It was my 40th birthday that did it.
This milestone did not so much trigger a midlife crisis as an urge to perform a general stock-take on my life thus far. Where have I been? What have I achieved? What mistakes have I made? Where am I now? Where do I want to do with the time I have left?
Like many others, hitting the big 4-0 gave me a very tangible feeling of my own mortality. And that little epiphany promptly collided with an urge to write which has been with me since childhood. Over the years, I’ve pursued writing with varying degrees of intensity: a travel diary here, a novel attempt there. Yet I had never given the hobby any real structure or created anything which could be called a “work”.
On my 40th birthday, it felt like a task undone and a question which would continue to bother me until I finally gave it an answer.
Can I do it?
I realised: it’s now or never. Sit yourself down and do something soon, because time flies and you do not want this to become a regret.
As usual, I fretted about putting my thoughts and words out there. Because writing is a terrifying enterprise. It is at once highly personal and private – and yet its raison d’etre is publication, the turning of your insides out, allowing others to share in your thoughts. The anxiety is real. Could I do it now?
I was finally moved to action in the summer of 2022. I started writing – and haven’t stopped since. And the more I write, the more my own motivations crystallise.
The importance of stories
Rapid technological development and the social confusion that trails in its wake made me realise that – no matter how sophisticated AI becomes – it will never be able to replicate or replace a certain, elemental role in society: that of the storyteller.
Storytellers create and share stories that entertain, educate, inspire, and connect people. Those stories help to preserve culture, create empathy, share information, inspire change, and provide entertainment. Because these tasks are inherently emotional, they can never be performed by a machine. Storytelling is deeply, profoundly human. Storytelling is important.
At 41, I feel like I have a few stories to tell. I’ve been a cleaner, a bookseller, a lawyer, a legal translator, a digital marketing specialist…and now a writer! I’ve lived in the UK, Germany and Austria. I’ve been a British and an Austrian citizen. I’ve learned two foreign languages and live my life in one of them. I have travelled the world from Madeira to Myanmar and have read books by authors from Kate Atkinson and Roald Dahl to Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Bernhard and Bruno Schulz.
A digital girl, born in an analogue world
Born in 1982, I’m what is known as a geriatric millennial – a mini-generation which is now hitting middle age. We have already lived through unbelievable change and upheaval. We geriatric millennials clearly remember the times before the internet explosion – but were still young enough to absorb the opportunities that it brought and have pursued careers in fields that didn’t exist when we were kids.
Will we be able to take the AI revolution and the transition from an information to a knowledge society in our stride with similar nonchalance? We shall see. In any case, we are part of a bridge generation with a hybrid analogue-digital mindset and that means we have some unique perspectives to offer. I set up And So She Wrote to write about some of them.
Wherever you choose to start and however long you spend here, I hope you enjoy my stories and find something to take with you on your way.
A word on the blog structure
Because my writing has been free and unconstrained, following no pattern or pre-defined strategy, my subjects vary wildly. And So…She Wrote is a proper mixed bag, and everything is here: from silent migraines and travel highlights to jam-making and my crush on Rishi Sunak. Marshalling all these pieces into tidy little sections has been challenging to say the least. Sometimes my categorisation might seem puzzling, so here’s a little explainer:
At Home – All about life in my two homes – the UK and Austria. “At Home” covers all my thoughts about these two countries, my domestic projects and my hiking and mountaineering stories.
Work & Business – Articles about self-employment, work, motivation, professional development etc.
Travel & the World – All about activities and trips undertaken outside of the UK/Austria.
Sport & Health – Fitness, general sport and health matters.
Language & Culture – The “best-stocked” section of the blog, covering as it does my biggest obsessions: language, books, reading, music, concerts, and poetry.
Bits & Bobs – As the name suggests, this covers everything that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere else. Randomness reigns supreme in this section of And So…She Wrote.