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Life Lessons: Sabina Vajrača (VIDEO)


Life Lessons:
Sabina Vajrača (VIDEO)

Are you happy at the moment? 

I believe that happiness is inside us at all times, it’s just that we tend to cover it up and therefore don’t feel it a lot of the times. So to answer this question from that perspective, yes, at this moment my covers are off and I am feeling very happy and grateful.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Remember this fearlessness and joy of life you have now, and don’t let anyone ever tell you it is false or wrong or that you have to “grow up” out of it. This is the secret to it all and you have it already – remember and cherish it, always!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

That being surrounded by friends who support your dreams is the most important thing you can do for yourself. There are a lot of people we all collect along the way that are not very conducive to dream-making, whom we tend to keep around out of obligations and habit. What I’ve learned is that you don’t have to succumb to that. You always have a choice as to whom to spend your days and share your dreams with.  Make sure you pick those who support you and encourage you. You already have those little demons of doubt in your head – you don’t need any more naysayers in your life.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

My biggest goal for this year is to shoot my feature film “Summer Abroad” this summer. This is a passion project I’ve been working on for 3 years now and it finally looks like it might have a chance to “be born.” It’s a supernatural thriller in the vein of “The Shining,” that follows two American girls who go to Bosnia on a summer vacation and end up in a hotel with a very dark and mysterious past. Fingers crossed!

What’s your secret to happiness?

Taking a moment to reflect on the big picture. Sometimes the little things tend to take over and we feel overwhelmed, but in the long run a lot of the things we let affect our happiness are quite temporary and won’t be an issue even a week from now. Spend your energy fixing big problems and let the small ones resolve themselves. And don’t worry about other people; they don’t worry about you either.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Connecting to nature even in the smallest way, through my house plants, a view of a sky, feel of a wind on my face, a smell of spring flowers in the air… We all tend to live in “me world,” where everything revolves around us and our feelings, opinions, needs. Stopping for a second and recognizing that the world goes on outside of us, unaffected by all those little worries, helps me realize that they are indeed just that – little.

What’s your biggest regret?

I don’t have regrets. I know, it sounds silly, but I don’t. The past is the past. If I made mistakes, I took the time to learn from them, so I don’t repeat them. And therefore no past action is regretful. Just educational.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

I don’t have kids yet, but my 8-years-younger brother lived with me when he was a teenager, so in some way he was my training ground for parenting. The thing I tried to teach him in those years was to follow his dream and no one else’s, at all costs. This is a hard thing to do for both parents and kids. Not projecting your wishes on the kids and in turn not following your parents’ dreams just to please them, is a difficult job. Maybe I didn’t like all his choices, but as long as they were not physically harmful, I had to let him try them anyway. That’s what life is all about, after all.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I am a natural people-pleaser and have been known to go out of my way to make sure others are taken care of, even if it means I’m not. This is something that I’ve been trying to change for a few years now, and while I’m definitely much better about it now, it’s still something I struggle with, especially with people I love the most.

Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

My art. I am a filmmaker and aim to make films that are thought-provoking and inspiring. Having my first film “Back to Bosnia” screen on Capitol Hill and become a part of curriculum at many universities across the US has been a personal highlight I’m still buzzing from to this day.

When were you happiest?

I am happiest when I am directing. Being on the set, surrounded by creative people who inspire and challenge me, and seeing my vision come to life is nothing short of a religious experience for me. When not working, I find sitting quietly in a garden, surrounded by flowers and sunshine, reading a good book is as close to bliss as I can imagine.

What ten words best describe you?

Passionate, intelligent, inspiring, joyful, honest, creative, non-judgmental, loyal, tenacious, and, according to my boyfriend, princess.



Born in Banja Luka, Bosnia, Sabina Vajrača moved to the US in 1994 as part of a political refugee resettlement program, and currently resides in NYC. Her first film, Back to Bosnia, premiered at the 2005 AFI Fest and screened at over 30 festivals, winning numerous awards around the world. Her other works include short films Whim, Apparition and Smoking Kills, ESPN spot Generations Matter, Nouvelle Vague’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead music video, and a number of feature screenplays, one of which, Summer Abroad, she is set to direct in 2013.



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