When I was younger, I thought I knew it all | KATARINA WEST

When I was younger, I thought I knew it all

A mass of facts filled my mind. Like that the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648 and Violetta dies of tuberculosis in the third act of La Traviata and James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix in 1953.

I read as much as I could. In art exhibitions I fiddled with the audio guide rather than looked at paintings, because I couldn't enjoy beauty unless I had all the information right. I did a PhD and for a brief period of time proudly called myself an expert on my narrow topic.

Now I barely remember what it was all about.

With my dog. He doesn’t agonise about knowing.

Years have passed. I've got married, had a child. Life has taken over. What matters to know now is that my son has done his homework and there's something to eat for dinner.

I still know things, but they're little truths, everyday facts. I know for sure that it is possible to cook and talk on the telephone and scrub the floor at the same time, and that you should start a fire with pieces of newspaper and dry brushwood. I know that here in Italy ripe melons have a different scent and that's why the Italians sniff melons before choosing them.

Often I ape them and make a scene out of choosing melons, because I don't want to look like a foreigner.

But frankly, all melons smell the same to me.

Smell any difference?

Then one day not so long ago, I panicked. My son asked me something about life or history or the universe, like kids often do. And for the umpteenth time I didn't remember the answer.

What was happening? Where had all my knowledge disappeared? What did I know about life and the world? I mean, really know?

And what was that something worth knowing?

Books I’ve read, stories I’ve forgotten.

I decided that I'd start to blog. Every month I'd put a post about any truth big or small, personal or universal, practical or philosophical. Slowly I would discover what I know about life, till one day I might have my very own Theory of Everything.

But adventures are adventures only if you undertake them with someone. That's why I'm inviting you to come along with me. Journey with me, and tell me what you know about anything that matters. Our expedition will be just as important as our destination.

And who knows. We might even learn something.