February 29th is the most elusive of days.
Happening only once every 1,461 days, the chances of having your birthday on it are incredibly slim to say the least. And, when you do, it comes with quite a few challenges.
Peter Brouwer knows this all too well. He’s one of those who had the fortune (or misfortune) of being born on February 29, back in 1956.
He might be turning 60 today, but Peter is technically only 15-years-old, as he can only genuinely celebrate his birthday once every four years.
Speaking to MetroNews Canada, he joked: “I’m old and wise way before my time. It’s way better.”
Peter – from Vancouver – actually loves the fact that he’s a leap year baby but, of course, it comes with its own unique set of struggles, mainly down to bureaucratic or technological failures which can’t recognise his birthdate.
His insurance company’s software doesn’t support the day and there seems to be a sheer lack of awareness about leap years, as a police officer once accused him of faking his driver’s license as he didn’t believe that February 29 existed. Just, wow.
Historically, doctors recommend parents of babies born on that day to change their birthdate to the day before or the day after to avoid the aggro.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The novelty is finally being recognised by Facebook and they’ve updated their birthday policy to include those born on February 29.
Though some wouldn’t like the stigma, Peter points out that there’s some pretty good points about it. For example, he said ‘leapers’ don’t experience the sense of dread many others get with feeling older every year.
Peter said: “We don’t have this pressing sense that our life is passing by. We don’t go through that. We can barely remember what we did on our last birthday.”
Fair point. Also, every leap year, Peter said he gets to experience another 15 minutes of fame as he does a handful of interviews with reporters around the world about his rare birthday.
And, while many still celebrate their birthday either the day before or the day after, Peter actually goes one step further and makes his birthday a month-long celebration between leap years – what a treat!