email@example.com was listed on the top of “People You May Know” in my LinkedIn update this morning. Just the email address, no photo. I clicked the "invite" button, went for walk, and checked back after eating breakfast. firstname.lastname@example.org was still at the top of the list and hadn’t accepted my invitation to connect. I ran across the kitchen to grab my phone to take a screenshot of the LinkedIn reminder. My sisters wouldn’t believe this. When I got back to my laptop, email@example.com was gone.
I searched the email on LinkedIn. No record of any such person. I typed in the name of the person but she has no LinkedIn profile.
firstname.lastname@example.org was my mother’s email. She died seven years ago this month.
“Do you think she was sending me a message?” I texted my sisters.
“Of course,” they each replied. One sister is about to become a grandmother any moment, another has breast cancer, and the third is kind of psychic and appreciates a random message like this.
But they don’t know the real reason my mother dropped in this morning.
I’ve been hanging around Martyrville too much, which is everything that Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is not. Martyrville poisons you with self-pity and loneliness and sucks optimism and resiliency out of you. Worse of all, it robs you of your innate power to choose to see the good in life.
Summer vacation plans triggered my detour into this lousy little town. As couples extol their upcoming trips and ask us about ours, I say we’ll be enjoying our backyard. My husband has an incurable degenerative disease and can no longer go out to dinner, never mind on a trip. I hate these vacation conversations. (Oh-oh, cue the violins. The mayor of Martyrville is ready to play the self-pity theme song. )
This morning, email@example.com was telling me to snap out of it. Life dishes out uncertainty, loss, and pain. It also gives us wondrous surprises if we remain open to possibilities -- and stay the hell out of Martyrville.
I will continue to obey my wise and loving mother and check my social media accounts for new signs. You never know...
Lois Kelly is the author of Rebels at Work, Naked Hearted, and Beyond Buzz. Learn more about Lois's work at www.foghound.com