“You should run your life not by the calendar but how you feel, and what you’re interests are and ambitions.”—astronaut John Glenn

Social events have been scarce and/or virtual during the past 18 months of the pandemic.  There was a time when I had too many events to attend, and as actress Allison Williams said, “I love seeing blank days in my calendar.” Now if it weren’t for trash pickup days and doctors’ appointments, I would be date deprived. Indeed, it’s not unusual for me to wake up and wonder “what day is this anyway?”

The word ‘calendar’ derives from the Roman term ‘calends’ which means “to call out.” It proclaimed when the new moon was sighted and designated that as the first day of the month.

The importance of keeping track of days goes back to Neolithic times when cave woman feared missing a hair appointment. The earliest formulized calendars date to the Bronze Age in the ancient Near East. According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the Sumerians created the first calendar. It had 12 lunar months of 29 or 30 days each, based on the appearance of the new moon. Other ancient calendars are found in the Iron Age archaeological record, published regularly in The Near Eastern Times-Union. (Okay, I made that up.)

As time marched on, early Romans came up with a 10-month solar year. September, for example, was named for the Latin word “septem” meaning seven, because it was the seventh month of the 10-month calendar. In 45 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the solar calendar, added a leap day every four years and named it for guess who?

 Leap yearing to 1582, it was observed that the Julian calendar was off by 11 minutes a year. Pope Gregory XIII upgraded the Julian date keeper and renamed it for…guess who this time?  

Since then there have been many attempts to reform the Gregorian calendar. After the French Revolution there was a movement to have a 10-day calendar unrelated to religion. In 1849, Auguste Comte, the founder of Positivism, created a Positivist calendar with months named for historical figures. More recently football coach Tom Coughlin said, “The calendar and the clock are all set by football season and the offseason.”

*Final Word… The Gregorian calendar continues to be in use worldwide today. It’s based on a 365-day year divided into 12 months of irregular lengths and retains an extra day once every four years.

Calendars have morphed into electronic devices—computers, iPads and Apple watches. Although I like my Fitbit watch, I’d be lost without an old fashioned paper calendar that I can make notes on and color code. Everyone has their own way of tracking time.

As physicist Albert Einstein said, “The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen at once.”