Jill and I are fortunate to have a great view of the Chicago River from our apartment, and the river is much busier than I would have assumed before we moved downtown. From March through November, this aromatic body of water is filled with kayakers, gravel barges, motorboats, party boats, tour boats and an occasional police patrol.
Some days, especially around this time of year, the temperature will hang in the 40s and the rain will come down in sheets, but the tour boats maintain their schedules. Even in the worst conditions, the boats will have a handful of people on board, braving the gale on the top deck. Last Tuesday, as the temperature hovered in the teens, we watched a boat pass by with about a dozen passengers on board.
At first, I wondered why these tourists—I assume they are tourists—are out in such bad weather to see our city from the river. Then, I realized, they were on the boat this day because this was the only day they had available.
Most likely, these battered souls are in town for a short while, have an interest in architecture, and decide it's worth a bit of discomfort to survey our legacy. Yes, it might be raining or freezing, and yes, it might be (more than) slightly miserable, but our sodden friends can’t return tomorrow or the day after. This is the day they have and they are going to make the best of it.
You gotta respect that. This is the day they have and they are going to make the best of it. Of course, this day is every day and it’s every day for all of us, not just for tourists on the Chicago River. We get the same 24 hours as Howard Schultz and Pope Francis, the same window as the guy who cleans the bathrooms at the airport and the prisoner on death row.
This is one of those lessons in life that’s so obvious, so consistent, that it’s easily forgotten. Sometimes we need a reminder, such as a tour boat with five passengers in truly miserable weather. Whenever one of those vessels comes into view, it energizes me to make more of my own experiences, to enjoy the gift of this day and avoid regrets tomorrow.
Because, when it comes to the next 24 hours, we’re all in the same boat.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.