Saturday, February 25, 2012

Leap Year-itis

By Julie Rahm

The Roman or “pre-Julian” calendar was created during the founding of Rome and is believed to have been a lunar calendar. Romans claim it was invented by Romulus, the first king of Rome, at around 753 BCE (Before Common Era). However, there is evidence it was adapted from the Greeks. The Roman calendar year started in March and consisted of 10 months, with 6 months of 30 days and 4 months of 31 days. The winter season was not assigned to any month, so the calendar year only lasted 304 days with 61 days unaccounted for in the winter. This Roman calendar was complicated. It required a group of people to decide when days should be added or removed in order to keep the calendar in track with the seasons, which are marked by equinoxes and solstices in the calendar.

In order to create a more standardized calendar, Julius Caesar consulted with an Alexandrian astronomer named Sosignenes and created a more regulated civil calendar based entirely on the Earth's revolutions around the sun.

This “Julian” calendar has a year of 365 days divided into 12 months with a leap day added to the month of February every four years (leap year). This made the Julian year 365.25 days long. When, in fact, the year is eleven minutes shorter. This extra eleven minutes caused several issues.

The eleven minutes resulted in the accumulation of three days every 400 years. Over time, the spring equinox started occurring on March 11th, an error of about ten days. Since the spring equinox was tied to the celebration of Easter, the Roman Catholic Church considered this steady movement in the date of the spring equinox as undesirable. Enter Pope Gregory the 13th who, on the 24th of February 1582, introduced the Western or Christian Calendar. Pope Gregory changed the length of the calendar year from 365.25 days (365 days 6 hours) to 365.2425 days (365 days 5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds), a reduction of 10 minutes 48 seconds per year. This Gregorian calendar is the one we use today.

Now, every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year. Now you know!

My point in all this is; dates are man made and very contrived. There are at least fifty different calendars used throughout the world. Month, date and day matter very little. Most important is to be in the moment and enjoy your time here on the planet. So, enjoy your extra day this year knowing it is not really extra at all. It has been here all the while. Visit my website at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com to learn more about living the life you deserve. See my work with military kids at www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com.







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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Round Peg You

By Julie Rahm

I studied a lot of science and math in high school. Later, while in college, I studied more science, more math and especially some very punishing physics. After college, I worked for the U.S. Navy. My goal in college was to earn well paying job that gave me a good quality life. I thought little about how I wanted to spend my days and a lot about who was hiring and for how much. So, early in life, “round-peg” me pounded myself into a square hole. It was only when I became “middle-aged”, that I allowed myself to notice what I really like doing. At heart, I am a social scientist. I am a learning junkie who enjoys teaching and coaching humans. As America’s Mindset Mechanic, I “tune up” individuals who want to be peak performers. Or more exactly, I “tune up” peoples mindsets so they can be their best selves. My point is; it took me many years to allow myself the luxury of being who I really am. I will not say I’ve waste a lot of time earning technical degrees. It was valuable learning that taught me how to think. But, now that I’ve found my niche, I am much more fulfilled. And, I still have a good quality life.

There is no dress rehearsal in life. It is one show and done. So my message this week is to encourage you to find your own niche. If you are round, do not pound yourself into a square hole for the sake of earning money. You have the appropriate talents that you are intended to use. Our youngest daughter has learned this lesson while still young. She is attending Florida State and earning a degree, not in engineering, but in literature. She really likes her curriculum. When she graduates, her chosen occupation will be one she enjoys. Inevitably, she will earn a good enough living because she will be aligned with her likes. You see, in life, alignment matters. If the tires on your car are misaligned, there will be excessive wear. In life, if you are misaligned with your “likes”, there will be excessive wear on you! If you are worn out from life, perhaps you need an alignment. A personal re-alignment starts with finding out who you are and what you like. Personality and values assessments can be helpful. The personality and values assessments today are much different than the ones of yester year. Do some research and find one that suits your needs. Contact me and I can help determine one or two that are best for you. Self-discovery is your most important work. If you don’t know yourself, your hunt for fulfillment will be a random search. Once you know about you, sorting the various options on occupations is much easier. Don’t pound the round you into that square hole. Visit my web site at www.americasmindsetmechanic.com and learn more about having the life your desire.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blind Horse Presidents Day

By Julie Rahm

Presidents Day started in 1880 as a holiday for the federal government offices located in the District of Columbia. Originally, the holiday was intended to observe Washington’s Birthday. For ninety years, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, the 22nd of February. But in 1971, Congress enacted The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Public Law 90-363) and moved the observance of Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. The law confused things by moving Washington's "birthday" to the week of February 15th to the 21st. Now, the holiday occurs between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays. Popular, but unofficial references have given rise to the title “Presidents Day”, which recognizes both Presidents. In short, the holiday was never intended for Lincoln.

Surprisingly, Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th of February was never a federal holiday. However, some state governments have officially renamed their observance of Presidents Day, “Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations. In Massachusetts, the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday" on the same day as the federal holiday. State law also directs the governor to issue an annual "Presidents Day" proclamation on May 29th honoring the presidents with Massachusetts roots: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy. Alabama uniquely observes the day as "Washington and Jefferson Day", even though Thomas Jefferson's birthday is in April. In Connecticut, Missouri and Illinois, while Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday is still a state holiday falling on February 12th regardless of the day of the week. In Washington's home state of Virginia, the holiday is legally known as "George Washington Day”. Now you know!

All this misunderstanding and confusion about Presidents Day reminds me of my husband John’s favorite quote. John says, “Don’t worry about the horse being blind. Just load the wagon.” He attributes the quote to John Madden, the great football coach and sportscaster. Coach Madden recited the saying during his pregame locker room pep talks. Some of the players never understood the saying. But, it inspired them none-the-less. I also don’t completely understand the blind horse and wagon concept. I surmise the quote instructs us not to think about things too much. But, I also think not understanding the quote is part of its lesson.

And, so it is with the upcoming Presidents Day holiday. Don’t worry about the horse being blind. Our role in the holiday is just to load the wagon. Observe Presidents Day as you desire. Take a moment to remember your favorite president. Why is he your favorite? What did he do to make our nation the land of opportunity for all? Similar to your life, the holiday can be as you desire. And, if you are not living the life you want, visit my web site at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. At the web site you can find inspiration, follow my blog and comment on my columns. Enjoy your holiday and watch out for the loaded wagon. The horse may be blind!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentinus

By Julie Rahm

Valentinus was a Christian priest in Rome who, sometime between 269 and 273 was arrested and condemned by the Pagan Emperor Gelasius II for performing Christian marriage ceremonies. While Valentinus was in prison, the Emperor took a liking to him and spared his life; until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor to Christianity. For these attempts at conversion, Valentinus was sentenced to death by stoning. But, Valentinus survived the beating and stoning. And eventually, he was beheaded. Later in 496, the Feast of Saint Valentine was established by the Pope.


Fast forward to 1797 when a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained romantic phrases for young lovers unable to compose their own. As the popularity of these Valentines grew, British printers began producing their own. Enter, in 1847, Esther Howland from Worcester, Massachusetts. Esther’s father owned and operated a large book and stationery store. She received one of these British Valentines from her father’s business associate. Esther convinced her father to produce and market Valentines. As you guessed, this was start of the 1 billion Valentines that are exchanged each year in the United States. Since 2001, The Greeting Card Association has presented an annual “Esther Howland Award for a greeting Card Visionary”. Now you know!

Certainly, the Valentines Day holiday has inauspicious beginnings. It started with imprisonment, beating, stoning and a beheading! And, the holiday was promulgated by a desire to market stationery and earn money. Still, I like the holiday. The day provides us an opportunity to focus on personal relationships. My husband, John may not share the same ideas. He knows the history behind Valentines Day. When I mention the day is arriving, he asks if I want to celebrate the beating, stoning or beheading! I don’t think that’s funny at all. But, I allow him the sick humor because eventually we’ll get to some explicit conversation about our desires for the holiday. The minimum for me is a card along with some quiet morning coffee. Chocolate is nice. Chocolate along with some good red wine is really nice. Dinner out, chocolate and red wine is really, really nice.

I concede that Valentines Day is driven by females. It doesn’t have to be that way. Males need to “step up to the plate”. Regardless, my message is that Valentines Day is an opportunity to effect change in your relationship. Males, muster some courage and have some explicit conversation with her. Females, please encourage him by providing a safe environment to express himself. If conversation is going to make it worse, he is not going to talk. This can work. As evidence, this week marks my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. They were married in 1962. Were there even cars or television in 1962? My husband John says he’s been married thirty years, just not to the same wife. I don’t think that’s funny either. Follow my blog at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and see my latest book at www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com.
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