My best friend Geri, my brother of life, the person with the best heart I ever met, always smiling, always helping others passed away some days ago. He was a very special person for me, like the brother I never had, we were very close and talked almost every day with each other, even him living in Argentina and me in Switzerland. He fought for 9 months against lymphoma, and the pain I feel is excruciating.

I had the toughest conversation I ever had with anyone, ever. Knowing the chances of him dying soon were high, he told me:

“You are going to be okay, you are going to be sad for a while, but with the help of your wife and son, you will recover, I know you will. I leave this world happy, knowing that I did everything I wanted to do, all the travelling I wanted to enjoy. Its just that I feel sad because I wanted to live more, I am only 39 years old”

Al & Geri just married

You can’t imagine how powerful and emotional this conversation was, neither of us could stop crying, holding our phones over a video conference 13.000 Km away. I was able to travel to Argentina a couple of weeks before his death, as he was not doing well. 
After several days of precautionary isolation and tests due to COVID-19, we were lucky to share around 4 days together. We took advantage of some days while he was resting at home before his next hospitalization for the last chemo his body was going to bear. Exactly one month before passing, he was able to get married to the love of his life, with whom he shared the last 15 years of his life living together, and I was lucky to share that moment with them.

What am I going to do about it?

Yesterday I was on the phone with a very close friend, reflecting about what had happened. And we agreed: Why the heck are we humans so stubborn and wait for something like this to happen to remind ourselves about what is important in life?

I had similar conversations with different friends, all reflecting about how they were doing something too, visiting those family members who they don’t see for a while now, or changing the way of living.

I wanted to share this very personal and hurting experience with you to help anyone in need to remind themselves about the important things in life, at least from my point of view. It is also a reminder to myself, about what really matters and what type of life I want to live. So if the time also comes for me, I have no regrets and I can also leave in peace, like my friend Geri.  

The following are my core personal objectives which I try to live by since some years now:

Do what you love, really question yourself if the job you are at is the one you really want to be at. Work for an organization that respects you and values you. If you don’t feel that, never stop seeking for the right place. Yes, there is a better place for you out there. It might not be easy to find, but the effort will be totally worth it.

Family always goes first. And this is not negotiable. Whatever organization who doesn’t respect your private life, is not worth working for. No, working 12 hours a day is not normal, and it’s not OK. And if you need to work this long to get a “promotion” or a “bonus” believe me, it’s not worth it, you are probably in the wrong place. Don’t fall for the “we mix work and personal life” it’s a trap.

– Take care of your health, live a healthy life, do more of what you like, eat less of what messes up with your body and take a one-hour walk every day. Your body needs caring. (I am really trying to pay more attention to this one).

– Smile a lot, laugh a lot, enjoy things, even the little ones. 

– Hug your friends, your family, tell them that you love them. Don’t get angry for silly things, life is too short to waste it on negative things.

– Be grateful, enjoy your achievements and be grateful for the surrounding people who love you. Always find an excuse to celebrate with joy.

– Treat everyone with respect, it doesn’t matter how much you earn, how fancy your title is, or how important you think you are. Respect everyone.

– Be kind & help others, friends, family need you. But a workmate might also be in need, and you have the power to be helpful. Sometimes it just takes to listen to them or asking how they are. 

– Travel a lot, see the world, learn about how different cultures are, different places, it will give you a lot of perspective.

– Keep learning and keep trying. Try to learn new things, listen more and If something doesn’t work today, don’t worry, it’s going to be okay. Keep trying.

In memory of Gerardo Ariel Viotti, I will miss you deeply brother.

Gerardo Ariel Viotti – June 3rd 1981 – April 19th 2021 – RIP