Several weeks ago at work I spent the day with a battery-operated, portable desktop computer. It was this wheeled contraption that allowed you to cordlessly move around the monitor, keyboard and tower. Just above the keyboard was a screen that counted down the amount of battery life left. I started the day with sixteen hours remaining, plenty of time. As the day progressed however, the time clock counted down more rapidly than the actual passage of time. I was down to eight hours very quickly and from there it rapidly swung from eight to six to seven to four hours. Rather than slowly counting down, there were rapid and random fluctuations of large portions of time until finally it decided there were only five minutes of life left and it emitted this piercing shriek that demanded action to save functionality. What should have been a helpful tool ended up completely stressing me out all day with its uncertainty.
Life, however, is uncertain. And, depending how you look at it, we either aren’t fortunate enough or aren’t cursed with a countdown depicting our time remaining. We know each of us have an end, but, like my crazy computer, the exact moment of when that is will forever be a mystery.
As such, it is a popular belief that we should live in the moment. The past is gone and the future is not a guarantee and yet we spend so much time looking forward to something more exciting or looking back at a better time that we often miss many of our moments. It’s something I struggle with on a regular basis. Remembering that each and every moment is a unique contribution to life can be difficult in the ordinary everyday humdrum. It’s hard to relish a moment that doesn’t seem to live up to one of our more spectacular ones.
It’s funny how time seems to speed up and slow down depending on the particular circumstances going on in our lives. Some days and weeks seem to drag by while other large chunks pass in a flash. But time is tricky. We don’t get any extra at the end of our lives, and we don’t know exactly where each moment falls on our timeline.
This year is leap year. Due to the Earth’s orbit around the sun taking slightly longer than the 365 days we have in a calendar year, every four years we have an “extra” day added so our calendar year doesn’t get completely out of whack, our seasons stay seasonal and the sun rises and sets appropriately. Next Monday is Leap Day. As a Monday, it’s a work day for many and so it really isn’t “extra” time. We will go about our normal routines as if it was any other day, we’ll just fumble a bit when we write February 29th. While we probably won’t benefit in the sense of checking off extra tasks, we can take the day as a reminder. A reminder that time is weird and finicky and we don’t know how many more “extra” days we have coming our way.
Whether we’re in a particularly speedy or slow period, our “battery life” is counting down and we don’t know how long we have to complete our work. Let’s take Leap Day as a reminder to leap into each and every moment, making them spectacular in their own way, and making the most of the time we have.