In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

“They had laughed. They had leaned on each other and laughed until the tears had come, while everything else–the cold, and where he’d go in it–was outside, for a while anyway.”
― Raymond CarverWhat We Talk About When We Talk About Love


SPOILER (?): If you are a Star Wars purist who somehow hasn’t seen the newest installation, don’t read on lest I SPOIL something for you.  In all honesty, what I’m soon to say isn’t so much a spoil as a near expiration but I thought I’d forewarn you nonetheless.

A common criticism of The Force Awakens is that it echoes A New Hope.  Entire plot points are replicated, and even sweeping camera angles and close cropped chase sequences are eerily similar to the original motion picture.  I don’t take issue with this as imitation is the best form of flattery and I appreciate the retro reawakening.  But, I suppose the same could be said of my plunge into 2016.  You see, when I first conceived of a year of adventure I had designs on some symbolic start – something to jumpstart the campaign that would speak to the purpose of the project.  A baptism-by-ice, if you will.  Even more both years began with the same fervent need to do something new – be something more – feel something different.  I’m not too proud to admit that such longings are often amplified by booze, and that said fervency is amplified further (think that girl at a party -the consummate nagger, or in my case, the high-pitched adventurer pusher).  So sure, on December 31 of 2009 I ran around a New Years Eve gathering imploring anyone in earshot to jump into Lake Michigan with me.  Some agreed.  Some told me to jog on.  And in the a.m. I washed another year off me and plunged into the uncertain possibilities of the new year.

Okay so I did that again.  This time found me in Toronto, with two friends of old and a whole host of new faces to convince.  It didn’t feel as hard this time around.  It felt like I met less resistance, entertained far more “WINTER SWIM?  WHY NOT?!”s than one would imagine.  But really, why not?  Has my years post Episode I of 52 Adventures equipped me with greater confidence?  Do I attract possibility or spin it in ways I hadn’t before?  Are Canadians simply winter hardened and the perfect population to polar plunge with?  These are postulations and nothing more.  What I want to take away is the notion that my zany year of adventure – a year that forever changed my life making me stronger emotionally and physically – was not static or fixed.  It can happen again, and just as J.J. Abrams so aptly proved – it can be improved upon.  Who cares if I once winter swam? I still feared the feeling of an icy awakening.  Still recognized the commitment of a year of challenging pursuits, but decided nonetheless to run toward them.  Even if my legs felt numb.  Despite the sting that followed.  Because an awakening is something much more than a remake.  And with it I aim to make this year, again, great.