Absolute Zero

This was the year I decided to become a Polar Bear. I have always wanted to join the crazies on the lake front and jump in the frigid winter waters of Lake Michigan at noon on New Year’s Day.

On a recent trip to Florida, my sister and I discussed jumping in together. She, from Pensacola Beach, FL and I, in Port Washington, WI. A dual jump, 1000 miles apart. Together we had watched videos on YouTube of people jumping in the water, and the reasons why many of them jumped, believing the dunking in the waters signified things like cleansing of the past year’s sins or washing away regrets. Noble thoughts indeed, and certainly something I kept in mind.

She texted me this morning canceling her jump, due to 30° temps and winds at 30 mph, making the air feel like 15°. The ocean temps were at 52°. A veritable Antarctica, as far as Floridians are concerned. Here in Wisconsin, when I left the house it was -2° with winds at about 12 mph making it -20° with the wind chill factored in. The lake temp was at 36°. The air was quite tolerable with winter gear, but to go swimming?

When I saw the temperature and wind speeds, I really didn’t want to do the jump, but I was still committed anyway. This was something I always have wanted to do, and I wanted to check it off my bucket list. I dressed in clothing that would keep my skin covered, thinking the bitter winds would be brutal to exposed, wet skin. Understandably, none of my family members cared to join me in my attempt, and like many other events in my life, this would be solo.

I psyched myself up and was ready. As I approached the parking lot area, I saw several cars pull up and leave. As I parked and began to take stock of the plunge zone, I noticed the sign:

PW Police Department has advised due to inclement weather the Port Washington Polar Bear Plunge is
The PWPB Administration thanks everyone for their support and understanding and wishes all fellow Polar Bears a safe and happy 2018!

I was both disappointed and relieved. I was mentally prepared for the worst that winter could hit me with, and despite the dangers, I made myself ready. Now, it will have to wait until next year. Despite the cancellation, the trip was still fruitful, as I was able to capture the beauty of the bitter cold.

One thing that my husband pointed out regarding the polar bear plunge, was that I made myself available, I was ready and prepared. Going into the new year, that is what life is about, being ready and mentally prepared for what comes at you.

2018 is here, and sometimes when the world feels like it’s at an absolute zero, you get a reprieve and a fresh start. Wash away those regrets, make those resolutions. Fresh starts, that’s what the new year is all about, so welcome to 2018!