That's it, I made the first step and opened a blog after being urged to do so by friends and after having played on-going ping-pong game with my own thoughts.
I have never thought I am an interesting man, but somehow life has its own course to prove the opposite. I'm neither handsome, nor tall, nor rich, haven't come up with a brilliant start-up and doesn't master any form of art. My major contribution to this world pretty much sums up in paying attention (and some bucks for food) to help stray cats & dogs.
I have just turned 41 years old which means I'm a junior geezer, ex married aka divorced which feels much better than having the burden of saying I'm an old bachelor, while enjoying the same liberated result; Having completed my IDF (Israeli Defense Force) compulsory military service and sixteen years of reserve force; Having graduated from my home city university with two bachelor (Why can't I say divorced?) degrees in Computer Science, Middle Eastern studies and Law that mostly helped me understand I should have gotten a ticket to America and never study at all. I think the only task left for me in society's checklist is having a baby, yet for the past, present and near future I'm not aiming there at all.
Only thing is, as I see it, all details mentioned above are not achievements in life but merely check boxes in our society list of expectations, written every single day on our brain's board.
I don't really have an idea what to write here, so I just let my fingers go with the flow. I recall when being released from military service 19 years back and having begun my studies, the peak of my life, back then, was to borrow a book from the University's library and let my imagination loose. My favorite were (and still is) 'Survival' and 'expedition' fiction & real life stories about people having faced the immense power of nature, realizing how fragile we all are. I was awed to follow, page after page, how nature slowly peels away the covers we hide underneath, and reveals our true selves. I felt jealous wishing to have this feeling of tasting life in my mouth and shouting as loud as I can "It is so good to be alive!" (And thanks Ron, the only guy I have known to not like the taste of water, who taught me this saying after sipping from a can of Cola while riding our Enfield bikes from Goa to Hampi in India ).
For many years I read one book after another while living a grey regular life. I was a student, working as a security guard in our city's seaport, helped my mother with the mortgage payments, had friends without any girlfriend to share passion and love with and mainly took care of stray cats & dogs, without being judged in return.
It all changed the day I chose not to play by the book. It was just another day at the university studying The history of the Middle east, which is a great degree to study if you wish learning nothing while enjoying the benefits of being a student (Hey, I'm working at a shitty job, sharing room with someone, not having money, but it's OK, I'm a student). Suddenly this guy looking like a combination between some burger addict to a crooked politician entered the class to preach us about the elections to the student's council. I was too tired to listen to his bubbling, or maybe I was a bit jealous of someone actually having some sort of influence in life to speak about, so instead of politely waiting for him to finish, I told him my bitter opinion of it being all BS and lies. To my surprise and disappointment, instead of being insulted he was wit, kind and smiling, inviting me to join the imaginary cause. The other day we met in the hall, as he was all active in persuading passing students to support him and this guy with his zeal, speaking so vigorously, about something that seemed so meaningless, so 'Not on the achievements list', simply won me over by igniting a desire in me to take part in some game, or competition, for some cause.
Suddenly from being bored to death from my studies and work I had something to fight for, as stupid as it was just a couple of days before.
And with it many things came into life. I met great friends of our students group (The Oranges) and friends of the rivals (The Purples) . I was giving lectures to students about this stupid election convincing them of the importance of it; I sort of became this guy; I fell in love with some gorgeous young student who became my first real girlfriend. I felt Alive!
When I look back on my life (not that I'm dying) I put the finger on that day as the day my life took a different course. It was the day I felt alive from doing something which was unexpected, unplanned, not written in society's book. No one will come and ask you "Hey, have you joined some students group to fight for some crazy cause?" it simply doesn't exist on the charted map of achievements. Those inquiring people all wish to know about your grades, but not about your dates; About the number you marked in your test or salary slip, but not about the one you marked in your heart.
It was like discovering the Big Bang of social life. Life has a meaning and you won't find it in the achievements you try so hard to boast about. You'll come across it while wondering along the way trying to get there, or somewhere, or anywhere. This weird dude named Avi Ovadia, became the most important man for me those days, as he gave me a meaning to fight for a cause. It felt great fighting for something which is neither a number, nor a currency, nor money. I was fighting for Friendship! I was doing everything in my power to become the elected student representative of the department for Middle Eastern studies in Haifa University, just like it was running for Senate from the state of Michigan. It was so damn important for me and I made it, I won the majority of the students' votes. Unfortunately the Orange group itself lost to the Purples as not enough Oranges were elected, yet we earned a lesson of values and true friendship. Thank you Avi 🙂 And screw you Purples
15 years passed since. Many things have changed yet the lesson remains the same: Life is the best school when you get lost on the way to the goals dictated by society.
This blog will aim to share the lessons and wonderful experiences I have been learning in life from that day on.
Photo taken in a school in Siem Reap, Cambodia where I have been living for two years.