I hate winter.
No, I mean I REALLY hate it!
It’s dark and cold and I’m estranged from my one true love (a.k.a gardening), and the whole thing is just miserable.
It’s also a quarter of my year.
A quarter of my LIFE!
So crud, that means that I need to find a way to make winter exciting.
When I started brainstorming ways to upgrade my winter experience, the ideas flowed quick. I even dug out an old winter bucket list I’d put together years ago and updated it.
But how many times do people skim through seasonal bucket lists, agree that that sounds like a great idea, and then not do anything with it?
I didn’t want that to be me.
I figured that it was too big of a project to try to do a winter everyday adventure every day for the whole season, but could I do 30 days?
That feels doable.
So I went through my great big list and picked out 30 things that I felt I could successfully accomplish in the next 30 days.
I’ll try to get the big list polished up and posted shortly, just in case you want to try this too.
I figured I can post my adventures on here to hold myself accountable while also entertaining you lovely ladies.
Day 1 certainly fell into the spectator entertainment category.
I wanted to do something really gutsy to start my 30 day challenge AND start 2024. But what?
For years I’ve been awestruck by the crazy valient folks who celebrate the new year each year with a polar plunge.
Nutjobs, all of them!
As if the cold isn’t bad enough just walking between the house and car, what kind of person goes and jumps in icewater for fun?
There was a part of me that always wondered if someday when I’m braver or got better at producing body heat, whether maybe I could try that.
So when I needed something WAY outside my comfort zone to start my 30 days (and year!) off with a bang, guess what was calling to me?
I threw the idea out to my household a few days before, and my two youngest kids took me up on the offer.
Understandable. They are teenagers, so they make more heat than they need, and their frontal lobes haven’t finished forming yet.
I’m not sure what my excuse is.
So now we had a goal. Immerse ourselves in icy water up to our necks (heads were completely off the table, I’m sorry).
Initially the plan was to drive to a quarry lake at a park nearly a half hour away. But upon further research, the public restrooms there were shut down for the season, and we couldn’t figure out a safe (and modest) way to get a mixed gender group changed out of our icy wet clothes before we started losing toes.
Somebody tossed out the idea of doing it here at home in the above-ground pool.
This seemed much less epic, without the simultaneous running and yelling and throwing ourselves into a lake.
Instead we would have to climb in one by one, with the first person standing in ice water until the last person got in, and then dunk ourselves at the same time like teabags.
Less cool but still definitely high on the brave-o-meter.
So we marched ourselves out to our “winterized” (read: only half full, with leaves and debris, and smelling like a pond) pool in a motley collection of swimsuits, running gear, bathrobes, and winter hats, and faced the task at hand.
Darius opted to go first, since he periodically takes ice baths to show how tough he is for post-exercise muscle recovery.
Guinevere went next because her cold-tolerance is a hundred times better than mine.
And then me.
I would have procrastinated on the last step above the water and pondered my convictions, but my offspring were slowly dying of hypothermia.
I give all credit to Mel Robbins and her 5 Second Rule for getting me in that water.
5…4…3…2…1…and I just went ahead and started yelling as I came off the ladder. There was no way I was going to be able to do this quietly.
Let me tell you, cold burns like fire.
Once we were in, it was time to dunk.
This was the only point where we messed up. My husband was chronicling the event (from outside the pool, wearing a coat) and we should have stayed down long enough to make sure he actually got the picture.
Instead of that, we dunked, bobbed right back up like corks, and came piling up the ladder as if somebody had shouted “shark!”
It was madness and chaos. I was giggling hysterically as we dashed inside to stand by the woodstove.
Well, Darius was debating going back in for a proper ice bath, because, y’know, health reasons.
Later when I looked at the photos, I realized that we surprised my husband and he couldn’t take the picture fast enough.
In the end, our polar plunge is commemorated by a photo of me in a grandma swimsuit and a sock cap, screaming and running for the ladder, with water streaming off me, and all three of us in the most unflattering poses possible.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
P.S. For your viewing entertainment, this is what my post-dunk bravery face looks like:
I think it pretty well captured the moment.