Riv Begun
Historical Fantasy Writer

The Path to Happiness

“No landscape can compare to being with the people you love”

-Sam Meyers

Two conversations in particular from this week stand out to me. I recently spoke with a pair of students about to graduate,one American and one Israeli.  Both students were moving back into their homes after graduation, but both had very different perspectives on their plans.

The American student was disappointed at having to return home.  It marked a certain failure in her path to happiness, a nuisance when she should be elsewhere.  The Israeli student, on the other hand, chose to return home.  He aimed to look for jobs close to his family and close to the people he loved.

Recently, an article came out on the outstanding happiness of Israelis. One of the essential reasons for their happiness was a sense of community.  In most countries, this is normal.  It is more common than not for people to remain close to their families and return to their hometowns.

In American culture, this is not the case. Progress is getting as far away from the place you came from as possible.  Success is ending up somewhere great. Nowhere in the American Dream is the idea of returning to your roots mentioned.

But for Israelis, it is. Because, why not spend the limited time you have with the people you care about? Why is it so ingrained in the American system that the path to happiness is leaving the people who make you happy when the rest of the world realizes that this is not the case?

Maybe it is time that people in the US began to take cues from those in Israel.  While spreading wings and gaining independence is valuable, remaining close to the people that you love should not be taken for granted.  It is human nature to desire to be with those who love and care about you, and it is American culture that attempts to deny that nature in search of something greater.  Maybe it is time for us all to sit back,observe, and learn from the guy that excitedly plans on living in his parents home after he graduates.  We can learn a lot from him.

About the Author
Riv Begun is a speculative fiction and fantasy writer from Atlanta, Georgia. She combines her love of history, travel and family stories to create multigenerational tales inspired by her own family's past. She is a POSSE Foundation alumni and graduated from Boston University with a BFA in screenwriting. You can find her work at