Elections, Olympics, and a WHOLE extra day!
On the long and growing list of things I do not understand, time zones and daylight saving time are at the top of the list. (The TV show “The Bachelor” also ranks pretty high.) Somehow, because of the Earth’s rotation and some kind of time-keeping ﬂaw, we end up with a whole extra day every four years. While I have no clear idea of exactly how this happens, I’m really excited when a leap year comes rolling around.
My excitement with leap year began some-where in childhood. Back when I was a kid, a leap year meant Olympics. My ﬁrst really vivid memory of the Olympic Games was 1984 (I was in fourth grade) and I watched the winter games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and then the Summer Games in Los Angeles, Calif. The theme music was stuck in my head from that point forward, and I even made my Barbie into an Olympic athlete (ﬁgure skater for winter, track star for summer).
Back then, both the winter and summer Olympics occurred in the same year, and then we waited four years for another round. In 1994, the games began alternating every two years instead of every four. I have no idea why and I’m really not interested in the reason. I’m just glad to have the Games more frequently. The Olympic Games are incredible – zillions of people from all over the world participating in some way (athlete, volunteer, fan). We learn new things by watching, whether it’s the bizarre rules of curling or how to pronounce names of athletes from remote lands. The opening ceremonies, with the ﬂags from around the world, really give hope for a place where people settle their differences on the athletic ﬁeld instead of a battleﬁeld. The Olympics, for me, are always a symbol of hope for a world where we get along a bit better. And a leap year will always mean the Olympics are here (even if we get a bonus round in between leap-year cycles).
A leap year also brings another symbol of hope – the presidential election. Without get-ting too political here, the chance to choose the leader of our nation is a great honor and always an opportunity to expect change. Sometimes I’m pleased with the changes that come. Sadly, I’m more often disappointed in either the change that comes or the lack of anything that happens following the election. But every four years, hope springs anew. If you can wade through the endless campaigning (which seemed to begin during the previous leap year), election year means a chance to start over.
The best part of a leap year, though, is the extra day. Seriously, a whole extra day. We often whine about not having enough hours in a day or days in a week. But here you go; every four years, the time-keeping people give you that extra day.
What will you do with yours? The possibilities are endless. If you’re an athlete, maybe you’ll train. If you’re running for oﬃce, you’ll spend that day campaigning in another small town. But what about us, the average Americans? Personally, I think Feb. 29 should be a holiday with no plans or traditions or family expectations. Just a day oﬀ. But I’m sure many of you will work. I know I will.
But with a bonus day, we should do some-thing with it that’s out of the ordinary. I’m not suggesting that we can make any great changes in society in one day, but maybe we can do some-thing fun and different. Take a different route to work. Try a new restaurant. Wear an outﬁt you never wear. Speak in a foreign accent for the day (my personal favorite amusement). Try curling or synchronized swimming. Shake it up. It’s an extra day! You’ll have to wait four more years for another one.
Maybe you’ll spend the extra day researching presidential candidates. Maybe you’ll program your DVR for your favorite Olympic sports coverage. Or maybe you’ll just try to figure out where this extra day came from in the ﬁrst place. No matter what, celebrate the day.
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company located at 300 Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome.
*The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.