La Voz de Galicia – July 2, 2021 →

Cristina PatoThe writer Rosa Montero said in an interview published some time ago that «joy (…) can be fostered by exercising one’s thinking, by exercising one’s intent to live in the moment.» She spoke in the context of the publication of her novel «La buena suerte» (Good Luck), a story about good and evil where she also reflects about the idea that «joy is a habit.»

I don’t know if this happened to you as well, but during this year, it was more difficult than ever being in the present, with that «intent to live in the moment» that Montero talked about. When my usual activity stopped, when I had more time to think, the past suddenly appeared to remind me of all the things I have done wrong. And taking on the much thought-out decision of radically changing the direction of my life, the future suddenly appeared to remind me of all the things that can go wrong in this new chapter. And so, without meaning to, between the past and the future, the present disappears almost every day.

Getting it back requires absolute dedication, and I am working on it. It also requires time, the present time, when we may be aware of what we have around us, of the little, and apparently insignificant things that can cheer our existence on a daily basis. And it is not easy to accept that the only sure thing in this life is this beautiful bit of time that we currently have, the same time we don’t want to accept as something unique and special, the same time we squander staring at our cell phones…

Perhaps Rosa Montero is right when she says that joy is a habit; and perhaps I will try to practice it every day to see if I am able to return to the present. Because, as Marcus Aurelius said, «happiness depends on the quality of your thoughts»…

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