‘We look too often for happiness in the wrong places while it is right in front of us.’
What does happiness mean to you?
To be present in the moment and do everything with meaning, not jus follow the rhythm and live on automatic pilot. To get to know yourself in a deeper way then you could ever have imagined and to understand that happiness can be unlimited. Only when you know yourself, you understand what happiness means to you.
You don’t need everything society is selling us for short-term happiness like nice clothes or to visit weekly good restaurants. Sunsets with a beer can make you the happiest person in the world. We look too often for happiness in the wrong places while it is right in front of us. Family holidays and small moments shared with people we love the most.
What is your background?
I grew up in Beere Sheva the capital of the South of Israel. Both my parents are from Georgia and moved to Israel in 1970 because they are Jewish. I have two younger brothers and I am the oldest. My family is traditional and our religion is very important. My childhood was very family minded and still our family always comes first. I had a very happy childhood, I was good in school, had a nice boyfriend, I liked to do sports and go to a party every once in a while. After high school, I turned 18 and did my army service. I was a teacher in the air force, I can’t tell much more about it because its secret information. I really enjoyed my army time, although it was at times mentally hard. But you accept it because it’s the way of life here, everybody has to go. You learn a lot about yourself and teamwork of which you benefit the rest of your life. I had a job that was very wanted, I worked very hard for it and my class respected me.
After the army I went traveling in South America for six months I saw different cultures and habits and it made me a more open minded person. Back home I decided to move to Tel Aviv I was 22 and came all alone, I didn’t have any friends and money. I got into a routine life working as a bartender. Living live on automatic pilot, I realised that my inspiration was gone because of this routine. For the first time of my life I stood still and really thought about in which direction I wanted to go. Out of nothing I got the idea to be a photographer, I never held a camera before in my life. But something about the challenge to capture a moment sounded very interesting to me. I went to a fashion photography school in Milan. I enjoyed the course and to be by myself again surrounded by other cultures. Mingle with the locals and other expats, eating together and getting to know more about other cultures. In the end the people I met influenced me more then the study itself. It was a process. Coming back to Tel Aviv with my photography certificate I had a hard time finding jobs until I went into a depression and my confidence disappeared. It was a hard time, I put my camera in the closet, started bartending again to be back in my comfort zone. When my boyfriend –that I met in Tel Aviv- and I decided to go to India I took the camera out of the closet again. In India I took pictures of everything that interested me, views, people, interaction, emotions it all came naturally to me. I realized I had put myself in a box of fashion photography and breaking out of it was a freeing experience. I am raised that if I want something it will happen and I lost this during my depression. I came confident back to Tel Aviv, build a website and started to sell pictures. It worked and I have a lot of orders. Finally things started to roll. I bought more equipment and made a little studio in my apartment,
I don’t do things anymore that I don’t believe in, I pay attention to every step I take, if what I do and who I meet, gives me a good vibe and positive energy. For the first time in my life I have some money to treat myself. I read books how the human brain works to understand myself better and to make the right choices that lead to a happy life.
Where do you stand in life?
I am a freelance photographer; I do several projects by my self. I am at a point that I realize there is no limit to who I can be and what I can do. My boyfriend keeps me in balance and in India everything came together. He is a graphic designer and we push each other in life, we want the same things. I don’t want a big career, I choose life. Life is being creative, accept emotions, having a bad day, find your passion and see magic in the little things. I don’t take my camera everywhere, sometimes you just need to enjoy.
Are you familiar with the 30 years dilemma?
Yes I am familiar with the concept; age is something that occupies everybody in the world. A few years before I thought and worried about it more. But with every year that passes I am feeling better about myself and the path I am on, so for me it’s a positive process. Maybe when I turn 60 I am going to have a dilemma but not now. I feel I am facing the best years in my life, and try to enjoy them as much as I can.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you have a dream?
I am open to everything where life will take me. For sure still together with my man. I want to be proud of myself. I hope I have two kids of my own and one adopted. We live in a nice and quiet home out of the city with a lot of good energy and I want to see myself with a smile on my face.
What wise lesson did your parents teach you?
Be kind, don’t judge and don’t be jealous are the most important. Trust the magic, you can call it god you can call it Buddha but be certain that if you are humble and respectful the universe will bring it back to you.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be patient because I am very impulsive, its something I still work on. To just breathe and believe that things will flow, and if you feel stuck its just for a period it doesn’t last a lifetime.
Furthermore no advice, I would not change anything in my life, I believe everything that happened was something I need to go through to become the person I am today.
When was your last moment of happiness?
Last week with Yom Kippur, one of the Jewish holidays. I love it, you avoid eating, drinking, no phone, no television. Just you and your thoughts, reflect on how your year was, and how you can change for the better. It was the first time my boyfriend and me did it together, just the two of us. I loved the reflecting together it was fun and a happy day, it got us even more connected, a natural high.
Under the same sun is an ongoing travel log which you can follow on our travel and lifestyle blog Meet You at the Bridge. The reports show the similarities and differences on what it means to be happy for women between the ages of 25 and 35 who hail from different cultures.
Click below for all interviews.