I'm sure you know February 29th makes this a leap year...the once every four year addition of an extra day to poor little February to make the calendar stay on track....sort of like finding the cash drawer short at the end of your shift and adding a $20 to make everything balance out.
But, that isn't quite true. Over a 400 year period of leap years, we'd end up with a year that is 3 days too long. Eventually, after thousands of years, winter would happen in June in the Northern Hemisphere.
So, leap years only occur in years easily divided by 400. Actually, to get completely technical: a leap year is any year whose date is exactly divisible by 4 except those which are divisible by 100 but not 400. Confused? You may consider the approach most of us take. If there are 29 days in February on next year's calendar, then it is a leap year. Actually, Leap Year has a rather strange series of traditions and beliefs. The web site Ask.com has a section of urban legends. David Emery writes that:
"Persons born on leap day, February 29, are called "leaplings" or "leapers. It was once thought that leapling babies would inevitably prove sickly and hard to raise." Continuing, he notes that " It used to be said, that beans and peas planted during a leap year "grow the wrong way" — whatever that means — and, in the words of the Scots, "Leap year was never a good sheep year."
Most of us have heard that leap year confers upon women the "privilege" of proposing marriage to men. The convention was that any man who refused such a proposal owed his spurned suitor a silk gown and a kiss — provided she was wearing a red petticoat at the moment she popped the question. Seems like there were enough exceptions to keep this from from happening very often.
There is a Greek superstition that claims couples have bad luck if they marry during a leap year. Apparently one in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid planning their wedding during a leap year. An actual law once existed in Scotland forbidding a man to refuse a proposal made to him on February 29th. Punishment for such an offense was a large fine.
So much for Leap Year....an odd adjustment to the calendar that happens for all sorts of important reasons...that we can safely ignore.
Now, two announcements for February 29th:
I am privileged to be included in a new book that is available in bookstores and on-line. From what I understand the first printing has already been sold out to the book sellers, with a second printing underway.
The book is 65 Things to Do When You Retire. This fun, and inspiring guide features 65 essays with advice from noted authors, retirement experts, and yours truly,....people who have used their satisfying retirement as an opportunity to turn their personal dreams into a reality.
I am honored to be included with other contributors that include former president Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem, John E. Nelson (author of What Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement), and Liz Pryor (“life advice guru” for Good Morning America).
All royalties from the sale of the book are donated to non profit organizations dedicated to preventing and curing cancer. My understanding is that over $100,000 has been donated so far from several previous projects.
As soon as I receive my copy I will give you more information. I am excited and honored to be including with these 65 retirement pros and national figures.
Secondly, to celebrate the publishing of this new book as well as a thank you for your support and readership, I have permanently dropped the price of my e-book, Building a Satisfying Retirement to just $.99. Now you have no excuse for not downloading a copy by clicking on this link. After you download it, I'd really appreciate your adding a review to the Amazon page (if it is a good one. Otherwise, e-mail me about what you didn't like and I'll fix any problems in future additions!).
So, Leap Year 2012 turns out to be kind of a big day after all.