"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure."
- Bill Cosby
Every year on January 1st, hundreds of people of all ages converge on the beach in Coney Island, Brooklyn to participate in The Coney Island Polar Bear Club's Annual Swim benefitting Camp Sunshine, which involves stripping down to your barely "mentionables" and plunging into icy cold water.
It's a 103 year old tradition started by Bernarr McFadden, a health enthusiast who touted the many physical benefits of swimming in icy waters.
Are there really any health benefits to doing some thing that every cell in your body is telling you is wrong?
Well, it depends on who you ask.
Europeans have been reaping the "benefits" of cold baths for hundreds of years, due in part to limited access to hot water. Some swear it increase circulation, creates an all natural high, improves skin, hair & nails, boost fertility and testerone levels in men and creates a general feeling of well being. Even James Bond does it.
The Thrombosis Research Instutite of England published a study in 1993 that found that male subjects whom regularly engaged in cold showers registered increases in white blood cell production & testosterone. Another study showed that cold showers can be used to treat depression. This is probably not enough to make you strap on a bikini, zip up your Uggs and cannonball head first into wintry waters but it makes you wonder.
FYI, most physicians do not recommend swimming in 34˚ water for any length of time.
I'll admit that I've always wanted to try the polar dip but never quite pulled the trigger. So this year I decided to accompany my friends Katie and Adrienne who decided to take the plunge so I could see what I would literally be getting myself into.
Enjoy the photos and scroll down to read about the crazy thing I'm planning to do this year...
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
― Marc Riboud
2012 is gone but not forgotten and wanted to share with you some of my favorite photos of the past year.
I've always been a shutterbug. My mother dabbled in professional photography and even went as far as building a dark room in our house. My father never left the house with out a camera. There's a disproportionate number of photos of my dad compared to other family members because he spent more time behind the camera than in front of it. I still have an old camera he left me still loaded with film waiting to be developed.
Photography, for me could be classified as a hobby at best. My weapons of choice are a battered old hand me down Sony whose features I'm still learning, a Nikon cool pix that packs a lot of punch for such a small package and of course my iPhone. For me a photograph doesn't just represent the people and objects you see in the photograph. It is one of life's bookmarks that allows you to return to the experiences that helped to shape your life.
The screen saver on one of my first laptops was a photo of me in a bikini on beach in Coney Island during the previous summer. A friend of mine was visiting and saw the screen and said, "That's a little vain isn't it?" (Admittedly, I don't talk to her very often) Though, it was a picture of only me, I didn't look at it that way. I just saw it as a snapshot from a day when I was really happy. For me it was a picture of happiness.
So please enjoy this year's worth of photographed happiness...
My mother is the hardest person to shop for because, like me, she is an impulsive shopper. She hits the stores almost everyday with a fistful of coupons looking for the best deal. And when she sees something she likes... she gets it.
She's also a gadget and appliance junkie. If there is a commercial for it and Consumer Reports rates it #1 she probably has one in every color. So this Christmas instead of trying to guess which hot new iPad accessory she doesn't have or get her a gift card (oh, the impersonal horror!) I decided to design a simple gallery wall in her hallway that currently occupied by atrocious plastic photo displays with all the spaces filled and extra photos shoved in.