Today I spent 3 hours in the car, practically all by myself, since Santiago seems to sleep comfortably and a lot with the sound of a good old Opel Astra. I could do nothing but brood over life, and so I did. I was in a crappy mood and I found it hard not to concentrate on all those things that feed the malaise. From the pettiest things like being broke and purposeless, to deeper things like being so disconnected from my brother and far from mother, or so still attached to memories of the distant past in Mexico. Even so, a couple of happy thoughts struck me in the middle of all that. The first was that I wasn’t an unhappy child, at least not as much as one would’ve expected, and that’s because happy or unhappy depends a lot on what you are and not only on what you experience. I see my children and I know that my deepest want is that they are happy, but it will depend not only on how much I sing to them, or play with them or smile to them, but also on whether they choose to be happy. And I think that in spite of all my melancholy ambitions I’ve always chosen to smile back at life.
Here I thought the second happy thought. I love sewing. Sewing makes me happy. And it makes me happy because I managed to find pleasure in something that doesn’t bring happy memories: my grandmother used to sew quite a lot when I was growing up with her, and she was always particularly short tempered when she did. I was eager to learn, but she was overly jealous of her sewing machine and made the task seem more difficult than it is. She never really taught me or encouraged me to learn, all because she didn’t want to waste the life of the machine’s light bulb. She claimed that they didn’t make those anymore.
And so I realized how a great part of my life has consisted in making good things out of bad things, even when it is extremely painful and annoying to be so virtuous.