I’ve lived in a cozy California beach town called Cayucos for going on 6 years now. Every year in my adopted hometown on New Year’s Day hundreds of locals and tourists flock to the beach for the annual Polar Bear Dip, donning costumes or swimsuits and awaiting the conch call to head for the waves en masse at approximately noon.
Until this year, I’ve spent my New Year’s Days working at a beachside cafe serving all of these hungover and enthusiastic peeps, or as a mere spectator — marveling at the lemming-appeal of it all.
Today, I joined the hordes of plungers, dove straight into the first wave that I ran toward full speed before I could lose my nerve. And I wondered: Why did I never do this before?
It was truly exhilerating, a sensual ritual for awakening into a new year.