Friday, February 20, 2009

About that Gregorian Calendar...

For many years in the Honcoop family, it was tradition for each member to receive their Success Desk Calendar with their Christmas gifts. These were page per day calendars, set up on little angled plastic trays, metal loops through the holes punched in each page, so you could turn it over when the next day came. This tradition died for Randy when I became the Keeper of the Calendar. Whereas Randy is a very disciplined, routine-oriented individual, I am not. If the calendar were placed properly in the locale of his morning routine, he would faithfully turn the page. However, I, Keeper of the Calendar, put the calendar in a central location, where it was available to both, but out of Randy’s routine. Being a "big picture" sort of person, I never could get the hang of paging days ahead to write something down, and then turn back to the present day. I never could get the hang of remembering to turn the page each day. Whole chunks of month were turned over at a time while I relied on looking at a grid of the days on the wall. I just needed the orientation of the relationship of the days to weeks to get events in mind. Even then, as my relatives whose birthdays fall at the beginning of the month know, I didn't always remember to turn the monthly calender either! Thus I killed the Success Calendar Tradition for our branch of the Honcoop Family. Randy didn’t miss it as he now had me to manage his schedule, however imperfectly!

But I digress (and how!)...Every Success Calendar Package had inside an explanation of the Gregorian calendar and how it came to be. I don’t remember any details of the calendars preceding it, and, honestly, I’m not sure I understood the explanation of the Gregorian calendar correctly. If I did, I seem to be part of a very small minority of people in the world who did.
My understanding was that Gregory’s calendar started with the Year One – not a zero year as we do with people, but Year One. In contrast, when a baby is born, we do not say he is One because he is in his first year. We say he is 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, etc. Then, AFTER he has completed his first year, we say he is One. He becomes ONE at the beginning of his SECOND year. Since the Gregorian calendar began with the Year One, it started as Year One in January. At the end of that first year, it became Year Two. It became Year Two at the BEGINNING of Year Two – not the end. Are you with me here, folks? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? What I am saying is that we are living the Year 2009, we have not completed it and started Year 2010, as is commonly thought.

The implications are interesting...Think back to the Year 2000. Every one was out of sorts because of the changing of the millennium. I know, the threat of malfunctions had to do with how computers handled the zeros, but there seemed to be an attitude of some mysticism associated with the turn of what was believed to be a significant year...But if I understand the Gregorian calendar, the previous millennium was not complete until the Year 2000 ENDED. The new millennium began as Year 2001...right? And how does that work with the century? A century must begin with a One as well, not a zero year as you always hear on the news and in the papers. Which causes me to question which century we’re living in...People were so quick to shove us into the 21st century – what if we were not there yet?

Okay -- I know that, practically speaking, this misunderstanding of the Gregorian calendar has little impact on our daily lives. Still, I think that we should get it right. We don’t need to make our world any older than it needs to be! And we might as well enjoy 2009 while we’re living it, instead of thinking that it’s already history.

As I said earlier, I have some doubt that I understood correctly the Success Calendar’s explanation of the Gregorian calendar. How could so many people have it wrong? However, until someone explains to me why I am wrong, I’m going to keep swimming upstream, living life a year behind everyone else.

1 comment:

Ridge said...

or....we could do time travel, like on "Lost" and never figure out exactly where we are at any given "time" in the continum of life. For myself, I prefer living in the's a known quantity! The future is too scary!

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Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (