Sunday, February 28, 2016
It’s the 29th of February, the most unique of all days. Those of us born on the 29th get to celebrate our “real birthday” for the first time in four years.
Many people have asked me what it’s like being born on February 29th. In short, it’s great! In my opinion, it's really the best of all birthdays. Why? Because it’s unique. You don’t meet a lot of other people with a leap day birthday.
I have only met two other people face to face who share my birthday. One was the young daughter of friends - long since moved out of the area. The other was a fellow who worked for the same company I did 20 years ago when I was turning 40. A little fanfare was being made about my birthday and we found each other, Comparing notes, we discovered we were both born in 1956 at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle. So we shared the hospital nursery at the same time. It was pretty bizarre coming back together 40 years later.
In spite of my personal experience, the birthday really should not be that rare. There are 365 days in non-leap years, and 366 in leap year, so that makes a total of 1,461 days in the four year cycle. So your chances of being born on Leap Day are 1 out of 1,461. Of the approximate 55,000 people who live in Shoreline, there should be about 38 people with Leap Year birthdays.
With the advent of social media, community pages have been created for people with Leap Year Birthdays. There are at least three that I know of with a total of 2,232 members. With Facebook’s 1.6 billion active monthly users, there should be just over one million Leap Year Birthdays among Facebook users. So we appear to be way under-represented.
Those of us with this unique birthday almost universally like it. An expectant mother with a February 29th due date recently polled a Facebook group of Leapers about whether they liked their birthdate, and especially if it was difficult for them as a child. 65 people responded that they were either very enthusiastic or loved the birthday. Only one said she hated it, and one said it could be difficult as a child. That was not my experience at all.
So if you are lucky enough to know a leaper, wish them an especially hearty Happy Birthday today. You won’t have to do it again until 2020.