Happy New Year. It’s 2020. It’s a leap year. That’s a lot going on for one year.
Think about it: we are 20 years into the new millennium. One fifth of the way through this century. Weren’t we all just worrying that all of our technology was going to abruptly stop when the clock turned to midnight on January 1, 2000? That was 20 years ago.
In the blink of an eye, the phrase, uttered in Barbara Walters’ distinct voice, “This is 2020,” has a new, more serious meaning. We are moving quickly through time—perhaps too quickly for some of our comfort.
But it’s also a leap year, which means we have one extra day to embrace, to fill, to endure, depending on how you look at it. I have always thought that whomever first came up with the idea of leap year had a cruel sense of humor, particularly to those of us living in the north. Why, oh why, would anyone add an extra day to winter? Why not extend the summer one more long, languid day?
And shouldn’t it be called linger year or extend year or additional year? To leap is to skip over, to jump past. We aren’t doing that at all when we add one more short, dark, almost always frigid day to the calendar.
But I was at a conference recently that admonished those of us who live through winter to stop complaining about it and instead embrace it. The people at my table likely heard my eye roll, but it did get me thinking. What if we all used the opportunity of having this extra day, this leap year, to think about the word leap a little more literally?
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says, “Leap, and the net will appear.”
I used to do a lot of leaping in my life—as a single mom and a freelance writer and actor, I often wasn’t absolutely sure where my next paycheck was coming from or how I was going to pay a new bill. But I always had faith in my own ability to procure work and that a greater power was on the lookout for me. And those two things never let me down.
But then I got a job with a regular paycheck and I got comfortable; I forgot the stress but also the joy of taking a big running leap into the unknown and trusting that I would be just fine in the crossing and in the landing.
What if we all used this year, this leap year, as a time to assess what we might want to pursue but are scared to, where we might want to go but haven’t yet and how we might want to grow but don’t believe we can?
We have one more day this year to be brave, to embrace risk and to get a running start and take a great big leap.
After all, this is 2020, and there’s no time like the present.
The Ha’penny bridge in Dublin, Ireland.