What’s the one thing we could all use more of? Money? Probably. Fun? Sure. Time? Absolutely. We could all use more hours in the day. Every four years we kind of get our wish and are given the rare February 29th, a calendar anomaly and the time equivalent of found money: found time. Make the most of your extra day and do something special, fun, different, brave, spontaneous, unexpected. Take a leap!
Here are some suggestions on how to make this extra day count:
Hop in the car and go somewhere you’ve never been. Drive with or without a destination in mind. Go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or just hit the road and see where it takes you. This could mean driving for thirty minutes or three hours. Today, make it your mission to see what you have never seen.
Have a Tech-Free Day. Turn off your wifi, close your laptop, ignore the gaming systems and let your mind and eyes relax. Enjoy the simpler things, like a walk around your neighborhood, a new magazine, or an old hobby that you’ve been neglecting.
Organize, Organize, Organize! This sounds like the least adventurous way to spend a leap day, but it’s one of the more responsible and surprisingly rewarding tasks you can accomplish. Decluttering your living space will help to declutter your mind and spirit. Two books focused on home organization have been sweeping the world (get it? Sweeping? As in sweeping with a broom, cleaning…Humor me and chuckle, please) and they can serve as your road map when it comes time to toss, donate, sell, or save: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (both by Marie Kondo). A word to the wise regarding yard sales: Plan NOW! Mark it on your calendar, keep those items organized (kitchenware with kitchenware, clothing with clothing, and so on), and even start making the posters as soon as possible. Don’t turn this into something else on your To Do list that never gets crossed off.
Apply for a passport. Some of you may already have your passport (and with more than one stamp!), and others may need to get theirs renewed. This is a process that can take several weeks and a bit of paperwork, but when you finally get that little blue book, you will have the world at your fingertips. Visit travel.state.gov for more information about applying for a passport. Get the ball rolling and start fantasizing about all the places you will visit…The Amalfi Coast, a South African safari, a Moroccan spice market. You can see it all.
Cross something off your bucket list. Get the tattoo you’ve been wanting for a decade; Skydive; Book the cruise to Alaska; Start writing the novel that’s been bumping around your brain. Some dreams might be too big or too abstract to accomplish in a single day, and that’s fine. Take a step closer to it. Visualize it, believe that it will happen, and then put the plan into motion.
Spend the day alone, doing exactly what YOU want to do.* You are the only person you will live with for your entire life. Don’t you think you should get to know yourself and appreciate yourself? It’s too easy for us to forget who we are once families, jobs, friends, and responsibilities come along. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of those things are great (except maybe for responsibilities…I could do without paying bills). They make life a richer journey. But, all of those outside things add to the noise that surrounds us, sometimes drowning out the voice that tells us what WE want. Spend the day compromise-free. Go see the movie that you want to see at the time you want to see it. Get dinner from the place you love but that everyone else in your family hates. Take a fencing class or just spend the entire day in your pajamas watching the movie Leap Year or the “Leap Day” episode of 30 Rock (in which we learn all about the fictional, mythical character Leap Day William). Make yourself the top priority.
If today is your birthday: Celebrate BIG. If the actual day you were born only comes around every four years, you owe it to yourself to go all out! This means something different for everyone: a D.J. and a catering hall, a Broadway show and brunch with friends, a big family party at home. If you want to poke a little fun at being born on a leap day, your celebration can revolve around your “birth day age,” or the number of birthdays you have officially experienced (for example, a 28-year-old born on a leap day has only had seven birthdays on February 29th) and plan a retro celebration like one you would have had as a kid: a pizza and ice cream party, or maybe a get-together at a local arcade, bowling alley, or paint-your-own ceramics place. Break out the colorful balloons and party hats!
February 29th falls on the least exciting day of the week: Monday. Turn this dreaded day into something to celebrate. If you can’t (remember our old friend, responsibilities?), set aside another day and approach it with the leap day spirit.
Be courageous and take a leap!
Happy Leap Day,
*Obviously, this does not mean that you should go around breaking the law or causing havoc. Do what you want within reason.