Monday, February 24, 2014

Do the things that frighten you (See also: Selfies on the Beach in February)

This past weekend, I finally did something that I had been wanting to do for some time: I participated in a polar bear plunge in Seaside Heights. Yes, one of those crazy events where a group of lunatics jumps into the ocean in February. And you know what? It was amazing! The weather was reasonably decent (50 or so degrees), exceptionally warm for February, and I had the support of my husband, kids, parents and grandparents, all of whom came down to spend the day at the shore and cheer me  on. My mom even decided at the last minute to take the plunge with me!
All of the money raised by donations went to the Special Olympics, and this one event managed to raise over a million dollars. Yes, the water was cold. But the experience overall was wonderful, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
I wish I had known to leave the house earlier, since we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. I wish I knew that this was the kind of thing where costumes are completely appropriate. In all fairness, hubs did tell me, but I thought he was making it up. I wish had spent more time on fundraising and raised more money. But overall? I just wish I'd done it sooner.
As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I sometimes lose little bits of myself- pieces of my personality that are pushed into the background. When I had to give up the rollercoasters I always loved so much due to pregnancy and having very little ones, or had to pack up some of my bigger art supplies to make more room for baby stuff, or undertake fewer strenuous hikes or stopped doing really serious writing, I always felt like pieces of me went missing. Now slowly but surely I'm taking them back, by doing things that scare me in some way or another. Sometimes I'm scared I won't be able to follow through (as was the case this past weekend at the plunge) or that I won't finish a collage or poem, or I'm just scared of failure (I still haven't signed up for the half-marathon I've been training for since November, because I'm scared I won't be able to finish it, though I partially blame the weather). But pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to do the scary stuff is the one way I've found to take back those pieces of myself I thought I'd lost. 
This is my year to undertake all those monumental-seeming, somewhat intimidating tasks on my bucket list. Why? Because nothing is stopping me, and by taking care of myself physically (half-marathon training) and mentally (doing things that make me feel like a whole, brave person and not merely an extension of my children), I can be a better wife and mother and person in general. Also, it's giving me a sense if accomplishment that I thought I'd left in my office when I came home to take care of the kids. And some good stories, too.

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