It would mean deduct 27 years of real life experiences and add their wisdom back into my youth. Rather impossible, isn’t it? #IfIWere22

Well, instead of crying over split milk for what I wish I knew, I prefer to share what I do know now and I didn’t then. In other words, I find it more useful to give young people some piece of “proven” experience (you might also call it advice) through four short personal stories.

Story No1. When I was 22, I thought I would marry after 30, and I did wish for that. I re-met (that’s a really long story) my future husband when I was 25, and the decision came naturally to get married at my 26 years of age. Although it might seem strange, I never regretted that!

Lesson learnt No1. Never ever put a concrete date in your mind for big decisions in your life. There is no such thing as a deadline or a “delivery” day for life-decisions.

Story No2. When I was 22, I thought I could (and should) plan my professional career on paper. Time passed by and I shared these (pretty logical – according to my opinion) thoughts with the General Manager of a multinational for which I had been working at that time. He leaned back on his chair, looked at me smiling and said: “First of all, cool down. Careers cannot be planned. The only thing you have to do is get trained every single day, so that you are ready to grab the opportunity when it appears. Just take care to be there.” And he was absolutely right. I still feel grateful for his advice!

Lesson learnt No2. Careers can be prepared, not planned.

Story No3. When I was 22, I had one more year left to finish my Chemical Engineering studies and then … of course, I would work as a Chemical engineer! Not true, it proved to be. I sent 52 CVs to 52 companies that were asking for (or could employ) a Chemical Engineer and I received zero positive replies! It so happened in life that I soon found myself in the IT industry and I worked there (in both local and multinational companies) for 18 consecutive years! The funny thing is that when I joined my first IT employer (a big multinational) I knew nothing about computers more than just using a word processor and a spreadsheet. I tried hard and learnt everything I needed to, or even more.

Lesson learnt No3a. Do not automatically translate your first degree into a concrete profession or job. Be ready to change, because you might have to.

Lesson learnt No3b. You cannot escape consistent learning effort. Face it as the solid base of your every success.

Story No4. When I was 22, I thought that getting prepared for the university exams and projects was the most difficult thing one could ever do. After some years, I looked back at my university years with real nostalgia, especially when it was 8 in the evening and the deadline for my deliverable was at 8 next morning or when I was 2 days away from the end of the month and many thousands of euros away from my target. At that time, I thought that I have stretched myself to the absolute maximum. But then kids came.

And some evenings, after reaching home around 9 and finally achieving to put off my high heel shoes around 12 (in between I was drying the hair of one daughter and discussing the food choices of the other), I realized that I can stretch myself even further. I felt that the absolute maximum is still to come. May be the following day. May be after some months. During “calm” days I looked at my-so-resilient-self really amazed.

Lesson learnt No4. You cannot imagine what you can achieve, how far you can reach! As long as you have the motive, you’ll reach the sky, I swear.

So, let your dreams guide you, let life teach you and you’ll surely find your unique, and therefore wonderful, way to lead a FULL LIFE!