Rebirth at 50 – Preface

Not so long ago, someone who hadn’t seen me for 20 years, told me that she remembered me as «a strong, dedicated, intelligent, creative, determined and hardworking person». I would add controlling, perfectionist, demanding, self-sufficient and as a boss once said to me, «not very humble»…


Sometimes I think if someone wanted to give me the biggest lesson of my life, they couldn’t have done better than to send me Parkinson’s disease at 47. One morning, as I walked down the rambla[1], I thought I might as well create a fairy tale to distill down the disease’s meaning for me, imagining an evil fairy had touched me.


And I imagined the evil fairy gave me a single touch with her magic wand, with which she passed me Parkinson’s disease. A single touch, followed by four questions, was enough to teach me the big lesson I needed to learn.


The fairy said to me: «Do you think you can have everything under your control? Well, it turns out you can’t even control your right hand». Can there be anything more symbolic than losing control of your right hand?


The fairy continued: «Do you think you can achieve perfection? Well, it turns out that you are now visibly imperfect». Can there be anything symbolically more imperfect than a disability? And as visibly imperfect as Parkinson’s disease?


The fairy insisted: «Do you think you can do anything you set your mind to? Then you will have to feel in your flesh what it’s like to feel vulnerable». Can there be a greater feeling of vulnerability than that you experience when you know you have a disease that will limit you more and more, but you don’t even know how and when will it happen? And with the particularity that it is a neurodegenerative disease.


And with no compassion the fairy finished by asking: «Do you believe that your intelligence is greater than that of the rest and are you proud of your efficiency and your ability to work? Well, now your brain images show large blue areas of neurons that don’t work. Your precious brain is visibly damaged». Nothing could have been more enlightening.


And these were the four aspects that I had considered the most outstanding of my personality, on which I had built my identity and from which I drew my confidence. The evil fairy had left me at the crossroads, where I had only two paths left: to sink or to start again.


But the evil fairy didn’t leave me alone. First, she took off her evil costume and revealed that she was a fairy godmother who had a very important mission for me. She chose a few angels to join me on my difficult journey, provided the information I would need in the most incredible ways, and enrolled me, without asking for my permission, in many difficult and intensive courses on life that I would not otherwise have taken. And thus, a painful, yet ultimately enriching process, ensued. I called it «my 50 renewal».


The fairy told me I had the gift of being able to put my feelings and experiences into words. And that these gifts come with responsibilities. So, she asked me to share my story with those who need them.


These pages are the most honest I have ever written. I wrote them with complete freedom, with no desire to please anyone other than my heart. Readers will find in them my successes and my mistakes on a path that led me to rediscover myself. There are no shortcuts, nor recipes. But as a taxi driver with tears in his eyes concluded as he listened to my story: «Then there’s an “after”». If, when reading these pages, someone can find relief, hope or a reflection from which to draw inspiration, then I will have achieved my goal. And these intense and difficult years will have had a meaning.


Four years ago the interpretation of my numbers at birth – according to Tantric numerology – left me perplexed. This reading clearly stated that my mission in life was to deliver a message of hope: «If Florencia did it, it is possible». From that time to this part I have continued to receive innumerable and unmistakable signs confirming this mission. If this is so, I dedicate these pages to those who need to receive them.


[1] The rambla is an avenue that goes along the entire coastline of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. As an integral part of Montevidean identity, it’s a very important site for recreation and leisure. Every day, a large number of people go there to take long strolls, jog, bicycle, roller skate, fish and even—in a special area—skateboard. Its 17 miles’ length makes it one of the longest esplanades in the world.