A Modern Calendar
It’s the 21st century. We use a calendar established hundreds of years ago that varies the days in a month, requiring you to count on your knuckles, or say a poem to yourself, to remember how many days are in a given month. A given date, such as your birthday, usually falls on a different day year-to-year. The first day of a month doesn’t always begin on the same day of the week.
Could it really be that hard to start fresh, to create a calendar that actually makes sense? A calendar that would not only be exceptionally easy to understand and use but at the same time transform our lives in a fundamental way?
In theory you work five days a week then get the weekend “off.” On the weekend, by the time you get done with cleaning your home, cutting the grass, shopping, running kids all over town, perhaps attending a religious service, and so on and so on, you MIGHT find a little quality time at home with friends and family. Next thing you know it’s Monday morning and you’re back at work. Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated? Probably not. You’re on a perpetual treadmill watching the years pass by.
Ever notice how great those occasional 3-day weekends are? You have lots of time to do things, you don’t feel rushed, and you return to work rejuvenated.
What if every weekend were 3 days long? Of course, the idea of a permanent 4-day work-week has been proposed many times, but it has never taken hold because it robs businesses of too many work days (unless you assume 9 or 10 hour workdays, which is about as popular as mud). And, for many companies and employees, four days is simply ineffective. Employees spend Monday just to getting back in the groove, and within two days they’re already thinking about the weekend. Five, 8-hour days has proven to be about right.
How do we achieve regular 3-day weekends while preserving a 5-day workweek? It’s simple, and oh so “RADICAL.” We add 3 and 5 to get 8. Make each week 8 days long.
This opens up the possibility of restructuring our current ridiculous calendar into a logical and easy one. Here it is:
- Every year starts on the same day, Sunday, January 1st.
- Each week is eight days long.
- A new day is added, Remday, derived from “Remembrance Day”, which falls between Friday and Saturday.
- The workweek, is as now, Monday to Friday.
- The weekend is now three days long: Remday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Each month (except the last) has five weeks, which translates into 40 days in a month, and 10 months in a year (we drop February and June).
- Every month has the same number of days!
- Every month starts on the same day, Sunday the 1st!
- The first nine months end on the same day, Saturday the 40th.
- December becomes a very short but very special period of five days, or six days in a leap year. These five or six days are considered a very special time for cultural observances, including Christmas on Sunday, December 1 (the old December 27, and remember the current December 25 probably has no connection to Christ’s actual birthdate.)
- Current federal holidays would now all fall on Remday, as would all days of remembrance. With 46 Remdays a year, many new official days of remembrance could be approved without debate over “giving” up another workday. Most federal holidays long ago lost their connection to the historical event by exact date. Now holidays would occur on precisely the same date and day every year (just like your birthday).
- You have to get used to “losing” days at the end of the year. You go from Thursday on the last day of the year immediately to Monday on the first day of the next year. On a leap year, you go from a Friday to a Monday.
- People who believe the 7-day week is religious dogma will be upset.
- Astrology fans would be upset, but this certainly isn’t the first time the calendar has changed!
- We “lose” about 23 workdays total during the year (factoring in federal holidays). Who’s complaining? The “hit” to companies seems reasonable compared to the overall benefits to society of a little extra time off, truly relaxing weekends, and a sensible, logical calendar. With 46 3-day weekends available to the consumer, travel and retail businesses would probably see a boom in revenues.
- Some people might be compelled to work six days a week. But that’s true today. Many, many people work more than a 40-hour week, because they (1) love their work, (2) are by nature workaholics, (3) are avoiding an unattractive home life, (4) must work longer hours to keep a company competitive, (5) must work longer hours to pay the bills at home (whether just to get food on the table or to lead a more expensive, but not essential, lifestyle), or (6) are being coerced to work longer by a demanding boss, peer pressure in a workaholic work culture, etc. This will not change whether the week length is 7, 2 or 20 days long.
- Some people with February or June birthdays would have to get used to new birth months.
- Months wouldn’t correlate exactly into quarters or seasons, but they never did precisely anyway.
I vote for a simple, logical calendar. It’s long overdue. Here it is:
There have been, of course, many proposals for reforming the calendar. The most sensible in a 7-day week context involves a 4-week-per-month calendar, where every month starts on the same day. But a more sensible week-length (8 days) in addition to a rational month structure results in the best of all worlds.