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?
The look in this goat’s eye tells me that the rope around his neck tied to a log, accompanied by bells, will be useless when he or she decides it is time to blow this pop-stand. I hope that whatever you find yourself tied to that the escape is easy when it is time for you to move on or have some weekend shenanigans.
Make your own path in life. There are pressures sometimes to have certain parts of your life sorted at certain times, but these are really arbitrary. I say, forge your own path, do what is right for you and keep exploring. Avocados and adventures are much more fulfilling than property anyway.
Don’t worry about the rest, find your best life and live it!
Today’s goat was photographed at an amazing place called Rakhigarhi by my partner who is currently working in Haryana, a state in northwest India. Rakhigarhi is home to two villages, Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shapur which are situated on top of an ancient city, 4,500 years old, part of a constellation of ancient cities belonging to what archaeologists call the Indus Valley Civilization. Unlike other ancient civilizations with clear evidence of social hierarchy such as pyramids, elaborate burials or elite palaces, the Indus left behind few traces of these markers. Needless to say, the people who lived in Indus Valley cities and settlements had standardised units of measurement, a system of writing, and networks of homes and workshops within centres that appeared to be in contact with one another and as far away as Mesopotamia. Archaeological investigations in 2018 revealed a cemetery that has been the subject of much debate. However, the villages carry on farming, herding buffalo and sometimes goats, and are quite welcoming to researchers and foreigners. I had the privilege of living in Rakhigarhi for a few months in 2012, and it was one of the most transformative and wonderful experiences of my life. I am happy to share this goat with you and to reflect on my time at such a special place.
Rakhigarhi – a 4,500 year old city and a modern village in the heart of northwest India.
Everything is so competitive these days, from parenting to the office to the gym to the kitchen, it can be exhausting. I say, rather than run yourself ragged, take a break from the competition, relax and sit back. You aren’t as behind the self-aggrandizers as it may seem, and can do what you love better after a recharge. Enjoy the weekend y’all.
Saturdays are a wonderful time to slow down and have a nice, long sit.
Fitting in is over-rated. The things that make you weird are the same things that make you wonderful. Thanks to my partner, Adam Green, for the fantastic photograph of a sassy goat amongst some sheep in Haryana, India.