Taking the Plunge

plunge cropped

There was a time in my life where I talked the talk but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) walk the walk. I would dish out the fabulous advice and ignore it when it came to my own life. Silly, isn’t it; helping others but not doing the same for myself?  I decided a while back to make a list of things that I wanted to do in my lifetime; goals, dreams, and journeys I want to take.  I’m human though and the list was quickly forgotten when my writing picked up and I found myself with no time. Then I decided that I was going to start off the New Year by taking the plunge.

I started mentioning my plans to some friends and quickly I had a teammate in my madness. I should have known that Kat would support my insanity and want a piece of it, too. I was so excited we were going to be taking the plunge together. We would be participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. For those who don’t know what that it, it’s a world wide event held in Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and of course the US where crazy people plunge into frigid waters. Whether it is a hole cut into a freezing cold lake or running fill tilt into an ocean the point is you are donning a swim suit in the middle of the winter and running into frigid waters.

Most sane people would never consider doing this; luckily I’m not sane and it was for a great cause. In most cases the plunges benefit a cause and for us it was the Special Olympics of New Jersey, a very worthy cause. So, I set to raising my money and convincing family I was NOT insane (a hard task indeed). It seems not everyone was as comfortable about me pushing my limits and taking the plunge as I was. I quickly learned that you aren’t going to have full support, and people are quick to throw out the words “reckless” and “silly” when you decide to do something that is against the grain.

Polar Bear Plunge, Jewels, Special Olympics, Wildwood NJ, taking the plunge
We are bottom closest to the camera-Kat’s brother, Kat, & my hair as we hit the water.

We herded ourselves onto the beach, I took a few gut warming swigs of my Jack Daniels, and then dispensed of my sweatpants and t-shirt. We lucked out with a balmy 48 degree day but it was sheer dumb luck that we had a sunny and warm January day; it could just as easily been 20 and snowing. The countdown began, I grabbed Kat’s hand (lest we lose each other in the mad dash) and took off running down our sandy runway into the ocean stoked to be taking the plunge.

taking the plunge, jewels, the indie chicks, badass, polar bear plunge
Back in the warmth feeling like a total BADASS!

As soon as your feet hit the water everything in you screams “STOP NOW, YOU FREAKING IDIOT!!” but I pushed through and kept running in. I screamed like a bitch, I know I did, but I was smiling the whole time. A lot of people ran in, got their legs wet, and ran right back out but not Kat and I. We were in the water and making the most of it. So we ran through the water until we were as deep as they would let us go, did our own 3, 2, 1 countdown and dove under the water. Go big or go home!

I came out absolutely freezing, in face my feet and legs were so numb I stumbled and fell back under when I tried to stand up. Your body seizes in total shock from the cold and I became incapable of any speed as I stumbled out of the water like a zombie. However, as you will see if you watch the video, I was smiling and laughing the whole time. It was exhilirating and so much fun. You better believe I will be taking the plunge again next year!

While this article is about my taking the plunge into the freezing Atlantic Ocean in the middle of January it’s really a lesson in life. It’s okay to do what other people think is crazy; hell it’s downright amazing to prove everyone wrong. Taking the plunge was one of the most invigorating, fun, badass, self esteem raising things I’ve ever done. Not because I froze my ass off but because I proved people wrong, participated in something most people won’t, and challenged myself. It is fun as fuck to challenge the norm, to dare to be brave and different, or to accomplish something other people think is nuts. I seriously suggest it. Don’t let anybody tell you that your dream is crazy; that you’re insane for wanting it. Because while you might be crazy it could also be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.

If you are so inclined you can check out Kat and myself taking the plunge in our video from plunge day. There’s a lot of hilarity prior but if you are only interested in the actual plunge head to timestamp 7:37. 
We actually run past the camera at 9:41..it’s fast. You’ll see us again when we come back out.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QCYJssGCPM]

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Indie Chicks. She's working on publishing her first book, a collection of short stories, and writing a young adult novel series. Other loves include whiskey, the Flyers, and anything LOTR, Harry Potter, or Young Adult Lit. Don't be shy about following her on Instagram or emailing her to discuss contributing to The Indie Chicks.

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