My sister is visiting this first week of January. When she got here, we got online and looked up free things to do during her visit. One of the things we saw was an invitation from some folks at The Riptide Bar near the ocean to come out at noon on New Year’s Day and run into the ocean with whatever group of people showed up that day.
This is exactly the kind of thing my sister would love to do. It is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t ever do. We both did it.
The ocean here is pretty much always freezing cold. There was one time a few years ago that I went down to Half Moon Bay on a really warm day and the beach was lovely but as soon as I went into the water my feet cramped up in terrible pain from the icy cold. I don’t particularly like being uncomfortable so I don’t go into the water here. Heck, I only even go to the beach here about once a year.
Still, there was something a little bit compelling about doing this. I can’t really define what it was. I suppose it is because I tend to always be that person hovering on the beach in the cold, watching others do things that I’m 100% certain are uncomfortable, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to be the person running into the ocean even though I was terrified of the discomfort, the riptides, the pain of cold.
Do I think that I will stop being fearful of scary new experiences because I ran into the water with a group of people on New Year’s Day? Maybe not. But I know that I felt some sort of weird pride for having done it, for starting the year doing something that I normally wouldn’t do it and finding it not altogether terribly unpleasant.
I should add something here. Right before we went to the ocean, we stopped at a house where I am petsitting. I was having trouble getting the door unlocked so I stepped back to let my sister try. I stepped back while I was on really steep stairs and although I caught myself I nearly tumbled backwards down the steps. I’d spent half an hour or more jittery and nervous about the cold and trying to decide whether or not I was going to run into the ocean and then I almost cracked my skull open doing something as simple as opening a door.
That’s how life is – what you are scared of is rarely what hurts you. It’s what you don’t expect that gets you. Which is one of the many reasons 2013’s mantra for me is to be active and present in this moment, instead of fearfully anticipating the next one or mulling over the last one!
Note: The event we were a part of was a separate event from the 2nd Annual Polar Bear Club run into the ocean, which happened just up the beach from us.