Lately I have been asking myself this question every day, and every day more than once...
Paradoxically, when I was younger I used to know exactly who I was, what I wanted to do in life and how I would achieve my goals. With time, things have become less and less clear and sometimes I feel stuck. When people ask who I am and what I do I find myself quite confused. I used to answer easily to these questions by proudly saying: I am a Classicist or more specific, I am a Latinist. But am I, really? I have been studying Classics since I can remember: I attended a Liceo Classico and studied Classics at univ in Italy, I then moved to the UK and took a master in Classics and finished a PhD in Classics. But what do I do now? I work at the Centre for e-Research at King’s College London and none of my daily tasks have anything to do with Classics. I haven’t looked at a Latin text for years; in fact, I doubt I can even remember any Latin. And the funny thing is: I would have never thought I would miss Latin but somehow I do. When I was younger I thought I would be an academic at some point in my life, a Latin Professor indeed; I knew I wanted to teach and I knew that I wanted to take research for the rest of my life.
My PhD experience certainly made me change my mind. I didn’t love taking research as much as I thought I would and I didn’t enjoy the academic life that much. I often felt lonely in the library and in a city far away from my family and closest friends. During my third year as a PhD student I got terribly depressed. I fought my depression dedicating myself to several hobbies and that’s when I started my little stationery business, valeasc. So Valentina was my serious half and valeasc my artistic alter ego. With time I have discovered the more creative side of myself and now I feel the urge to create on a regular basis.
However, while I love having my tiny flat full of colourful papers and fabrics instead of just books and journals and photocopies, I am now more confused than ever. Who am I? What do I really want to do with my life? And, is it too late to change my path?