DeBlogs > Tyler Esselman > chicagos-special-kind-of-toughness

Chicago's Special Kind of Toughness

The other day the warmth came out, if only for a moment. It was glorious. I didn’t even have to wear a hat. Of course things cooled down again as the day went on but it got me to thinking about how exactly we Chicago residents survive each soul-sucking winter.

I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to live in Chicago. You have to be tough. First you have to be physically tough. You have to have the stamina to make it through the long, dark nights from November to March. And you have to be able to trudge down your street to the train even when the wind and snow are trying their hardest to bend you backwards. This winter, I’ve discovered just how important staying active during the cold months is. If you can do a lot of strength training at this time, then it won’t feel like you’re at so much of a disadvantage in the battle against the cold. You must be like a Viking or a 20s-era boxer. Bruised, weathered and built to last.

You also have to be mentally tough. You have to choose to be happy and positive because if you don’t then it’s a long spiral down the rabbit hole of seasonal depression. It’s important to take time to quiet your mind and center yourself. I’ve been trying to incorporate at least fifteen minutes every day of just being still. I don’t take in any information and I don’t move. I just sit still and swim in my thoughts. Any form of meditation can work so long as you are in the moment and honest with yourself. You’ll be amazed at how drastically it can affect your mood when it feels like the sun will never come back ever.

Carl Sandburg wrote a famous poem about Chicago​ and I think it paints a truly evocative portrait of our city. We’re fighters and we don’t take no for an answer. That is what makes this town beautiful and why we manage to survive winter after punishing winter. Stay warm, friends.

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
The Bad Plus is a great contemporary jazz outfit that I have been grooving hard to lately. This one never fails to give me feelies. Enjoy!