What are we gonig to do with our extra day this leap year?

Published 7:31 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Well, here we are, coming to the end of the shortest month of the year. But, 2024 is giving us a bit of a gift with the extra day, courtesy of it being a leap year. So now, the question is what are we going to do with it?

I’m not really asking what we’re going to do with an extra day on the calendar, especially since it falls in the middle of the workweek, but using it more as a metaphor for time in general. Didn’t see a philosophical query coming mid-week, did you? 

But, hear me out: Whomever first said time flies when you A. become an adult, B. have children, or C. spend a lot of time focused on your daily tasks completely hit the proverbial nail on the head. Since my kids were born, it seems like everything happens in fast forward. I know it’s cliche to say things like, “they were just born!” or “seems like yesterday they were learning to ride bikes,” but it’s true! The days really can be long, but the years are definitely short.

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I also think my job makes time seem to fly. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m one of those annoying people who truly loves his job. In fact, I don’t even see it as a job as much as a calling and a privilege. I found journalism in high school at a time when I was already pretty sure I wanted to spend my life writing in some form or another. When I found my high school newspaper, I knew exactly how I wanted to use whatever skills I had – and the ones I would develop – and I never looked back. 

But, this job does make time a bit wonky. You’re constantly thinking about the next deadline and you divide your hours, days, and weeks differently based on it. I purposefully excluded months, because often that’s just too far ahead to think (outside of planned publications like Vicksburg Living). Sometimes, what will be in the next day’s paper changes completely in an instant, so what’s going to happen in June is just anyone’s guess. 

On top of all of that, I feel like I’m entering a phase in my life when I am being forced to come to terms with the fact that I really am an adult, despite how much like a kid I feel most of the time. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little excited that Febrary 29 gives me an extra day before I turn 41. But, it’s almost comical at times when people equate reporting the news with having the answers to big questions. Admittedly, I get to poke my head in and look around at the inner workings of a lot of very important things, but when it comes to answers, those of us reporting on big problems are often at as much of a loss as everyone else. That’s not to say we don’t understand what we’re writing about, but just to reinforce that life isn’t simple. It’s full of difficult questions and complex decisions that often reside much more in the gray than in the black and white.

So, if I have sufficiently bummed you out, give me a chance to finish on the positive note I was driving toward. Life can be crazy sometimes and it’s really easy to get caught up in it all, blink, and realize 10 years have gone by. It’s important to stop from time to time and look around; count your blessings; watch whatever your kid wanted to show you when he or she said “mom!” or “dad!” 13 times in a row, or stop the car in one of the casino parking lots at dusk and watch as the sun sets over the Mississippi.

That’s what leap year means to me: a little extra time. Don’t waste it. 

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vicksburgpost.com.