I don’t know about you, but I’m always pressed for time. There are just never enough hours in a day to complete my to-do list.

The hours, then the days, weeks and years all seem to fly by. And yes, I’m aware this is a symptom of ageing.

We all know time waits for no man. Tempus fugit and all that. So, a leap year with its additional day is a real bonus. A whole spare 24 hours! I even feel giddy about the extra hour that we get in October when the clocks go back.

There’s definitely something rather fantastical about a leap year. February 29 is a cheeky pause in an otherwise relentless calendar. A veritable wrinkle in time. According to Wikipedia “a leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additional day compared to a common year.”

Ham & High: Shelley-Anne Salisbury looked forward to the extra day this FebruaryShelley-Anne Salisbury looked forward to the extra day this February (Image: 1000words.co.za)

So, by definition, a leap year is an uncommon year and out-of-the-ordinary things may happen. For example, women can ask men to marry them on any Valentine’s Day that falls in a leap year, inverting the usual norm.

Of course, this may now seem a rather outmoded concept in a time of gender fluidity and greater sexual equality - there is still some way to go there - but it still offers up a frisson of counterculture, which is pretty exciting.

On the flip side, a friend who was born on February 29 found it deeply upsetting as a child to lose his official birthday during the years in between a leap year. Celebrating on February 28 held absolutely no authenticity. However, as the years have progressed, he now positively welcomes his “non” birthdays.

This year, as he constantly tells anyone who’ll listen, he turns 14 and his twin boys will be older than he is. A very niche dad joke which his kids will, no doubt, roll their increasingly mature eyes at.

This leap year I was excited to see what the extra day would offer up for me.

This man-made construct was there for the taking and the possibilities were endless.

A whole day of consummate relaxation, an impromptu holiday, a duvet day? Who was I kidding? As I write this column, I’ve already scheduled two work meetings, a work lunch and a dental appointment for the 29th that I couldn’t fit in on any other day in February.

Business as usual then.

  • Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News, themediationpod.net.