by Gregg Krech

How many of us have sat back in a chair, thought about everything we need to do that is undone, sighed deeply, and said, “I wish I had more time.”

Of course, there are only 24 hours in a day, and 365 days in a year, so you can’t really have more time.  Except once in a while you can.  And that once in a while is tomorrow or, actually, this year.  This year, you get your wish.  You get more time.  An extra day. A leap year day.  Congratulations!

You have Julius Caesar to thank for this, though he probably stole the idea from the Egyptians.  This is what happens when there are no patents. As a reward, he had a month named after him – July.

The real question, now that your wish has come true, is what will you do with the extra time, the extra 24 hours? 

If you’re a student, or have a job, you’ll probably spend a good portion of the day in school or at work.  Nothing really different than most other days.  You may also end up going to the supermarket, cooking dinner, checking your email, looking at social media and paying some bills. So you wish for more time and now that you got your wish, you don’t really do anything different.  That’s kind of sad, but your life is busy.

What if you were just about to die and you were standing before the Grim Reaper, who has come to take you.  But you plead for one more day.  And the Grim Reaper, who happens to be in a really good mood, says, “OK, you can have one more day”.  Would you go food shopping?  Pay bills? Check social media and maybe post a selfie with you and the Reaper standing in front of some famous building?  Let’s get serious for a moment.  What would you do with that extra day, knowing it was your last?

I’ve been pondering this question in anticipation of February 29th later this week.  I think one of my priorities would be to spend time with my loved ones and say goodbye.  Lots of long hugs.  Big hugs.  I think I would also write a letter thanking lots of people for things they did for me.  I would like to leave behind a big stack of thank you letters.

I might also want to take a walk in the woods, or by the lake.  I would definitely want to spend some time playing the piano.  Since I don’t know where I’m going, I can’t be sure if there will be a piano there.  So I should take advantage of that on my extra day of life.  I would definitely go out in the yard and play with my dog, Betty.  And each time she brings back the frisbee, I would give her maybe five treats instead of just one.

I would donate some money to my favorite charities.  I would watch the sunset.  I would go out at night, no matter how cold, and look at the stars and the moon.  Or the clouds.  Yes, I would actually go out in the cold and rain just to look at clouds when it’s too dark to see them.  That’s what happens when you realize how precious life is.

One thing I’m sure I would do is to stay awake the whole time – no napping or going to bed early.  I would drink a big mug of strong coffee after dinner.  In the film, The Family Man, Nicholas Cage knows that if he falls to sleep he is going to be mysteriously transported to his former life.  And he doesn’t want to leave his family.  So he just sits in a chair and tries not to sleep.  I don’t really know why he didn’t just drink lots of strong coffee.  Maybe it added more drama to the plot.

So on your extra day this week, your leap day, I suggest you really give some serious thought to how to use that time.  You only get one of these extra days every four years.  Don’t squander this one.  Use the time wisely.  That extra day is really a gift.  Actually, every day you are alive is a gift.  But this one stands out because it’s based on a mathematical equation that recognizes that the earth is traveling too slow. 

So maybe we should all slow down and consider what’s truly important in our lives and bring that realization into the day.  The leap day.  The day we wished for.




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