2020 is a leap year, we get an extra day of happiness:-) It happens this Saturday, February 29. Do you know why? I didn’t, but do now. Here’s what I found out.
A leap year occurs every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around the sun, which is about 365¼ days. If we didn’t add a day to our calendars, the seasons would gradually shift from their traditional time-frame causing us to have Christmas in July for instance.
And get this, the length of the solar year is actually 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than 365¼ days. To compensate for this, a leap day is not added in a century year unless it is evenly divisible by 400. So the year 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be.
Hey, why is it called a “leap” year anyway? Because each date on the calendar jumps ahead two days of the week instead of one in a leap year. For example: Christmas in 2018 was on Tuesday, last Christmas was on Wednesday, and Christmas this leap year will be on Friday. Interesting, now we know.
Leap years are special for Melanie and me since we were married on February 29, 1980. This year is our 40th or 10th anniversary depending on how you look at it. Melanie counts it as both and expects the traditional gift associated with each number. So this year she is expecting a ruby or something red for 40 years, and something made of tin/aluminum for 10. Which do you think she would like better?
As a person who has basically never been camping, and who doesn’t like the inconvenience of travel in the first place, buying a travel trailer would be a real leap of faith for me. Faith that it would be fun and that I could handle all the responsibilities that go along with that lifestyle.
For Melanie it would be one small step, but for me it would be one giant leap. Maybe that would be a good thing. But right now I’m in a look before you leap mindset. I want to do it for Melanie, but I have doubts and fears that are holding me back from making that commitment.
Looking back, we should have had doubts and fears about getting married at age 20 as juniors in college. But we had none. Were we too young and naïve to know any better? Probably. But we somehow just knew it was the right thing to do and that everything would work out for the best. It has. Were we right, lucky, or just stubborn enough to make it so? Probably all of the above.
As we age we seem to lose our leap of faith capacity. We do all sorts of crazy things as kids and young adults with no fear. We are blind to risks. We seek freedom and fun and don’t think much past the desired activity to evaluate all the potential consequences of our actions. We see the fun and never the potential risks. Sometimes that is good, and other times not so much.
Somewhere along the way, like in our 30’s, there is a tipping point where we transition from wild abandon, to abandoning the wild thinking. It occurs when we realize we have something to lose. We are solely focused on winning in our younger years. Winning a job and promotions. Winning the spouse of our dreams. “Winning” a home, car, and all the stuff we think we need to be happy.
Then one day we realize we have a lot to lose and we go into protection mode. We start protecting our lead. That spells trouble. Instead of continuing to play to win, we begin playing not to lose. By winning I mean getting better, growing, advancing. Basically, continually striving to make the world a better place. That is winning. All else is losing.
We lose when we let our fears and doubts win, when we continually focus on the downside risk over the upside potential rewards. We get skeptical. We think too much and do too little. We usually talk ourselves out of something rather than in to it. Inaction is so much safer. We value our safety and security over all else. We worry too much and dream too little. In the process, we tend to lose our ability to laugh and have fun. We might be happy, but we could be happier.
With all of this in mind, here’s our challenge for the week. Take a leap of faith. Do something that you know you should do, but that your doubts and fears have been preventing you from actually doing.
Think about your list of woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. Your “I wish I would have’s.” Your “I always wanted to, or someday I will’s.” Pick one thing and just do it. No more thinking about the reasons not to. No more risk reward calculations. No more pro and con thinking. Just make it happen, whatever it is. Get over yourself, have no fear, and get it done.
Melanie and I are going to dance together on our anniversary. It is scary to think about. We have studied and practiced a little, but we are far from feeling ready. We are going to do it anyway. And we are going to have someone take a video that we will post next week for you to prove that we did. Really scary!
We challenge you to do the same. No, you don’t have to dance. But do that scary thing you have always wanted to do. Share with the Playground Heaven Living Facebook Group what you are going to do. Then do it, make a video, and share if you dare. We double dog dare you! Yeah, this is serious. You will be happy when you do:-)
Happiness lives on the other side of fear and doubt. You just have to believe and take that first step. Who knows, it may even be a defining moment in your life. It sure was for Melanie and me forty years ago.
To Your Ongoing Happiness, Scott