To splash or not to splash into this new year?

… that was the question a couple of weeks ago

2023 will be what we make of it, and how we choose to focus our time, energy and attitude.

A couple of weeks ago, I was rethinking my attitude to maintaining what was a 10-year tradition of beginning the new year by running into the waters of English Bay with thousands of others in Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim.

Yes, I did it again!

While January 1st saw Vancouver’s snow now back where it belongs, on the mountains, and our garden is already sprouting crocuses, it was tempting to hold at 10 years rather than marking another New Year’s Day dousing myself in cold water.  Would I skip the dip, or do it again?

While sparing you any shots of yours truly running into the water, the decision was yes!

In both 2021 and 2022, the Polar Bear Swim was more of a solo affair. Pandemic situations were such that participants registered to take part in the swim, yet dipped privately and away from crowds. I made my pandemic Polar Bear dips at another nearby beach where, on the first day of both 2021 and 2022, there were clusters of us running in and out of the water.

This year, with our city’s 103-year-old tradition once again being hosted at English Bay, people were back with a vengeance. More than six thousand of us registered! It felt as though there were more spectators than swimmers/dippers on the beach this year, with many of them crowded along the starting line and making it a bit challenging for those of us actually going in the water.

As you might imagine, having 6,000 people running into the water and an impressive number of spectators at hand can make for parking challenges. This year, I gained much-needed exercise by walking from home to English Bay, and then my husband picked me up after the event. It was so (relatively) mild that, by the time I’d crossed the bridge you see in the photos below, I’d taken off my jacket and made the rest of my way in short sleeves with a scarf around my neck.

How do you mark the start of a new year, and what do you do when second guessing yourself? Do you find yourself sometimes hesitating to undertake something because it may seem daunting or uncomfortable, and then find yourself delighted you went ahead anyway?

Watch for tomorrow’s article on aspirations, priorities and attitude as we navigate this new year   

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