Sliding Doors: A New World

Life is always surprising and, although we know that it is, we are always flabbergasted by the vagaries of events.

At a certain point in my life, like many other women, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was young, only 36.  I didn’t have children but I had a successful career that was on its way to an international level.

The illness led to the expected operation and the usual treatments, but the cancer was caught in time, and fortunately, because I followed all the guidelines, my life was never really in danger.

Instead, what changed after the cancer was me.  This isn’t an unusual situation.  It happens to many.  Illness makes you look at things from a different perspective, and this different vision can be a harbinger of a renewed life energy.  The women that I have met with the same story all seem brighter, more aware, more resolved.

My job perspective changed a bit too.  It was no longer so much about a career that would take me to the summit of a huge company, but more about the possibility of working in the same world to help others, being able in that way to give back some of the good fortune that I have had.

I, who thought I was so skillful in my financial career, discovered I was an excellent teacher and an empathetic speaker.  I found out that my ability as a communicator was much better than I  had thought.  I received all kinds of appreciation and plaudits for my ability to engage people, and found I could tell a story much better than I ever would have done to present a good budget or financial analysis.

It was as if I had “expanded” and had jumped on the highest step, and I had experiences thanks to the cancer that I never would have had, even things that before I would have considered extraordinary.  For example, to lecture at a university before hundreds of people, to discuss my experience with the wife of the then President of the United States, to work on the creation of an organization that supports the empowerment of women in the workplace, to be part of institutional working groups with important people in my country, and to have so many other fantastic experiences that would not even have been thinkable before.

Certainly, I still think that it would have been better if I have not become ill, but I also believe that it gave me a greater opportunity, and today I certainly feel myself a better person and perhaps even happier! 

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My name is Barbara , I am deeply Italian but a world citizen. I am and love many things as all of us: I love life, the company of family and good friends, I love to laugh and smile, I love cooking and (unfortunately) also eating. I love being with friends but don't fear being with myself, I like the mountain and skiing but also swimming and the wonderful sea of my home country. I like reading, music, listening to other people stories and traveling the world as I understand more and more how similar we are and how rich we become if we embrace differences.