Dip in to a Sea of Possibilities 

Polar Bear Plunge_2015I stood there, numb.

Not emotionally numb. Physically numb. That shit was freezing cold.

In the course of telling me about her idea of 52 adventures for the first time, Kim mentioned taking part in a Polar Bear Plunge, and I knew instinctively she would ask me to do it. How could she not? It was karma. It was my worst fear. I won’t even dip into the ocean on the warmest summer beach day. I prefer near-bath-water temperatures myself.

I cringed internally and hoped to God I was wrong.

I wasn’t. She texted me one night and said, casually, as if it were no big thing, “Wanna do the Polar Bear Plunge?”


I couldn’t answer. I pretended not to see the text. Maybe she’ll think it wasn’t delivered, I thought.

She asked again a couple of days later. “I’m not sure,” I finally said.

“Let’s discuss it in person,” she said. “I’ll convince you.” “We’ll see,” I replied.

We met up for drinks at a local bar. We drank wine and talked excitedly about many things, and for a little while there, I thought I was home free.

Wrong again.

“I really think you should do the plunge,” she started. “It’s a great way to begin a year of 52 adventures. It’s very symbolic of a rebirth, a washing away of your past self. It’s very refreshing.”

I was scared shitless, but I knew I had no defense. This was the whole point of 52 adventures: to force yourself out of your comfort zone, to confront your deepest fears, to prove to your irrational side that you can do anything, that the only thing to fear is fear itself, and that discomfort, whether physical or emotional, won’t kill you. It will empower you. Invigorate you. It will allow you to bust through whatever walls you’ve built around yourself that are preventing you from living the full, boundary-less, bullshit-less life you know full well you would have if you could just get rid of all this baggage that’s been growing around you, slowly, sneakily, so that it actually took you quite a long time to even notice it was there.

No, fuck that.

“Of course I’m going to do it,” I blurted out, before my weaker side had a chance to protest.

I thought about the idea of a rebirth, and I liked it, but for some reason it didn’t quite resonate with me. But then I remembered one of my favorite Patti Smith songs, “Land.” I’ve always loved the line, “Dip in to the sea of possibilities,” and I realized what the plunge would mean to me, and that gave me the strength I needed. I was actually looking forward to it now. I’m going to literally and figuratively dip in to the sea of possibilities!

And that’s exactly what I did first thing in the morning on January 1, 2016.

Well, actually, I didn’t dip. I ran into Dorchester Bay. For one moment, I stood there, numb. But then I jumped up and down and waved my hands around wildly. And it was awesome. And it was beautiful. And it didn’t hurt.

Here’s to a year of running into a sea of possibilities!


-Alissa Mallinson