February 29 comes around just once every four years. So it's no surprise that -- in a world where people talk of being starved for time -- we ponder what we'd do with the extra 24 hours. Want to ride roller coasters? Disney is keeping Disneyland open around the clock on Leap Day this year. The Wall Street Journal offered suggestions last week for the extra hours, including viewing all the paintings in the Louvre (28.6 seconds apiece) or playing 16 games of Monopoly.
But here's a more serious thought. We may talk about what we'd do with extra hours in a day or a week or a year, but such fantasies misjudge human nature. We are who we are. We'd be the same people with different amounts of time, and so we'd likely make the same choices. If you're not reading, exercising, relaxing, pondering life or planning your future in the 365 days you usually have, you're not going to do it in 366 either.
The best question for Leap Day is to ponder what you don't feel you spend enough time on in your life, and then figure out how you can change your daily life to fit that in. Want to spend more time with your kids? Maybe you can start making family breakfast a habit in your house. Want to exercise? Park your car at the back corner of the office lot (or get off a subway stop earlier). Want to relax or meditate? Shut down your computer 15 minutes earlier and just do it. Your email will still be there no matter how much time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun. The best way to use Leap Day is to rethink your life so that the next time Leap Day rolls around, you don't feel like you need an extra 24 hours. Because you're already living the life you want.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Foxtongue.