Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Bissextile Year: Experimentation With Intercalation

2012 is no common year. The next 10 months will be witness to a presidential election in the US, the Summer Olympic Games in London, the final solar transit of Venus of this century, the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, the opening of Joss Whedon's*Avengers” movie in IMAX 3D, the end of the Mayan calendar... and possibly the end of time.

It also gives us an additional day. Granted, it is a winter day at the end of February, rather than, say, a nice, long summer day in July. Nevertheless, there it is, so we might as well enjoy it. Maybe with a cookie. Or hot chocolate. With whipped cream. That's always nice.

Leap Day is a reminder that the calendar year is a practical (and not particularly elegant) contrivance for keeping track of the planting and harvest seasons, as well as when “30 Rock” is in reruns. It is not the real measure of a lifetime. Each of the grand events I mentioned earlier is the culmination of multiple calendar years' worth of planning, observation, research, development, and execution. Some projects are just too grand to be measured in weeks or months. 

Let this Leap Day be your spring-board, your jumping off point, to pursue your long-term projects – those desires and goals that are too expansive to be crammed into a mere 365 days. More than a New Year's Resolution, make a Leap Day Projection of what you want to achieve in the next 4, 8, 12 years and the steps you can take to make it happen. More than a scale for judging what you've accomplished in the past, make the yearly calendar a timetable for planning what you will achieve in the future.
On a related and wholly self-serving note, my new book “Hometown,” is (finally!) due out this Spring. Only half a year later than originally planned... but who's counting?

Today's lesson: Take a leap!

Next: Maybe the story of the conversation out of which The Yummish Faith was born. It involves grapes.

Bonus Historical Fun Semi-fact: In the past, in certain areas of Europe there was a Leap Day tradition of women proposing marriage to men. If the man refused, he then had to give the woman a sort of consolation gift – often clothes, jewelry, or other accessories. Boy howdy, would I have racked up a stack of gloves and gowns back in the day! (Bonus Fun Fiction: The character Sadie Hawkins was originally inspired by my 9th grade yearbook picture.)


*What do you think? Future Yummish Saint? Vote here.

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