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Leaping into rare birthday
Bruce Watson, owner and stylist of Reflections Hair Salon, is one of the approximately 5 million Leaplings, or individuals born on Leap Day, in the world. - photo by Atlanta Northcutt

Editor’s Note: With 2020 being a leap year, the Standard will be featuring people born on Feb. 29 leading up to Leap Day.

Bruce Watson is one of 187,000 individuals in the United States to have his birthday fall on Leap Day. Leap Day is Feb. 29 and occurs every four years. 

Watson is a Warren County native and the owner and stylist at Reflections Hair Salon. The odds of being born on a Leap Day are 1 in 1,461. The Standard asked Watson how he feels about being part of the minority referred to as a Leap Day Baby or “Leapling,” for short. 

Q: When were you born?

A: Feb. 29, 1956

Q: How do you feel about being a Leap Year baby?

A: I didn’t like it as a young person, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to really like it. Each Leap Year has been a marker in my life, and that’s really interesting.

Amazingly, very important things have happened on my actual birthday years. I quit smoking during a leap year. In my ninth leap year, I had the last meal my mother cooked for me before she died, and I bought my house during that same time.

Real birthdays on Leap Day have become a good excuse to go on adventures since I love traveling. When I turned 40, which was my 10th birthday on Leap Day, I was at Maccu Picchu in Peru, and it was really interesting to learn about my astrology chart. The experience turned out to be very cool and impactful.

Q: When do you celebrate your birthday on non-leap years?

A: My normal response when people ask me that is we can celebrate whenever you want.

Q: How many years has your actual birthday on a leap year occurred? 

A: This will be my 16th birthday. I joke around when people ask me that question. I tell them I can finally get my driver’s license and be able to drive legally.

Q: How did your parents feel regarding you being born on Leap Day? 

A: I only lacked a few minutes from being born on March 1. In fact, the doctor offered to put March 1 on my birth certificate, but my father refused. The only real celebrations were held on my actual birthday day. I was 8 when I had my first real birthday party, and then the next one wasn’t until I turned 16.

However, I’ve tended to make up for the lack of childhood birthdays since I’ve been an adult. To celebrate my 16th Leap Day birthday, I’ll be going to Mexico next week to spend four nights in Mexico City and four nights in Oaxaca in the home of delicious Mexican cuisine and fine tequila.