I read an article once about how smiling during a workout, particularly on a run, can improve your performance. Something about making yourself smile, no matter how artificial, can get your brain to send out happy signals and give you a little extra push of energy.
Yesterday on the treadmill I was pounding away and a great song came on, and I was feeling it. So I looked up at the black TV screen in front of me and smiled. I looked at my face, the dark circles under my eyes, the overbite, the skin that is inexplicably breaking out (too much Halloween candy?) and I smiled. The screen was so dark I couldn't see how flushed I was, but I could see bits of sweat breaking free from my hair as I ran, and I just felt good. I picked up my gait and upped the speed on the treadmill and went for it. Smiling. Reminding myself to smile. I smiled when feet started to feel kind of leaden, and when my muscles ached and even when I felt a tiny tweak in my right knee. Smiling. Remember to smile.
It hit me somewhere during that time, rounding out my third mile and feeling that familiar mix of tired and exhilarated, that I was excited, feeling really excited about life, and it was something I manufactured right then on the treadmill, pushing myself and wearing myself out and remembering to smile.
I lament sometimes how I am not often excited about life anymore, but what I had forgotten is that excitement is something you make. You can't sit and wait for it to find you. You can't sit back and wait for the circumstances of your life to arrange themselves in a pleasing pattern. Those random, magical moments exist, but they won't find you unless you put yourself out there.
The point of this whole blog has been to recognize those random magical moments, but it's so passive. Observational. I need to start making them, too. Making and celebrating lovely.
(The song I was listening to on the treadmill yesterday).