Otmin Died This Week

It’s been one of those weeks. You know, the kind where everything goes to hell in a hand basket and you’re left wondering what hit you. It started off with my trusty MacBook, Otmin, dying. It wasn’t a slow, predictable death, either. One minute I was writing happily in the big wicker chair near the window overlooking the garden, the next I was confronted with a horrific mechanical wheezing and clacking, Otmin heaved a sigh of despair, and gave up on the world. I rushed him off to my dad, a man who happens to be a bit of a computer genius (it’s what he went to college for), to see what could be done. My hard-drive had apparently died. I don’t blame the computer. It’s had a good run, and it’ll last a few more years once the hard-drive is replaced; besides which, I’ve worn it rather hard with all the traveling.

But that… That was the beginning of the end for my week.

The issue is that my computer is how I make an income, how I communicate with friends and family around the world, how I find new jobs and opportunities. Without it, I’m dead in the water. First I find myself canceling my creative writing lessons for the week, disappointing my students who’re deep into projects of their own creation, then I’m screwing up editing work because I’ve never used an iPad for it before, and finally I’m discovering that my work email is down for the count and I’m unable to email back someone who’s interested in my creative writing classes/respond to any work thing, ever, all week. One thing after another.

THIS is happiness. Time with my Manlet, kitchen dancing, and goofy brothers.

And so, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how we create our own happiness. For me, happiness is having projects to work on, music to play, the occasional adventure, fun with the family and/or William, and some time outside in the sun every day. But what do I do when my projects are gone, people are frustrated with me for not being available while my computer is undergoing repairs, and it rains all week? Being miserable isn’t an option.

I think I’ve discovered (still working on the application, I’ll admit) that being miserable is a choice. I can choose to let my mind linger on the fact that work sucks right now, it’s raining in the middle of dry season here in Guatemala, I’ve been sick off and on for months, and I’m staring down a lot of projects/travels/UNI with very little money in my bank account. Or, I can relax, knowing that I’ve done all I can do to address the issues, and look at the world around me from a different perspective:

I’m in my favorite place in all the world. My Manlet is here with me, for the first time in months. The rain makes the jungle seethe with life and smell of earth and moss and rich damp loveliness. I’m in a community where I have many friends and there’s something happening every night. Truly, I have so much more to be grateful for than I have to complain about.

Now, to make some tea, take a deep breath, and work on a story. Or maybe paint a little.

What are your tricks for finding happiness every day?

2 Replies to “Otmin Died This Week”

  1. Painting. And writing. You’re my soul sista! :) Prayers and good vibes your way!! Pure vida!

  2. staceyjeaninion says: Reply

    I love your writing and I love this post. Being being miserable is indeed a choice as is being happy. I think one of the greatest gifts God has given us is that ability to choose. Great picture. I just help feeling happy when I see your pictures. Thanks for writing this. It totally brightened my day. Surely, no one was was frustrated with you when your beloved Otmin perished.

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