By the time February rolls around, the sparkle of the festive season is long gone, and the hopes of the new year start to feel a bit stale. Also, in many places, February has the worst weather out of the year (climate change related spring fake-outs notwithstanding). So, maybe whoever set up the way we keep track of time way back when felt the same way? Perhaps!
Throughout human history, people in different cultures and places had different conceptions of how to track the passage of time. The calendar most of us are familiar with is the Gregorian calendar, created in 1582 under the direction of Pope Gregory XIII, who was trying to solve the problem that seasons do not always change in formulaic ways and that it takes Earth 365.24219 days to revolve around the sun – making the possibility for calendrical wonkiness quite high.
So then, why is February so short? Actually, this time you can’t really blame a pope. The origins of the calendar take us to the eighth century BC, when the smaller Roman world was organized on the calendar of Romulus – ten months of the year beginning with March on the vernal equinox. Winter was mostly unaccounted for, so you had about two months of calendrical void. To solve the issue, King Numa Pompilius added two months – January and February, and roughly organized the calendar to lunar cycles. This made more sense and you could finally schedule winter time appointments! Pompilius and other people at the time apparently thought that even numbers were unlucky and when they hashed everything out decided that if there had to be an unlucky month in order to have 355 days in a year, it should be the shortest. By the time Julius Caesar reorganized the calendar to come to 365 days on a solar-based model, the twenty-eight day short month of February was here to stay. I suppose that over a millennia everyone from the pre-Roman Republic kings to Renaissance Popes basically agreed that this time of year is a bit of a bummer, keeping the month to 28 (sometimes 29) days a year.
Perhaps take solace in the fact that historically, February has always kind of sucked?
This week has been unseasonably warm in the U.K. with record-setting temperatures. The weather has been quite lovely, especially compared to this time last year when the country was blanketed with a layer of snow and engulfed in grey clouds. Some people are excited, but it is hard not to feel uneasy under the spectre of last fall’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report warned that if we, humanity, do not make big changes to combat the worst effects of climate change, we would reach a point of no return in twelve years. So far, Goat of the Day has been a light-hearted blog with good vibes, and I don’t meant for the good vibes to be extinguished by anxiety about climate change. Rather, channel the positivity and sunshine to take action – cycle, walk or use public transportation whenever possible. Make it clear to policy makers in your town or city that we need more efficient infrastructure in order to reduce our carbon footprints. Buy less stuff of better quality, and opt for reusables over disposables. Even consider hiring a local herd of goats to tend your lawn rather than relying on mowers and pesticides. The world is a marvelous place, and we owe it to ourselves and each other to keep it that way.
You can enjoy the sunshine and be concerned for the future at the same time.
Always make sure to remind the people closest to you how important they are. Your gentle and loving words could transform someone’s day. Showing gratitude for our companions, family and friends is a wonderful way to practice kindness and self care.
“To err is human” some wise person said a long time ago. Do goats make mistakes? I am not sure; however, most mistakes are not as bad as they seem in the moment. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, will this be as important next week? Maybe. Will I remember this moment in six months time? Probably not. Could this be solved with a simple conversation? Indeed! So do not waste your time worrying and just keep moving forward.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to forgive yourself.
It is easy to get lost thinking about what might have been or worrying about future plans. Perhaps take some time this weekend to just focus on what is going on in the present – take a few moments to be content and find joy in the now.
Always look on the bright side, because things always have a way of working themselves out. There is always a positive spin on everything – if you miss your bus stop then you can enjoy a longer stroll home.
There is a positive spin to everything – are you having the same boring thing for lunch, or is it nutritious, delicious and enjoyable?