Maria Smedstad: Being lots of things: March 2019
I turn 40 this year, which has brought on a bit of a life crisis. I have no particular problem with growing older; in fact, I quite like it. Despite this, something deep within is kicking off, usually in the middle of the night, shouting: ‘what are you doing with your life’ and ‘who are you?’. The latter is a complicated question to answer. I am someone who still struggles with English words containing both Vs and Ws, but whose Swedish has not really progressed since 1994. I have no real ‘home’ in the UK, in the sense of a place where I grew up.
Despite this, there are some encouraging signs that I do belong here. For example, I drink more tea on a daily basis than there is blood in my veins. I no longer think there is anything odd about carpets on trains. And even though I was not born here, there are places that I am strongly connected to: the stretch of railway near Teignmouth, for example, where the train exits a tunnel and the sea is right there. I would pass on my way to university and weep because of its beauty (and teenage hormones) every single time. Tooting Common and the rolling fields of Kent, where I walked my dog throughout my 20s. The flat in Bristol, where – for a while – my only possessions were a laptop and a sleeping bag. I can belt out Ding Dong Merrily on High at Christmas and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau at the rugby with equal conviction.
Maybe it is not so strange that I struggle to know who I am. But then, perhaps being lots of things and belonging in many places is something I should be grateful for. Who knows, perhaps with age really will come wisdom?
TEXT: MARIA SMEDSTAD
‘Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’
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