Wow, 2014. I feel like this year has really snuck up on me.

For one, I’ve been entirely too lax about posting in the last month of 2013. It wasn’t for lack of doing things – perhaps more for a lack of motivation. Once more the constant battle between balancing university life and an increasingly busy photography business tipped more in favour of university as the end of the semester drew near. When you have an essay due that’s worth 25% of your grade for a class (in two classes), everything else becomes a bit less important. Not that I’m complaining about being busy with business as well as university. I am very happy – but sometimes I worry about that fact that I have decided to pursue my business as much as a I have while still being in university. When the time is right, it’s right, though; I can’t just put a halt to things now or else I’ll have to start from scratch when I graduate, which is just not really acceptable in my mind.

Resolutions? This year, I didn’t make any. My only resolution last year was a joint resolution with my boyfriend to see at least one gig a month, since we both love music. (I’m going to do a round-up post of all of our gigs…. at some point.) Little did we know that we’d be seeing way more gigs than we bargained for, since I began shooting for The 405 in April, and he followed shortly afterwards as a writer for them in May. But I digress. I have no resolutions for this year as such, mostly just making sure that the things I set in motion last year continue to grow and get better. More photography, more traveling, more writing, more concentrating on my university when I need to. It will be hard to balance sometimes, and I am sure sometimes I am going to make hard decisions to ignore opportunities for travel/writing/photography when I need to knuckle down on studying. But you know what? I’m pretty ok with where I am, for once in my life, and I’m sure I will make it work.

So there’s a bit of stream-of-consciousness to start your 2014 off with me: my introspective, self-indulgent post for the year. Well, I can’t promise there won’t be at least one or two others. But I’ll definitely try to keep them spaced out and to a minimum.

Here’s a little peek at what I did for New Year’s Eve and Day. Spoiler alert: not much. Though I haven’t been a wild New Year’s Eve partier for a few years now, this was still very tame by anyone’s standards. But it wasn’t about partying, getting drunk enough to feel like I have to participate in “Dry January”, and spending the first day of the year hidden away beneath a duvet. We had a quite New Year’s Eve with family, and this year, that was enough for me.

The next day my Instagram and Twitter feeds were filled not only with people moaning about their mammoth hangovers, but photos of polar bear dips all over the world. I’m not entirely sure where they originated, but they seem to officially be a “thing”. I figured it would be remiss of us to miss out on the tradition since it was one that has been celebrated down the road at the Florabama for almost 3 decades.

Much like the Loony Dook in Scotland, people enjoy dressing up in all sorts of fanciful costumes – and some people, despite the chill, even showed up in swimsuits.

At the stroke of noon, I’m not entirely sure what happened. Maybe there was a horn I didn’t hear, or maybe they just looked at their watches and decided it was time to go. But down the beach, people started screaming and running for the water, and soon the entire crowd was splashing and cursing and screaming in the chilly waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I took a few photos, laughing at the shocked faces of the participants, and then though, “Well, why the hell am I not in there?”

So I gave my phone to Rob, and ran into the surf, fully clothed in my boots, jeans, and jumper. It’s shockingly cold at first, but as you splash around in the water, the warm beginnings of hypothermia begin to wash over you and you suddenly think that it was a good idea to get into the water. Maybe that was a reason a few people stayed in to splash water at each other and float calmly on the waves… but the rest of us trudged up the sand back to the infamous Florabama, drawn by the promise of free beer and hot breakfast for the participants.

We were even graced by the presence of Baby New Year and Father Time themselves. Lucky us.

Happy 2014, reader, and may it be a wonderful year for you and yours!

(Also surely I’m not the only one that keeps writing “January ___, 2013″ on everything, right??)

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