© 2017 by Delia Grenville

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Infusing more life into life

SABBATICAL STATE OF MIND

Chains were meant to be broken

November 3, 2017

I remember the exact moment I decided that I am chain breaker.

It was summer of 1989. Many of you weren’t even alive. I had received a letter in the mail from a white woman who I went to high school with. I find saying she was white a bit hilarious because who else went to private school in Canada in the 80s. But, lest there be any confusion, that’s been made clear. We ran into each other in my last year of university. She had just started her post secondary after spending years to find her passion. She was also 6 months pregnant. Unplanned. The baby was part of the freedom of finally being part of campus party life. Her parents were super disappointed by the circumstances. It happens.

My parents were good natured. My mom always inquired after her. I took time away from school to visit her newly delivered little one with my hand knit baby sweater that I had made as a gift and probably with whatever my mother had provided to go in am envelope. I don’t remember that part but my parents were like that since time. So, it is a given.

I opened a letter I received over the summer, expecting a baby picture. Instead, it was a carefully penned recitation asking me to put $1 or some similar amount in an envelope. Send it back and then write 12 of my friends and have them do the same.

In the P.S., there was a personal note about what had gone on to cause me to be hand selected to receive and send in this chain link. One that I wasn’t to break because of the bad luck that would befall me.

I was at the kitchen table. Standing. I remember this clearly. Thinking and I didn’t swear as colorfully as I do now. But, the sentiment was along the lines of why did she send me the envelope of her burdens? And then I thought of Endora, Sammantha, and Serena, role models of mine, and where the heck I could find the reverse-a-spell to off load whatever curse the letter had brought.

Then, I threw the letter in the garbage.

I hate chain letters. I hate that people think it is okay to threaten the peaceful flow of my life with promises of financial peril or worse yet that God himself will roast and toast me.

Sometimes I get the one that used to come in email on my Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp — an application whose sole purpose is to send chain mail electronically.

There’s the pretty ladies, the wonderful mommies, and both of those come with flashy graphics. Each with their own hunt for a zillion people to brighten up their day. Most are threatless. Some the failure is implied as the threat. Some appeal to your sense of bettering the world. On one or two occasions, I have really liked the graphics, stripped out any threats or obligations and sent on to a person or two because like confetti - spontaneous flashing graphics can be pure joy.

But, mostly, I break the chain.

I haven’t found the spell to counter the impending doom yet though. 

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A visionary technologist by day, Delia is also a published author and public speaker, often focusing on topics of project management, research practices, user experience and diversity in the workplace. Involved in the community and external business world, Delia co-founded Designing Me, an organization that steers professional women into executive and leadership positions. Her Got Strategy workshop assists junior and mid-level professionals in setting and executing a career strategy.