Leap Day

Like Leap Day — the official name of February 29th, a name that makes sense but I never knew existed — I often try to catch up by piling all of my work into one periodic power session. Instead of working a little bit at a time to, say, organize my photos or scan files, I instead wait until I have a day off and then make the impossible promise of getting it all done in that one day. Without fail, this leads to either exhausted success — I complete my task, but to the detriment of everything else I wanted to do (and the day off itself) — or it leads to frustrated failure.

February 2020: Leap Day

  • “Rise” — Rainer Maria
  • “Moby Octopad” — Yo La Tengo
  • “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)” — Bobby “Blue” Bland
  • “Lido Shuffle” — Boz Scaggs
  • “I Don’t Want It Now” — The Body Electric
  • ”Nappy Heads (Remix)” – The Fugees
  • “Stella” — Ida Maria
  • “Take Me Down Easy” — James Henry Jr.
  • “Free Four” — Pink Floyd
  • “O.O.T.G.” — JB the First Lady
  • “My People Come from the Land” — Frank Waln
  • “Aisle 13” — Built to Spill
  • “Borderline” — Pool Kids
  • “Emmylou” — First Aid Kit
  • “The Mountain” — Mason Jennings
  • “Boys Will Be Bugs” — Cavetown

Clearly, this entire process is flawed. Just like Leap Day, it turns out: while we make the assumption that we’re catching up on time lost, really we’re just shifting it around. There’s no more time; no less time — instead, it’s all an act to help keep things chunked into normal months and weeks, which is much easier for calendar creators but really not relevant to the day-to-day living functions of a human.

I’ve tried lately to be better at just doing things when they’re ready. Scheduling phone calls and scheduling monthly breaks for photo organization and scheduling time to read through my RSS feeds, but this level of structure leads to messiness when, you know, anything happens outside of that schedule. The yoke of productivity does not allow for inconsistency, and simply sectioning off time doesn’t actually stop the flow of time from doing what it wants.

My mind wants to be rigid: to hope these carved out sections of time allow for unprovoked flow. My heart knows it won’t work, so I allow myself to be more fluid, despite my mind’s objections. Saving the work for a later day just happens, because that’s how I can justify the schedule I keep otherwise. And when those days finally come — once a month, or once every four years — I can either work it with success or let it go, knowing that nothing is perfect.

Not even leap years are perfect. Today I learned about Leap Day’s biggest lie: that it only marginally corrects the calendar.

Leap year isn’t actually every four years, but instead is every four years except on the turn of the century … except for the centuries that happen to be divisible by 400. Which means if you a February 29th birthday in 1900, or upcoming in 2100, you actually wait eight years between birthdays.

It’s a lie we’ve all accepted. Just like those pictures I keep meaning to get organized.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 29th, 2020