What the Short Month of February Teaches Us
February comes and goes before we know it. It’s exactly four weeks in length because the Romans had trouble making their calendars fit reality at the end of their year (February was then the last, rather than the second month). It’s true, February does get an extra day 24 times each century to keep our own calendars from getting out of whack with the Earth’s trip around the Sun. Yet every February, it feels like those end-of-the-month bills suddenly sneak up on us, regularly scheduled meetings, appointments and routine reports pop up sooner than we expect, and we’re scrambling to complete 30 days of accomplishments in just 28.
The month of February could serve as a representation of the most valuable, and most difficult to manage, commodity we have. February is chronically short on time, and I think most of us feel we are, too.
In business, we frequently hear the reminder, “time is money.” I argue that this is an overly simple cliché – and that it’s wrong. Time is not money; you can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Being productive with the time we have available to do our work is certainly a key to succeeding financially. If the money comes up short, it’s often possible to invest more time to make up for it.
But then we can end up with a time deficit on our personal side. What does it cost us when we take hours out of our sleep, our fitness, or other kinds of self care? February reminds us on the 14th to spend time with the people we love. Tragically, the school shooting in Florida on February 14 this year also showed us that time with our loved ones can never be taken for granted. The quality of the time we spend with the people we’re closest to is irreplaceable. February teaches us to take good care of them while we can, as well as to take good care of ourselves.
Tradition has it that February 2nd gives us an indication of how much longer the winter will last. Even if the days are cold and the nights are long and dark, with the rapidly approaching end of February, we are now much closer to springtime. If we have used the time available during the briefest month of the year to serve, to love, to grieve, to heal, or to grow, those moments are well spent. That’s precious time that will always remain with you.
About Tim Crawford
Tim Crawford worked at Keenan for more than 20 years and is now a freelance writer in Santa Fe, NM, Tim consults for the company on communication, media relations and health care reform projects.