have the time we have. (The real reason Leap Day exists is 365 days a year isn’t exactly accurate for the Earth’s rotation around the sun, so every four years we throw in an extra day to make up for it– otherwise things would eventually get a bit off-kilter in terms of seasons.) But I enjoy this idea of living with vigor. Leap Day is a day to do the things we normally wouldn’t do, to cross things off our bucket list, and to live like we’re thriving instead of surviving.
So no, you don’t technically have more time added to your life, the same way you don’t really “lose an hour” with Daylight Savings (which is stupid and should be abolished, who even likes that anymore?). You’re alive when you’re alive and time is essentially man-made, but Leap Day is a great check in for ourselves about how we’re spending our time. Are we going after our goals? Are we shying away from our dreams? Are we floating through life mindless on autopilot.
Me wearing yellow and blue, being weird
Check in with yourself and figure out how you want to spend today. You can choose to be as checked out from reality today as you want to as well. Live without the concept of consequence (within reason, I’m not taking responsibility for you quitting your job after reading this! Ha!), as Liz’s boyfriend in the Leap Day episode of 30 Rock says, “It’s Leap Day! Real life is for March!”
I actually made you a list of ways you might want to celebrate today if you want to download it. It has 20 ideas on it, including the option to write a letter to your future self, which is a service I offer, and you can choose to have it sent to you next Leap Day! What do you want to say to yourself in four years? Now’s your chance!
So how will you celebrate Leap Day? Tell me in the comments!