Chicago, IL

Chicago Man Jumps into Lake Michigan for 365 Days Straight

Synthia Stark
Photo by Matt Hardy from Pexels

In Chicago, Illinois, a Chicago bus driver was looking for ways to relieve his stress. You see, this bus driver was stressed by the ongoing pandemic and came up with the idea to jump into Lake Michigan.

Recently, he had just jumped for his 365th straight day this past Saturday. His name is Dan O'Conor.

As you can see from the video above, Dan O'Conor first started jumping into Lake Michigan. Eventually, for safety reasons, he specifically moved into Montrose Harbor on the city's North Side.

You can see a map of the general area below:

The father of three had reportedly said:

“It was during the pandemic, it was during the protest, it was during an election year. ... So it was somewhere where I could come down here and block all that noise out and kind of be totally present with me in the lake, and find some moments of Zen."

From the sounds of it, jumping into the water really did help him process the greater world, such as the ongoing pandemic, protests, and elections. It seems that just diving into water helped him achieve moments of peace.

One can imagine that being a father would mean that he has to make sure his children are well too. If he is not okay, then it would be hard for him to provide the best level of care for his kids, and our kids deserve the best quality of parenting, regardless of age.

Anyways, he had been jumping for at least a full year.

In the fall, he had somehow continued jumping. There was an issue: the increasingly frozen lake. He ended up hacking a hole in the ice that was big enough for him to jump into.

It seemed to help him out during the winter months too.

However, after creating a giant hole in the frozen lake, he did report one instance where he found some scrapes and cuts on his body, somewhere during the wintertime.

As he continued doing this ritual, others started to notice.

“People started asking me what this was benefiting and how they could support — and when I say people, I’m talking strangers online, you know. When I started posting the videos on Twitter and Instagram ... I got more wind in my sails there because people started commenting like, ‘This makes my day, it’s nice to see this."

It's great that others noticed and decided to help him out. It's also cool that this little habit turned into an online thing too, where others would compliment him on social media and make him feel good about it too.

Sometimes, others would play instruments and sing, as an act of solidarity and even join in on the fun too. Some days he would jump alone, and other days he would jump with other people.

This past Saturday marked a full year of his habit of jumping into the lake.

“I just wanted to celebrate just that drive to dive for 365.“

You can see a video of him jumping below this past Saturday. It looked like he had a lot of fun since you can see other spectators and music being played, just to celebrate the momentous occasion. He even climbed a special ladder to make it all grandiose.

In the days leading up to day 365, you can tell he had a lot of fun. Here's a video of him jumping with other people back on Day 364.

As for life beyond day 365, we shall see if Dan O'Conor will continue doing these jumps. For now, the community of Chicago, Illinois (and his friends, fans, and family) will have to just wait and see.

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Writer & Researcher | Therapist-in-Training | Crisis Responder | Writing wholesome stories for the masses.

New York City, NY

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