"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton
I think the most frequently asked question we get about living here in Chicago (from parents, cousins, friends, because let's be real, this blog ain't that popular) is, "is residency difficult?"
Hmm. That's a tough one. Even between the two of us, our experiences in residency have been so drastically different - he started off with a whole month in the ICU (intensive care unit) sluggin' 90+ hours a week, barely eating lunch, and living that 9 o'clock dinner life. I think he would wholeheartedly say "yes", at least for the very start of it all. I started off with two weeks in the hematology wards, where the pace was generally slower. Even though the patients were complex, nothing was overwhelmingly fast. I had time to learn. (And time to work out. And time to cook. And time to bake, clearly). I would always answer that question, "not yet".
And now the tide turns once again, and tomorrow I'll start a whirlwind of two and a half months - 9 nights, a month of wards, followed by a month of ICU. Which, if you're not in healthcare, basically just means a lot of hours at work. Even my senior residents this past month have shuddered when I told them what was ahead. And in my little newbie intern head, I got a little panicked - I started thinking about how little time there will be for life - cooking at home, long runs through the city, Game of Thrones on Sunday evenings.
Wait. Isn't this what I wanted?
I'll admit that I became a little sour when these thoughts ran through my head. A little bitter looking at the Instagram accounts of other friends and bloggers who have chosen a life with lots of time, lots of freedom to do what they care. And then I get ashamed. For how freaking privileged I sound worrying about not getting five days a week of exercise, fretting over my future lack of social life. And in those moments of shame, I think back to what my pops said to me a month before the move, back when I was complaining about loans and the stress that residency will bring.
"Erica, I want you to have an attitude of gratitude."
An attitude of gratitude. It sounds cheesy as hell, but it's heavy. It bears a reminder that, quite honestly, is really hard to remember as selfish humans that we can come to be. But I think they're important words to internalize in our hearts. The first word, attitude, is huge. Your attitude can make or break a situation, change your day from good to bad, or vice versa. It can make work feel like the longest day ever or a rich learning experience. Too often I find myself falling into a bad mood simply because my attitude wasn't poor. But that's not how you want to live your days, right? Your attitude each and every day counts. It counts for your peers, for each person that you interact with during the day. And most importantly, it counts for you. And the second part is gratitude. I could write another whole post about the word, but I think this article nicely sums it up. It's the idea that nothing, literally nothing, comes for granted. And it's the joys that emerge so fantastically, magically, when you adapt that mindset. And in turn those joys transform into actions. You become a little kinder and considerate to others. You pay it forward, expecting nothing in return, because all that's really driving you is that wishing to spread more of that feeling around to the people in your life. Life becomes more intense, more vibrant, when you have gratitude.
I don't intend to sound preachy, and this post is getting rather long. But I write this as a way to keep me accountable for what will inevitably be a time where work will take the forefront and yes, I will be in the hospital a lot. And some days, work will be hard. Because I'm not saying that life is perfect all the time, it's not. But I want to remind myself even on those days to always have an attitude of gratitude. Because that kind of attitude is what I want to spread.
P.S. thanks, dad.
These cookies were actually inspired from a dinner Andrew and I cooked earlier this week called the hippie bowl, a beautiful recipe from Sara at Sprouted Kitchen in her book, Bowl + Spoon. More specifically, we made these wonderfully spicy sweet sunflower seeds to go with them and immediately I wanted to adapt these flavors into a dessert. So in went some cinnamon and cayenne, for that kick. Rye flour for a malty, nuttier, ore complex flavor. Flaky salt on top for balance. Beware they are indeed spicy - it builds gradually and you might not sense it initially, but a few seconds later it'll hit you. Feel free to decrease the cayenne to 1/2 teaspoon if you're not digging the heat. But I don't recommend it.
Happy Friday, everyone. Have a beautiful weekend!
Spicy rye chocolate chip cookies (cookie base loosely adapted from the brown sugar cookies from Molly on the Range)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark rye flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup unroasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Flaky sea salt (I used this bourbon barrel smoked flaked sea salt)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, rye flour, cinnamon, cayenne, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated with each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium for another 30 seconds until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and beat until just a few flour streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and sunflower seeds and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
- Scoop the dough onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (I use the medium cookie scoop from Oxo). Sprinkle each ball of dough with some flaky salt, then put in the fridge covered lightly with plastic wrap for at least an hour, but I'd recommend letting them sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours (overnight is even better for flavor).
- Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove 6 cookies from the fridge and place evenly spread out on another parchment-lined sheet pan. Flatten each slightly so that they are more like discs, then place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown and lightly puffed. Remove from the oven and let the hot pan sit on a potholder for 2 minutes before removing the cookies from the pan and onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough until all your cookies are baked. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk, preferably the day they're baked (but they're great a couple days out, too).