Friday, February 29, 2008

Every Four Years . . .

Today, as you might well know, is February 29th. That's right. 2008 (and all years that are divisible by four) is a leap year. We add a day to the month of February once every four years because it takes 365 days and six hours for our home (earth) to get all the way around the sun (or so the "man" would have you believe).

Leap years seem like a pretty good solution to an otherwise awkward problem to me. I am, however, obsessing this morning about people who were born on the 29th of February or people who died on this day or people who get married on the bissextile or people who met the love of their life at a Starbuck's on this day or kids who lost their first tooth on a "leap" day. I obsess - OBSESS - over how they celebrate (or "recognize" in some cases) these special events and how unfair it would be to have to "choose" to celebrate the occassion a day early or a day late OR to constantly chase the 366th day so you celebrate your fourth birthday on February 25th and your eighth on the 21st, etc. etc. etc.

So - what is more important? That you celebrate your birthday on 2/29 or that you celebrate your birthday? That you remember the exact date and time that things happened or that you remember that you happened? That you have the full context of a special moment or that you remember the context of that moment?

I might argue that it is enough to just mark the occassion. I would argue that, however, with a certain hypocrisy though . . . I'm not, as anyone that really knows me can tell you, at ALL flexible about stuff. I'm not a "close enough" sort of guy. I am very tied to having things "just so" and I crave order and rules and timelines and exact detail.

If it were up to me, Joy and I would have dinner every August 2nd at Levante in Washington, DC (where we first met). If it were up to me I would have a joint birthday party with my brother Patrick every year the weekend of/after our birthdays (he was born on June 11, 1975, I was born on June 12, 1976) so our friends could play each other at some sport if ONLY so the party could still devolve in to a brawl between the "teams."

I still remember the exact date, time and location where I first kissed a girl (she kissed me actually, the charlatan) and I still remember the first time I failed a test. I remember how Sacre Coeur smelled when I first walked through the doors as a Sophomore in high school.

I remember all this but I don't remember how the hell I got to 530 pounds. With a few exceptions I don't really remember the times I would go to the doctor and they would weigh me and lecture me about my weight (the lectures I remember - the numbers I don't). I don't clearly remember all the times friends and family had tried to talk to me about my weight or my health (again - save a few episdoes/interventions/battles including my FAVORITE "talk" that actually took place at a Fuddrucker's). I don't really remember how tired and miserable and sore my weight made me feel (I know that I feel much better now).

I guess, to me, those moments all happened on February 29th. I sorta' remember them and sorta' acknowledge them in a "relative" way . . . even though they were no less important to me than his birthday is to "leapster" Tony Robbins.

I know they were impactful and important. I know they helped form and shape me but - they are not nearly as fun or as memorable as my first kiss (post-prom party, Junior year of high school (go ahead, laugh at the late-bloomer, NOT a kiss with my prom date (scandalous!)) or the way Sacre Coeur smelled to me on my French Club trip to Paris as a 15 year old or the way I felt the first time I flew in an airplane, etc.

Happy Birthday, by the way, Tony Robbins!

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