This past year, we witnessed our fair share of history makers and head-scratchers. One of our own (now relocated to Washington, D.C.) shepherded a sweeping health-care reform. The Blackhawks awoke from a long nap to win the Stanley Cup. Twenty million Hollywood dollars turned downtown into a movie set. On the other hand, we couldn’t rid ourselves of an embarrassing ex-governor. And the Cubs made it 102 futile years in a row. Brilliance flourishes alongside ignominy in dynamic cities, just as beauty lives next to grit. Underneath, though, there’s a current, a vitality, that supports the whole and moves us forward. For this, Chicago magazine’s 40th anniversary issue, we’ve chosen to highlight the people, places, and ideas that keep us optimistic about where we are headed. Consider what follows a celebration, an analysis, an accounting—40 reasons why we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.