This Monday, February 29, 2016 is a Leap Day! I’ve come to see leap day as a kind of “second chance” day, 24 extra hours in the year in which to rest, renew and discover. At the outset of the month, in order to inspire the rest of the family, I decided that I would try to practice the spirit of “leap day” all month long. The outcome has been an entire month’s worth of leaps, some good, some bad, some inconsequential. But, boy, did I leap!
Here’s a list of 10 Things to Try on Leap Day that I’ve generated from this vertiable month of wonder!
1. Move! Take a new exercise class! [And do it on the cheap!]
Try a new exercise class, whether that be personal training, zumba, cycle fit, a jogging club, you name it! Do it alone or try it as a family! And, if possible, try to be fiscally responsible by looking for a free first class pass, asking friends if they have a free-companion pass [most clubs offer them], or looking for a groupon. Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or free first go! It’s Leap Day after all! There are also some amazing free online options, such as apps, youtube dance tutorials, and digital downloads. So, google away!
This month, I decided that I was going to try hot bikram yoga class. Luckily, I found a groupon for the local studio that I’d been eyeing. The class was challenging and energizing. I wasn’t necessarily keen on the teaching style of Birkam. But, I enjoyed the heat and movement. Okay, okay, so, the three day hot-yoga-headache that followed was definitely a turn off. [Who knows, I might write a longer post about this experience afterward.] Still, headache or no, I am really glad that I tried it. And I’ll be looking around for ashtanga vinyasa classes held in warm, but not excessively hot rooms. Next up? I want to try barre classes and OMG these BEYOGRAPHY Beyonce-style dance classes. Anyone want to join?
2. Hey, YOU, get yourself checked out! Make a doctor’s appointment!
Listen up, people! You better darn well use the opportunity of an extra twenty-four hours in the year to tackle some self-care. Make that appointment with your family doctor for a well visit or get in touch with your specialist du jour! Get that lump or bump checked out — whether it’s just a tiny “what’s this” or a larger “ut oh.” Do it! And involve the kids by making this appointment in their presence. Heck, have them call their pediatricians to make appointments for their own well visits. They can do it, too!
This month, after noticing that my eyes were suddenly extremely fatigued, I made an appointment to go to the eye doctor. I hadn’t been to one for years. So, I researched and found a new doctor, and I went and took care of things. Sure, it may have been a bit of a disappointment for Ms. 20/20 vision to be told that she needed screentime/reading glasses. But, boy does it already feel much better to read and to work on the computer for hours on end!!! And, well, now I’ve become quite interested in everybody’s glasses and where they get them. #downtherabbithole I go! Thanks so much to Dr. Milonas and Optical Manager David Ko at View Eye Care for all of the help. [OMG Seriously, my new reading glasses look just like Beyonce’s!] Next up? Getting a referral for massage therapy!
3. (Re)Educate Yourself! Sign up to learn something new or take a refresher course!
This might just be the day to finally sign up for those ______ classes you’ve been wanting to take for a million years! Is it time to learn how to rhumba? It is time to figure out how to make an app in Scratch? Have you duolingoed enough German that you want to start looking for a conversation partner? Yes. Yes. It’s time. Even if it isn’t time, people, it’s time!
This month, I took a two-night course in html/css via Ladies Learning Code. As I look towards what’s next in terms of these websites and their trajectory I now feel much more equipped to make changes or try something entirely new. I’ve signed up for a few more LLC courses over the next few weeks, and I’m even toying with the idea of doing more front end programming work at hacker You, where the courses were held. And what’s next in terms of Dr. Rosey’s education? Brushing up on my French conversation — with the kids!
4. Plan a vacation, even if it’s months or years away!
Nothing wrong with browsing the travel guides at your local bookstore, folks. Nothing wrong with sitting down and dreaming up a vacation of a lifetime! Nothing wrong with setting up a day-trip to Niagara or a weekend away with just the girls, either. Make it happen! Leap Day is the day to plan a vacation, whether it’s now or four years from now!
This month, I got our family all set up for our now annual trip to the Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario. This was relatively easy, as the kids wanted to stay at the same Motel as last year and hit their fave restos. And, they’d already made a “wish-list” of the plays they wanted to see for the 2016 season. But, planning a repeat trip was still super fun. Next up? Trying to see if we can accompany Toby on his school trip to Germany next year or trying to make a general plan for Europe in four years’ time, perhaps for Bea’s sweet 16…
5. Go out by yourself!
Whether you’re single or involved, it’s really important to take yourself out once and a while, alone! So, hit stubhub and make plans to treat yourself with a single seat at that Raptors game or to sob solo in your beer at a Leaf’s game. Make plans to dress up, grab a favourite book, and go out for a cocktail. Or, buy an advance VIP movie ticket for ONE. And, hey, why not encourage the kids, if they’re old enough, to do the same. Why not plan to send them off for an hour at the coffee shop or a movie? Or why not set up a safe space in the house for them to have some special time alone?
This month, I made a last minute decision to grab a ticket to go and see Siegfried at the Canadian Opera Company. Since the Ring Cycle is at the heart of the novel I’ve been writing, I wanted to make sure to take in the remounting of the production the characters in my novel are listening to on the radio. So, off I went and got myself a single seat in the nosebleeds. The company in the 5th ring was pleasant. The solo glass of wine was sinful. The opera was magnificent. And I had myself a marvelous time! I loved it so much, in fact, that when a friend offered me her comp ticket to The Marriage of Figaro, I jumped at the offer and went back for solo evening #2! Next, I’m hoping to swap time with my spouse and encourage him to do the same!
6. Stop, drop, and Meditate!
Practice at least 10 minutes of mindfulness this Leap Day. As a group or solo, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, breathe evenly, and try to just be. If you’re not comfortable leading your own meditation “sesh” just hit youtube and search for a guided meditation. The print edition of Real Simple Magazine always publishes a relaxation exercise that you can follow. And, here’s their handy online tutorial. You can also check out our sister site’s Three Meditation Exercises for Kids and Families.
This month, I’ve been meditating for 15 minutes after each of my strength training sessions [MWF]. By “sessions,” I mean the workouts that I do in the basement following Schuler and Cosgrove’s Strong: Nine Workout Programs for Women to Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism, and Build Strength for Life. And, on weekends, I have been doing longer 30-60 minute meditation sessions in the bathtub, because, well BATHTUB! Next up? Meditating 7 days a week. (And asking the kids to meditate more, also.)
7. Make a Leap Day resolution or a list of 4-year goals!
So, if you failed to make (or keep) a New Year’s Resolution, and if you missed our Chinese New Year resolutions, too, Leap Day offers the perfect opportunity to make some resolutions or Long-Term Goals. Make a plan to finally take up that Whole30 and stick to it. Try a new juice in the morning for the next few days. Resolve to eat more cake, or, in general, to indulge. Dedicate yourself to cutting down your list of FB friends or to making new friends in real life. Do something short term, or take the opportunity of the Leap Day to make a Four-Year Plan!
This month, I’ve been writing and animating a list of my weekly TBDs in a blank book. Alright, so maybe it looks like I’m drawing all over the brown paper wrappers of my high school text books again. (I won’t post a pic of mine here. But, just google image search “visual journal” and you’ll get the idea.) Still, it’s kept me on my toes. So, on Leap Day, I’m going to make a two page visual journal of my 4-year goals. But our big resoluton, as family, will be to volunteer more. To that end, after March Break, we are going to visit Volunteer Toronto and get the ball rolling.
8. Have a mini-binge!
Celebrate leap day evening by having a mini-binge-watching session. Watch the first three episodes of Gilmore Girls or Mr. Robot, or the last four episodes of Survivor Season 1, or Brooklyn 9-9. Or, start a week long Pride and Prejudice marathon by watching the first “installment.” Start an Oscar Winners marathon or an Oscar Snubs marathon Monday night! Get your Lubitsch on. There’s always time to stream a little something something, don’t you know? Why not ALL of beyonce’s videos?
This month, a few times a week, Bea and I have been doing mini-binge sessions of Game of Thrones. (We tend to ffwd through the racy bits and blood baths, btw.) This Monday, we might just catch another episode or two…Hey, does anybody know, is Gendry ever coming back to the show?
9. Grab a new book, and start reading it!
If you’re looking for an excuse to start a new book (and who isn’t looking for an excuse to start a new book), it’s here! Monday is Leap Day! Buy a new book! Grab one from the library. Borrow one from a friend! Need we say more? Just read!
Looking for recommendations? This month, for my birthday, I received Iris Murdoch’s letters, Living On Paper, Tana French’s highly recommended mystery, In the Woods, and Elana Ferrante’s popular novel My Brilliant Friend. I am well on my way to heavenly bliss. I’ve already picked up the second Ferrante novel in the Neopolitan series…Just hoping I can pace myself so that I still have some plane reading for the end of next month.
10. Do something, anything, backwards!
Much like Sadie Hawkins day, Leap Day has been a traditional day for reversals of all kinds. If you google image search “vintage leap year,” for instance, you’ll see a whole bunch of cards in which women are depicted throwing themselves at mens’ feet and attaching the “old ball an chain” to their guys. Alright, so things have come a long way. But, we should still have some fun. So, here’s to writing cryptic emails by spelling them backwards or writing the words from last to first. Here’s to doing the easy work first and putting the hard work off until last (or do we already do that?). And here’s to crazy hairdo’s, walking the dog the other way around the block, and hitting your coffee shop in the evening instead of at dawn (or, at least, hitting it twice).
Our favourite option? Breakfast for dinner! This month has been a virtual month of breakfasts for dinner. And, let me tell you, pancakes for dinner is a lifesaver. On Monday, though, I think I’ll surprise the kids by having dinner for breakfast. Cold post-oscars pizza at 8am anyone? Leftover birthday cake? Yes, please!
+11. If all else fails: coffee, basketball, lipstick, Beyoncé!
What? Too much pressure? Just enjoy yourself this Leap Day. Buy yourself a stronger espresso. Stick around for that extra game of pick up basketball you thought you didn’t have time for. Hit Shoppers for that lipstick you’ve been wanting, Or, turn the radio up and dance to Beyoncé. Because, well, Leap Day.