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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

A Brief Story of my Life

How well do you thrive with the ever changing twists life throws at you with very short or no advice so far?

22-year old kid. Senior year at College, actually showing up for an Internship to finally earn my Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.

I’ve just made up myself to take a risk and venture to tell you a brief story which is a small but significant part of my life. Mainly because much of the essence that I show to the world has its roots in this timeframe where I made a couple of relevant decisions that eventually made it up in a big measure the kind of person I am right now.

Ok, so I get back to my twenties. It ran the year of 1995 and I it came to me with a whirlwind of situations that pushed me out to make one of the most relevant decisions of my life.

Perhaps not as a college graduate at that time, not even close to have a formal employment, there came an opportunity to do an internship in a small company while performing my professional practice as a requisite to my last college credits to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, I was full in love with Vicky, and we just decided to join our souls an got married before the end of 1995.

Vicky, my beloved fiancee, she came from a broken home marked by his father’s infidelities and also hit by financial struggles that prevented her to finish College. So it seemed our bold resolution to get married came like a blowoff valve to run away from toxic family relationships. Well, at least that seemed to be the way some close relatives thought about our decision. Unfortunately but as this situation may be expected, some of our closest relatives subtly turned us down by disagreeing about our decision to get married.

At that moment we just felt disappointed about all these feelings around and about the two of us. By now I try to fit on their shoes and just see the facts that happened at that time: a couple of youngsters with any economic status and in the sunrise of life suddenly make a decision to get married, just like that, literally with nothing else but the apparent conviction of living together.

So that’s how we started life as a couple, as scarce materially talking but as abundant in love and expectant to thrive in this new way of living together, despite the lack of emotional support from some our most important people around.

However, the fact of starting adulthood so early in our lives and from scratch, it made up kind of a subtle but strong and common resolution between the two of us to get ahead in life no matter the circumstances. Because when everything in life is so hard to get, that makes you appreciative and at the same time discerning for each valuable thing, every step forward and any significant relationship we earned so far.

Back then, I initiated my internship in a small agricultural company dedicated to exporting ornamental plants. Waking up everyday at 2 am was necessary to board in the back of a pick up truck and make a 3 hours drive up to the plantation’s fields where I performed my college’s project for about 6 months.

So that was my very first approach with the real world, a reality in which I faced some people who were rude on me, but on the other hand there where also kind people who supported me out while I was struggling in translating the school theories and techniques into a scientific based model to improve the production of the ornamental plants in such a small business who’ve only known the empiric way of doing things.

Up to now, in my memory still remains a hard life’s lesson I had with the Company’s General Manager. So there I was, sitting in his office, right in front of him, hearing some harsh words about my first three months of job performance. The information he had been given at that moment basically showed that I was not making a real contribution to the business bottom-line, so he had made a decision to cut by half the economic aid I had been earning as part of my internship. Notwithstanding I was putting the best out of my focus and intentions to debrief a comprehensive system to plan and control the harvest of their core ornamental plants they exported to Europe and East Asia.

Unfortunately, I had been misinformed by a mid-level Manager who was the head of the plantation fields. This guy who I then realized, he was a real jerk. In other words,  he was that kind of know-it-all and ego based supervisor who don’t care about any junior engineer sniffing into his domains with the intention of changing the way he was doing things. Let alone the fact that from his perspective, it was unacceptable someone else besides himself in having the audacity of thinking and proposing new ways of doing  things in such an unfortunate workplace.

I’ll never forget that day when I was confronted with the real world. That day, just leaving the GM’s big office, I walked alone home with a knot in my throat and a whirlwind of feelings like frustration and anxiety because I felt completely disarmed and unprepared to face such situation. And even unable to counter argue the GM’s harsh posture on me. It was evident my feelings towards the GM before but also after that moment were respectfulness to his seniority  and appreciation for letting me join his Organization.

Regardless of what was happening, I just made a decision to follow through and to keep grinding on my duty despite such hostile work environment. Anyway, after six months of struggle I just finished my internship project, leaving that small company and getting my bachelor’s degree with a new perspective about what to expect for the next round.

About ten years later, I was getting dinner with my wife and our two daughters in a fancy restaurant, then I gazed from the distance a face I just got familiar with time before… So there he was just a couple of tables ahead: the GM I was confronted some time ago… Respectfully as always I just got up and shuck hands with him. Rather he seemed nervous and even embarrassed, I thought he was surprised to see me again after such a long time with a nice family and in such a nice place. I just felt he wasn’t expecting at all to see me again, especially because  all those years after we worked together and obviously because of the circumstances given so far.

After a while, I saw him timidly waving goodbye as he left the place with his wife. Just immediately there came a waiter to our table and gave me a small presentation card.

To my surprise, it belonged to the GM and at the same time the waiter told us our check was already paid by the card’s owner. Wow! I was really surprised again for this situation. And just some seconds later there I was even more astonished at the moment I turned back the GM’s card and I read a small handwritten note:

—“dear JP, I feel very sorry for my behavior with you a while ago.  I sincerely apologize, and I wish you and your loving family all the best.  For whatever you need, here is my contact.  Kind regards…”—

After this sobering life event, I would like to leave here some reflections that I just drew up in my mind and I hope they might add value in any interaction that you are currently experiencing or you may face in a near future:

- the quality of your life is entirely dependent on the choices you constantly make. However, in some instances there may be certain choices which might be seen so unpopular to others, especially to some of your most significant ones around you. Be careful about yourself but also about what others think of you. At this point, just make sure the destiny you have traced for yourself has its foundations on a core purpose. If that’s the case, block out any negative vibration, because harmful thoughts may come to you from the least expected person in the room.

- be cautious with your opinion about those around you. An opinion is a mix of feelings and emotions, but it lacks a key ingredient to make a true story: the facts.

On the other hand, an assertive approach you can try is to fit into other’s shoes, like having your mind wide open to put aside your ego for a moment while doing a genuine effort to live, feel and react upon that person in front of you is struggling with. Practicing this life’s approach will make you more generous, which in turn returns Oxytocin (our body’s hormone of Love) into yourself and over those around you each time an act of generosity spreads out to the world.

- each time you screwed up to someone else, do have the courage and the character to genuinely apologize. Not saying I’m sorry authentically is as bad as saying it vaguely or falsely. At the very moment you hurt someone, evil comes out of yourself in the form of negative vibes to the universe. Hence, as an universal natural principle, what comes out of you will eventually return to you in the same measure. Some people call it Karma. It works for the good and for the bad, it depends entirely on you.

—So how do you genuinely do an apologize? As the GM’s story I just related to, I think a true sorry has to come out of your heart at the right time, with the right intention, and then with the right body language and feelings to express a sincere amendment.

To me, this story of my life has a particular relevance, since the decisions I made at that moment are an important part of core moments where I faced with adversity and I had to make some decisive actions to get ahead in life.

But the thing is, probably along my life there has just been very few situations which right after making a key decision, there's kind of a before and after that marks your destiny, for better or for worse.

It could be more than five but maybe less than eight to ten life defining moments where you might be right in front of a crossroads, so you would have to choose a certain way. Such defining moments are also part of life cycles of about fifteen years each one throughout your lifespan. So, if you think about it , there’s around four to six life cycles where you basically make up your story along sixty or maybe up to ninety years old if you’re lucky enough.

I hope I’ve triggered your inspiration so you feel encouraged to deep dive into your story, whenever any of those relevant decisions may actually determine your current reality in life, you still have the last will to carve in the present for the future you deserve.

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