Cyclical In Chicago

Have you found that there are dates in your life’s timeline that mirror each other? As if a cycle of something keeps happening, or a pattern of events seems almost predictable?

I was reading a nostalgic piece about Chicago’s hottest days (100 F or greater) in history, and it got me reminiscing and thinking like this.

The memories and milestones of my past summers seem to echo the present ones, and I find that fascinating.

Whatever you call them, the serendipity of the parallels confirm to me the magic inherent in our lives. The ultimate magic trick really… Something from seemingly nothing, made apparent by paying attention to the little dates and details of your life.

Here are mine:

Example 1:

Summer 2012

Most recent hottest Chicago summer day: July 6, 2012.

This summer marked the start of my husband Geoffrey and I getting serious. We would be married in 2014.

This was the first summer in a long time when I had this renewed sense of confidence in myself, having just gotten accepted into Loyola University’s Digital Media and Storytelling Masters program. And in general I felt ready and worthy to go after things I wanted. And I really wanted to follow my heart for once.

So I called Geoff just before going with my parents to an afternoon retirement party, on Bastille Day of all days. For a well known general surgeon in the Chicago North Shore, named Dr. David P. Winchester, whom my mom knew through her work. And the rest is our story. That call changed my life…and led me to where I am now: HOME.

Example 2:

Summer 1995

Hottest day that summer: July 13, 1995.

“The day was part of a notorious heat wave that killed more than 700 area residents. That one sweltering week would change the way Chicago responds to and prepares for all emergencies.”

Kori Rumore, visual reporter with the Chicago Tribune

This was the last summer I spent with my maternal grandfather, who was a major influence on my life. Also one of my favorite summers because it was the first one where I was more able to enjoy and understand life. And most importantly, remember.

Ages 5 thru 6 are important in brain and body development for a child, when a lot of who you are gets cemented too. So through that very clinical lens, it makes sense why that time in my life has stuck with me. Though bittersweet in retrospect, Summer 1995 set the stage for the rest of my childhood, and my life really. And thankfully, I found a deep connection again later in life when I met my husband.

It’s also kind of fun to wonder how our daughter feels about us and what she thinks of all the things happening in our lives right now. She is only one year younger than I was during that summer.

But truth be told, I lost my sense of HOME when my grandfather passed the following year—10 days before my birthday I’d like to add.

Example 3:

Summer 2023

This Thursday is projected to near or reach 100 F.

This summer has been major for our little family. This is probably the most significant summer in my life honestly.

We left our first home and are finally moved into our forever home. Our daughter is starting Kindergarten Wednesday and Geoff and I are about to start losing time with her. Our lives are forever changed and on a whole new track. There’s been so much change in such a short time. Although according to Robert Downey Jr., it takes 15 days to adjust to any new circumstance. Sorry for the sidetrack, but I’m just getting into the wildly popular podcast Armchair Expert and it’s just so damn wonderful.

But of all the kinds of adjustments you’d have to deal with in life, you could do worse than a new house with a yard and great neighborhood. There’s no more searching for HOME for my husband and I.

What’s The Through Line?

The through line of all these milestone summers I think is a desire for HOME.

  • Summer 1995: my sense of home was this distant far off place I longed for.
  • Summer 2012: I took a real chance to start finding it.
  • Summer 2023: home was finally built and ready be with.

HOME can be a person, place, or time in your life. And if you find all three, all the more happier you will be.

You don’t need a husband, child, dog, and house to BE HOME. Your home may look different, smell different, be different in every imaginable way. But if you’re not happy with where you are, it is so worth working hard to get to where you will feel AT HOME. It could take you a decade to get there, but don’t give up. Find the support you need to get through the lean years or the hard years, because no journey is smooth, but can be sweet if we see it through and don’t lose sight of what’s important.

I hope you reader have had at least one perfect day this summer. Sometimes just one can make the difference.


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