No matter how old I get, I must admit to magical thinking occasionally invading my mind. Like I wish for a giant crane to remove all cars with drivers texting from the roadway. Or to win the lottery and have enough money to only write what interests me.
Rarely do these magical things happen. OK, never…that is until now. If I had to identify the one magical thought that I have most often, it’s to have more time. There’s so much to do, and I constantly feel rushed for time. And I’m not alone. Psychology Today reported that 80% of working adults wish for more time.
And it’s a ridiculous wish when you think about it. Unless a genie comes out of a lamp to skew the laws of physics, it’s basically out of our control. We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year…until we die.
But wait, this is a wish that can come true. It happens every four years on Leap Year when we get one extra day! This year, 2020, is a Leap Year, so we have a February 29. While I’ve been aware of this anomaly of time for many, many years, I never really THOUGHT about it.
When I was a child, it fascinated me that people had birthdays that only appeared every four years. These Leap Year babies are called leaplings, and there’s even a special club for them. Another tradition associated with leap year days is women could propose to men. Which they can anyway, so that seems kind of silly.
Leap Year is an attempt to keep our calendar aligned with the Earth’s movement around the sun, known as the astronomical year. If we didn’t, we might have snowstorms in spring and heat waves in autumn. And yes, I sadly realize that climate change may do this anyway, but stay with me on this time thing.
Julius Caesar is credited with introducing Leap Day, but it was based on the Egyptian solar calendar, which featured 365 days and an occasional month inserted to make everything line up with the stars. Caesar, with help from the Greek astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria, decided to add a day every four years.
Scholars still weren’t happy though. Apparently, this was 11 minutes too much, which add up after a while. After 1600 years or so, the Catholic Church began experiencing trouble with the timing of the Easter holiday. So, Pope Gregory XIII had the calendar tweaked. When leap years fell on a century year, there would only be a leap day if that century year was divisible by 400. This was the start of the Gregorian calendar. For example, 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not divisible by 400, so no leap year. Our last century year, 2000, was divisible by 400, so we had a leap year.
Now what fascinates me the most is that we have an entire extra day. And for those who work the typical Monday through Friday, this extra day is on a Saturday. Double jackpot! An extra day we don’t owe to someone else.
What will I do with my extra day? I could catch up on chores, but that seems sacrilegious for the special gift of extra time. I could read or I could write. I’m always wishing for more time to do both. Perhaps I’ll split my time doing the solo activities I love most with spending time with the people I love.
The difference a day makes.