I grew up in a small village in the mountains and always felt it was too small for me. However, I remain extremely attached to my roots and can never really define my identity without them. I have always searched for more, more knowledge, more answers, more myself, more solutions to my existential interrogatives and more human connection. That’s probably why I choose to study Philosophy and achieved my bachelor degree in it, and then my master degree in Philosophy, Sustainability and Environmental Studies. I used to love spending time in the garden with my grandparents, watching chickens and the nature around, and getting inspired by them and my uncle building tools and craft with their hands.
People around me couldn’t understand. They’d ask: what is your future plan? Are you going to just lie down under a tree, thinking to the useless problems of the universe and smoking pot? Initially, I wanted to become a teacher. I loved education, art and philosophy, but I was too rebelling against the status quo and the current school system. I believe there is too much to change in the public school system to make it a place where teachers can realize themselves.
When I chose my academic subjects, I was very aware of the dim job prospect. With years of high unemployment rate in Italy, unless you become a doctor, an engineer, a programmer…or you’d be financially screwed. So, people compromise. My brother, for example, studied economics just because it seemed practical, notwithstanding what he truly loved was history… But I decided to go for it anyway. I just love these “useless” humanities subjects. I also love nature and have always been worried and active about the future environmental challenges that we will have to face. After graduation, I spent months looking for something, but there was nothing out there for me defined as a job I could identify with. It was as if the labor market did not know what to do with me and all those minds that choose to express or understand the human being and his creativity, rather than conforming to the market and finance rules. We are so unprofitable! I realized that a precise job for me just didn’t exist, and that I couldn’t fit in the categories that society prepares for our future. My skills, my knowledge, my mind and my creativity had no place to be valued. Therefore there was no existing path for me, I had to carve it out on my own. I now understand that I can’t even fit in one-only-type-of job, because I have too many interests and skills to develop in different roles and sectors, and a boring full-time 9-to-5 job would probably dry out all my vitality.
At the moment I am doing several projects in parallel. My bulk income comes from providing training programs for organisations, delivering environmental education workshops in primary schools and waste minimisation programme at local events. To this busy and varied schedule I add my freelancing works. I started my workshops only a few months ago, although I’ve been doing it by and for myself for years. I just enjoy recycling waste in creative ways. The workshop allows me to combine my creativity with my passion for nature, education, as well as my belief that living in harmony with nature should be an essential condition for every living being.
The problem for me is that…I am ambitious: I expect the best out of me; I want to realize my potential as much as possible. But I am also very sensitive: I cannot spend time doing things that I do not feel in tune with.
I think we all have a seed inside of us when we are a child. If you manage to discover the one that is for you, you water it, take care of it, it will flourish; and the flower would be so unique that it wouldn’t look the same as everyone else’s. If you stay true to it, no matter how it turns out, no matter what mistakes you made along the way, at the end of the day, you could say, it was my life and I lived it. Now that I am building up my own path, I take whatever I can find along the way, simply considering whether it is something that allows me to develop further. Money is always secondary. This can be problematic especially when living in a city like London, but I’m happy to live with very little.
Catia Squarcia, founder of Cati CreACtive.