Embrace the mundane
18.03.2013 - 18.03.2013 3 °C
Looking back, the Fall season into the start of winter in Chicago is one of my favourite things. Colourful leaves, the smell of cinnamon, pumpkin decorations, the empty lake front path, Thanksgiving and Halloween are all things that hold a special place in my Chicago experience.
When December rolls around, the temperature can drop below what Melbourne considers a “freezing” day, and the city is lit with Christmas lights and decorated with fun Christmas decor. If I’m lucky, there will be some snow for a White Christmas, rendering everything beautiful and making the freezing cold temperatures worth it.
But after Christmas and New Years, the time seems to drag. January through April in Chicago always sends me into hibernation and I am reminded that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing. I don’t mind the cold, I actually prefer it to the hot, so it’s not the temperature that bothers me. It’s the lack of sunshine and the shorter days. The sun doesn’t come out that often, and when it does, it’s during the middle of the day when I’m stuck in the office. The worst is when it starts to set as early as 4pm on some days. There are many winter days that I leave home and return home in pitch black darkness.
Even when the clocks spring forward in March and the days start to creep longer, there are gloomy days, freezing days, and rainy days that make us think that spring will never come. I find it impossible to know what to wear, especially when going for a run outside - so I end up avoid running outdoors altogether. Every now and then we’ll be teased by a beautiful sunny day, at “warm temperatures”, where anything above 0 °C feels warm. A glimpse anything above 10 °C and everyone is outside in shorts and t-shirt.
It is in the Chicago wintertime that I feel most homesick. I see all the Facebook posts of my friends enjoying the Melbourne summer and I wish I could teleport myself back for it. I came across an article that said "Don’t dismiss your life — if you’re bored with it, it’s probably just because it’s yours. Know that even if you realize your dream of moving to the exotic destination of your choosing, after sufficient time there you’ll start to feel the same hint of the mundane you felt before." This made me stop and remind myself of all the great things about Chicago winter: Board game nights, trivia nights, the novelty of snow storms (e.g. “Snowmaggedon” in 2010), music concerts, ski trips and St. Patty’s Day,
I love that the horrible winters don’t stop all the “crazy” athletes from getting out there and working out, whether it be running, biking, or even swimming in the freezing lake. And if don’t want to work out, you don’t have to. There’s the perfect excuse of needing an extra layer for winter, and you’re bundled up like a Michelin Man every day anyway, so noone can tell if you’ve packed on the pounds This city is set up for the cold, with the public transport system usually unphased and all buildings well heated. As long as you have a decent snow jacket, snow boots and a good group of friends, Chicago winter isn't too bad.