Such Is Life Illustration by: Ysabel Berger

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Kiesa Keller is a junior at Utah Valley University majoring in Writing Studies and minoring in Spanish. She recently started her own writing column titled Sånt Är Livet with UVU Review, the independent, student-run newspaper at Utah Valley University. 

“Sånt är livet,” my dad said, hardly looking up from his computer.

I stared at him blankly. “Sand air la—what?” 

My father would nonchalantly say phrases like these, almost expecting me to catch on. The only issue was, unlike my father, I did not speak Swedish. I thought he may be having a stroke or something.

My dad turned to me. “Sånt är livet,” he said again. “Such is life.” 

I was only twelve or thirteen at the time, and I had just been complaining to my dad about something I honestly do not remember. It was whatever a twelve or thirteen-year-old would have complained about, so to take a guess, I either told him about a friend at school, my older brother, or a harmless crush that sat behind me in class. Who knows? I’ve had a lot of experiences in my twenty-one years of life. 

I don’t remember what was said, but I do remember how my dad responded: Sånt är livet. The phrase played over and over again in my mind. From that day forward, I used the phrase almost religiously. When bad things would happen to me, I’d pull out “Sånt är livet.” When good things would happen to me, I’d chime in with “Sånt är livet.” I was a character in a comic book, and that became my catchphrase. Sånt är livet was a way for me to cope. I began to understand that life happened the way life would, and when it came down to it, the control I had over everything was rather minimal. 

Dear readers, my name is Kiesa Keller, and before you ask, it’s pronounced k-eye-s-uh. My name is Swedish too, and people get it wrong all the time. Hell, even I get it wrong sometimes. Like I said, I do not speak Swedish. Sånt är livet. 

This column is named Sånt Är Livet, or in its English translation, Such Is Life, because I am not an expert on life, and neither are you. Let’s be honest, life is complicated. Sometimes I wish it weren’t, but I have come to realize that these complications are what make us grow. Without them, life rarely has meaning. So, I want to hash out life in all forms with you, and hopefully, we can come to some helpful conclusions together. Are you having relationship problems? Is your mother a narcissist? Are you questioning your religion? Did you make a mistake you believe to be unfixable? Is school kicking your ass? Do you not know what you’re doing, like, at all? Well, welcome to the club. 

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on anything, but I do have a couple of promises to make you all. I will approach every column and question that comes my way with empathy and care. I will research your issues, relate them to my personal experiences if applicable, and attempt to give you the honest response you want (or maybe don’t want) to hear.

This column will encompass my take on everything, with some reliable sources cited here and there. This is merely one perspective in a sea of people, so take it as you will. I am excited to begin this journey with you. Now, let’s say it all together: Sånt är livet!

Until next time,

Kiesa Keller

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