Today is our bonus day. The extra 24 hours we get every 4 years.
But, like those months where you get extra paycheque, that bonus can be set aside for something intentional, or simply absorbed into the warp and weft of everyday life.
Of course, I know that February 29th is not a day that exists outside of the calendar, outside of commitments or responsibilities. But, as an extra gift of time within the whole year, it is a reflective moment for me to ask myself, what is important to me in the time that I have?
This sentiment came up significantly in Atul Gawande's book, Being Mortal — a piece of work I would consider essential human reading. In that context, Gawande writes about the elephant in the medical room: death. The last third of the book really explores how to have conversations to articulate the important things to us, so that in the face of death, we have a paradigm through which to understand & make decisions.
But, isn't this a helpful question to ask at any time of our life?
I certainly asked this of myself when a relative of my husband's died young and unexpectedly last year.
How shall I spent my time, my efforts, my money, my mental capacity? However long that time is (the time that I have), what is most important to me? And, key: how do I make daily decisions to reflect those decisions?
What do I say no to? There is a barrage of input coming at us from all sides: information to absorb, great things to participate in, billions (literally) of people in the world to have relationships with... but each carries its own time, energy, etc. Where do I say no that will align with what is important to me?
What do I say yes to? Saying no to some things opens me up to say a hearty yes to others! What do I want to say YES to that will bring the best to me & to the world, an outpouring of what I have to give in service & love to others?
These are the questions! And what better time to ask them than when we have a whole extra day to consider our answers :)
This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic.
Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.
Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:
Mystery novels have often appealed to people with jobs that are never fully resolved (doctors, pastors, social workers). In this cultural era of many-problems-few-resolutions, reading a good mystery can be a refreshing break.
Our 12-year old daughter is the most avid, prolific reader I know! We teamed up to create a list of mysteries for all ages of independent readers. The recos below are listed with increasing age levels in mind, but no specific age parameters (as a mature, well-read, near-teen, she has read up to Agatha Christie on this list).
Our 11-year old computer is showing creaky signs of age, just about ready to go to sleep (and never wake up). But, we feel that it has served us well. When I compare it to other expenses over the years, the laptop is — at about a $100/year investment — one of our best value-for-dollar belongings.
When shopping for items like this, how do we choose well? How do we discern what brand/style/variety is built to last? Or, how do we determine even if “built to last” is relevant to the purchase?