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Happy Leap Year! — Martha Carr

Martha Carr’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at Martha@caglecartoons.com.

Martha Carr’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at Martha@caglecartoons.com.

Leap year is upon us, and according to 800-year-old lore dating back to St. Patrick, the time is ripe for anyone hoping for more love or money.

To all the dreamers out there, get ready because your day fast approaches. Get some rest, dust off your plans and start talking up your new idea. The cosmos is on your side, and in this instance, it only happens once every four years.

After a Great Recession that has dragged on for almost four years, the desire to finally hope for more and grow our lives a little probably includes just about all of us.

The one day stuck onto the end of the month, February 29th, which makes this a leap year, is also thought to be particularly good for making money and finding love. Children who are born on this day are also thought to have a shot at a more abundant life. It's all good.

The practice of a leap day started as more of a simple solution to an accounting error that was finally noticed in 1582. Ironically it was the 13th pope, Pope Gregory XIII who mandated the new calendar because the old Julian calendar had strayed by ten days over the years.

Every four years, the Gregorian calendar self-corrects with an extra day stuck on the end of February, the shortest month, as a means to keep us on the straight and narrow. It doesn't sound like much, but eventually the growing season would have been stuck in November on Black Friday, which could throw off shoppers.

There's a certain order to things. Tomato and squash seedlings in May and bargains on electronics in November.

Besides, there's already very little that's predictable to just being human and having the seasons stick to the months they were originally assigned is a little comforting. Spring will come again in May and the first leaves will start to drop somewhere in October, at least here in Chicago. My mother takes a little bit of pleasure in pointing out that she's blissfully unaware of that in Florida.

True to our nature, however, no one would listen to Pope Gregory, and it wasn't until the 18th Century that most of Europe agreed to finally fix the calendar. That's another truly human characteristic. We don't care to change until the error personally affects us and we're uncomfortable enough. It's not very often that we're inspired en masse to set out and mix things up just because we're hoping for something better. First, we have to hate where we are just enough to risk the familiar.

It's also a part of human nature to look for signs. No matter how much we pooh pooh the whole notion, we all still do it.

For once, though, someone wanted to attach something good to this odd little bonus day and the two biggest motivators, love and money got a nod. The straight-laced Victorians who were big on following even the smallest social conventions saw that this day was already outside of the norm and designated it as the one day a woman could ask a man to marry her without breaking the rules.

Times have changed quite a bit, but that's still one rule that most American women still follow. Leap year may not be able to change even that one.

But to all those who are hoping for a new love or to rekindle an old one whose pilot light has blown out, use this day as an excuse to make some changes. Take a risk and set out as if you believe new love is on its way and dress for the occasion. Treat your spouse as if they really are your best friend, even if it hasn't seemed that way lately. Bring them coffee, listen to their stories without interruption and stifle the small bits of criticism that are circling in your mind.

To those of you who are in need of a little more monetary abundance, or who want to finally try out that old dream you talked about so much back in your twenties, get going. Start gathering information and bring a little hope with you. Don't let the naysayers stop you from even trying because after all, this is a leap year.

Sometimes, all that's needed is not so much a change in circumstances, but a change in attitude, and if a little extra magic from an extra 24 hours can bring that to you, then go with it. Take a leap of faith. More adventures to follow.

Tweet me @MarthaRandolph with your hopes and dreams. www.MarthaCarr.com. E-mail Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate.