There are about 5 million people in the world who have their ‘real’ birthday every fourth year on 29th February. People born on 29 February are sometimes known as “leapers” or “leaplings.” The odds of being born on a leap day is often said to be 1 in 1,461. (4 years have 1,460 days plus 1 day for the leap year). This makes most leaplings feel unusual and extremely special.
I was reminded about this recently, while sending a card to a friend of mine in Canada who will be 13 on 29th February this year. She has just become a teenager and also she has two adult children, three grandchildren, a PhD and other senior qualifications, a successful company that she started up and a lovely home, from where she travels worldwide to lecture.
Today, on 29th February I was amused to listen to Eddie Mair, who is the presenter of PM on BBC Radio 4 who was reporting about listeners who have been asked during the month of February whether they’d be prepared to take advantage of this extra day to do something different. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who are prepared to use this distinctive date to take a leap. Here were some of them (I have borrowed them from the PM blog):
One man said,” I resolve to speak Mandarin all day long.”
Another said, “I have often meant to take a roof tour of Lincoln Cathedral but never got round to it.”
After six years one woman will finally decide the wording for her husband’s headstone.
Some people are at last scattering the ashes of loved ones, having put it off for years.
There’s a woman taking up the hula-hoop after more than 50 years.
Another woman intends to have some chocolate today – her anorexia has been a problem for years.
A man who suffers panic attacks will try to make a bus journey.
A woman in her sixties has decided she will get a tattoo.
This set me thinking – what can I do? It is already evening and I am at home. Since I am a writer, the only thing I can think of is to write a blog on 29th February and end it by wishing all the Leaplings an extraordinarily Happy Birthday. You are a rare breed – so celebrate!