They say "attitude is everything" - I think I still have a high school gym shirt with the quote emblazoned in big black letters. But we all get beat down sometimes, and no matter the reason our attitude slips from its place on our priority list and we slump. We lose motivation and get lazy - whether in our relationships, at work, or in our social lives. It's so cyclical that sometimes I don't even notice the little downer before I'm back on top, fiery attitude blazing.
But tonight I noticed. I was so excited to get into the park after work for a long run - the weather today was positively Spring and New Yorkers couldn't help themselves but smile, even at strangers on the subway. I caught 4 people smiling at me before they realized what they were doing. This town just oozes happiness when the weather turns warmer. So I got home, laced up my Asics and high-tailed it to the park.
At about mile 3 I dipped. My pace slowed, I felt every sore muscle and, cursing the 9 beers I drank on Saturday (who am I?), my mind snapped from pleasant wandering to how much further I had to go. At the base of Central Park I rounded a corner uphill and almost ran smack dab into someone crossing the street. I looked up ready to give the intruder the stink eye and found a 70ish-year-old, white-haired, semi-stooped man hurrying out of my way. I softened my glare and then focused on his back - he wasn't stooped at all, he had a bouldering pad on his back. This old dude had just been bouldering the rocks in the park!
I turned back to the hill and decided if that guy could haul himself up boulders, then I - more than 40 years his junior - could surely run a few more miles in near-perfect weather. My head went back to my happy running place, and before I knew it I was passing runners. I thought about my great weekend with my friends. I thought about my friend who's moving out to the Bay area. I remembered a recent post by my new Bay area friend Camilla about the intoxicating and motivating effect being active has. And then I remembered how it felt to push through marathon training as a newbie runner and grit through the pain to cross the finish line. Just seeing the phrase "attitude is everything" run through my head quickened my pace and sent me uphill to the finish. I left the park grinning and singing out loud to "Happiness" by The Fray on my i-Pod (and I got a few more of those smiles I was talking about earlier).
I guess those high school gym teachers were on to something - the strength of the mind over the body is outstanding, and I don't use it enough. I'm challenging myself (and all of you!) to put it to use the next time anything (however small) seems impossible. Some people call it The Secret... I just know I like it.
I put it to use again when I got home to complete my first official Tuesdays With Dorie recipe (Look! Baking Therapy is even on the Baker blogroll!). For those that don't know, TWD started when Laurie received Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan for Christmas and "made a New Year's resolution to try to bake one recipe a week from this brilliant book." The blog is widely known and membership is exclusive, so I was delighted when I got the email that I was in (especially after meeting Dorie last month!).
Tonight I wasn't in the mood for shortbread (or jam), but I fitted my mixer with the paddle attachment anyway and got to work. Even though I firmly believe that everything is (usually) better with chocolate, these simple tea cookies are pretty perfect. Attitude is everything! With a sweet dusting of powdered sugar these are delicious... and lovely! Thanks to Mike of Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude for this weeks pick.
For the recipe, flip to page 164 of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. If you don't have it, go get it. You need this sweet book on your bookshelf.