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Londoner with leap year birthday talks about celebrating 10th birthday at the age of 40

Jason Dickson and Vanessa Brown, owners of Brown and Dickson Antiquarian Bookstore. Supplied by Brown and Dickson Antiquarian Bookstore via Facebook

Birthdays are that exciting day that come around every year when it’s all you, but what if your birthday only happens every four years?

Today, leap year babies around the world are celebrating their elusive Feb. 29 birthday, and London’s own Vanessa Brown is no exception.

Brown tells Global News that it’s a big birthday for her, turning both 40 and 10 because she was born on Feb. 29, 1980 — a leap day.

This will only be the 10th time she has had the chance to celebrate her birthday and she’s not holding back.

Vanessa Brown leap year birthday
Vanessa Brown leap year birthday. Supplied by Brown and Dickson Antiquarian Bookstore website
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According to NASA Science, the Earth takes 365.24 days to make a complete cycle around the sun.  So the extra day is designed to offset the change and ensure the season matches up with the calendar year, so months like July don’t end up happening in the middle of a snow.

“Having a leap year birthday just reflects how special I am to be born on such a special day,” Brown said.

Brown is the co-owner of Brown and Dickson Booksellers and author of two locally-based books, The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London and London: 150 Cultural Moments.

Click to play video: 'Unraveling the mystery of leap years'
Unraveling the mystery of leap years

For Brown, having a leap birthday is pretty special, but mostly it just means one massive party every four years.

“I have definitely had kid-themed birthdays,” she said.

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“On my seventh birthday, when I was 28, we went tobogganing, of course. We put an adult spin on it going at night with a lot of alcohol involved.”

This year is no exception. She is having a big family dinner in their bookstore but she laughs that she is having mixed feelings about her age this year.

“On the one hand, It’s a landmark birthday. I’m 40 [and] it has this special extra twist because I am a leap year kid, but on the other hand, I am 40 and I am tired,” Brown laughed.

Brown said she is expecting a lot of 10-year-old birthday cards from friends and family, adding that’s it’s all in good humour.

Having a special birthday, Brown says it’s a day not many people forget.

“I tend to hear from old friends from the past because people don’t remember some generic day in July but they do remember Feb. 29,” she said.

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