This Rhody Native Rung In The New Year With A Polar Plunge & The Story Is So Inspiring

Ah, January 1 and all the lusty allure of a brand New Year when our feeds, TV show teasers and radio personalities beckon with giddy promises of fresh starts. Many folks go the way of customary resolutions with a naggingly familiar feel to them, only to be disappointed before the month is over. Why is it so difficult to sustain an undertaking that has such good intentions?

I say if you want to spark real change in your life, challenge yourself with something thrilling yet doable. Call it your “Bucket list” (over-used), “If only” list (too emo), your “Itch list” (has a certain je ne sais quoi) or whatever, just put a list together and start checking boxes! Truth be told, my list is a Pinterest board. (It’s private because I like an air of mystery.) The objective is to set a goal that excites, thrills…maybe even scares you a little. Plan for it, prepare for it, and once you complete it, you’ve got something accomplished with a little more skill and verve than you had to begin with to tackle those old familiar resolutions you’ve been meaning to conquer.

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So, how did I begin my New Year? So glad you asked! I rang in 2019 with the Penguin Plunge at Roger Wheeler Beach!  For years now, I have wanted to do a New Year’s Day dip in the ocean. The weakest excuses held me back: “It’s too cold!” (Part of the challenge!) “No one wants to do it with me!” (So?) “A bathing suit? In January?” (Wear whatever you want, maverick!)  When I landed on the Penguin Plunge’s page earlier in December and read about this event in its 43rd year that raises funds for the Special Olympics, I was compelled to do it.

First, I was in great company. There were entire families, folks dressed in costumes, a couple of buses, some motorcycle clubs, and entire teams who raised money towards this year’s crucial goal. (Last year’s event was canceled due to record low temperatures.) I was amid throngs of people who know how to have a great time for fantastic cause. I met one fellow plunger who, like me, couldn’t cajole or guilt any of her friends to join her and decided to come solo. (There were doggies, too!)

The beach was windy and cloudy, but the sun did peep out at 11:58, just in time for the mad dash to the surf! I was already on the sand in my swimsuit dancing and jumping when the countdown began…3…2…1. I waved and flashed the goofiest smile as I ran past all the spectators recording us Penguins. The yelps and hooting from the excited crowd and sounds of feet on the sand drove me to the water up to my hips. The waves were crashing up to my shoulders and people all around me were diving, splashing, laughing. It was exhilarating! 

When I’d enough, I turned to find my person on the beach. As I got to the edge where the sand and water meet, I thought, “It will be months before I can do this again!” So back I went, this time more aware of what was going on around me. A father recording his son, telling the camera, “This is his third time in the water! He can’t get enough!” A group of girls splashing each other playfully saying, “Aren’t you glad you did it?!”  Yes, yes, I am!

More About Christina

A life-long Rhode Islander and bon vivant who has been dedicated to mission-driven, human services work, Christina treasures her family, friends and new adventures. She is a native of Kent County and world traveler.