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Milestones in my life, by Alfredo Behrens

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I don’t remember when I reached the handles hanging from the roofs of the C.U.T.C.C.S.A. (Compañía uruguaya de transportes colectivos, S.A) buses in Montevideo. They were the old English buses, with the steering wheel on the right and placards telling you not to spit on the bus. But the important thing was that I was ashamed not to reach the handholds. Until one day, on my tiptoes, I managed to touch them. I don’t remember the day, but I remember my satisfaction.

And so, life went on, accumulating these achievements, which at the time seemed supreme. Like the first kiss in my adolescence. Walking at her side in a park I was torn between the attraction of her kiss and the fear of her rejection. There were other firsts in that branch, but none like that one.

Later I was named rugby captain and flag bearer at my school. Then my colleagues appointed me class representative at the IAVA and later the same at the University. I graduated as an economist with the first prize of my generation and later I was accepted for a doctorate at Cambridge. Of these distinctions, all very important at the time, I do not remember the dates. I know the day of my degree from Cambridge because my PhD diploma is framed in my office: July 30, 1983. It is only a few days to four full decades from that moment! I already have the sparkling wine in the refrigerator to celebrate.

Yet, a few weeks before my Cambridge degree, even more important was to have seen myself reflected in the eyes of my newborn daughter saw me as she opened her eyes for the first time. I will never forget that ecstasy. The next girl came during a snow squall in Princeton, and to this day she is a beautiful typhoon.

The rest is a big blur until Luli said yes to me. The date? It’s every day, thank God!

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Alfredo Behrens has a PhD from Cambridge University, teaches strategy and intercultural issues at FIA Business School in São Paulo and at Harvard Business Education.
Some of his books can be purchased on Amazon.

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