It’s February 29, a date that won’t come along again for four years. Those who were born on this date have the rare excitement of celebrating their actual birthday (and joking that they are only 10, 15 etc. years old).
Although Leap Year was designed to help keep our sense of time congruent with the Earth’s rotation around the sun, I think it would be a good idea to use Leap Day to try something new in one’s life. Whether it be a new sport or hobby, a social engagement, religious practice, or something as simple as starting to read a different genre of book, today would be a great day to take a leap of faith.
I grew up craving safety. My parents, who lived through so much deprivation, uncertainty, and grief, raised their children to get good grades, stay out of trouble, and get a solid, respectable job. Nothing wrong with that. Yet in some ways, I wish they had encouraged us to take risks, to realize that failure isn’t fatal, and to follow a dream that may have seemed unrealistic at the time.
Last night as I watched the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, I felt inspired by the many artists there who had worked their whole lives in a creative field with little certainty or job security. Even some of the characters in the nominated films represent real people who fought against the odds to do something great. The Best Picture winner, Spotlight, for example, depicts the painstaking, unglamorous process of uncovering a major sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. One of the actual reporters who worked on the Spotlight expose attended the Oscar ceremony. He must have felt great satisfaction as he mounted the stage with the director, actors, and producers who helped bring his story to the big screen. More importantly, he must have felt vindicated for months of overcoming other’s disbelief as well as resistance from the justice system when the Boston Globe was finally able to break the story – and the silence around child sexual abuse by priests.
Although we may not all be able to achieve something newsworthy or momentous, we all have the ability to change things up in our lives. Life is about growth, and growth can only occur with change. So how about making a small leap this Leap Day? That leap may lead to a big and wonderful change in your life.