What’s in a Name?

I have always felt as though I was given the wrong name. I don’t feel like a Barbara. I never have.

I think we should all have naming ceremonies as adults, and we should get to pick our own. You should have a birth name and a real name. Mine would be Serenity. But the way the culture is at present, if I tried to change it now, I’d be laughed at by everyone who knows me. I am resigned to my name.

Even better, our names should be our story. They should be added to with each passing year based on our traits and experiences. By the time we are 80, our full names should take hours to recite.

For example, You would have “Mary, who danced before she walked, who loves dogs, who shocked everyone by spelling O U T at age 2, who was Rudolph in her Christmas pageant…”  And so on, and so forth.

In a world like that, if someone said, “Tell me your name,” they would be indicating that they really wanted to know you well, and they’d settle in for the duration with a nice cup of tea. And telling your name would be a gift that you would only bestow upon those who you felt deserved to know the very core of you.

And after telling your story, you could say something like, “But call me Serenity, for short.”


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Put down Your Baggage

A friend of mine told me recently that it’s really hard to find love later in life because we all accumulate so much baggage. Well, yeah, if you choose to look at it that way.

Personally, I’ve always hated the term “baggage”. It implies that as we go through life, we take on an ever-increasing amount of emotional burden that we can never shed, and it eventually weighs us down to a debilitating degree. Why not call it “life experience” or “lessons learned”? That reframes the whole concept.

Instead of being crushed under an unbearable weight, you are instead strengthened. As opposed to being less than desirable, you come with skills. Rather than being someone to avoid, you become someone with a lot of interesting stories to tell.

I genuinely believe that we increase in value over time. Remember, whatever coping skills you’ve acquired, even if they’re not ideal, have gotten you here. You’ve survived. And that is a fantastic achievement. High five!

It’s amazing what an attitude adjustment can do.

emotional baggage

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The Laws of Attraction

Just a few minutes ago I saw a gorgeous man, and I thought, “Yummy.” But then came the inevitable realization that I’m old enough to be his mother. I guess I always assumed that as I aged, my taste in men would age, too. Well… yes and no.

In terms of pure physical attraction, is it all that unusual that someone who is healthy and fit would appeal to me? Are you kidding? An athletic 25 year old is pure eye candy, and that feeds my spirit.

But would I ever act on this attraction? Not in a million, billion years. First of all, I wouldn’t enjoy the look of horror when it dawned on the guy that he was being hit on by a fat old 50 year old. Second, and this is the funny thing about the laws of attraction: my desire for the guy would surely pop like a soap bubble the moment he opened his mouth.

That’s because the older you get, the more you discover that attraction goes way beyond the physical. It’s a rare 25 year old who would have enough life experience to mentally stimulate me. Our frames of reference wouldn’t even be hanging in the same building, let alone on the same wall.

So in terms of long-standing chemistry, I’ll take a guy my age any day. Sure, he probably has more scars, but that means he has interesting stories to tell. Yup, he might have a paunch, but that only means I’ll be less self-conscious of my own. And when you can relate on many levels, you can have one high-rise of a relationship!

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop thinking, “Yummy” when I see those 25 year olds. I may be old and fat, but I’m not dead.

[Image credit: desktop.fanshare.com]
[Image credit: desktop.fanshare.com]

The Thing About IQ

I know a boy who despairs because his IQ isn’t as high as he’d like it to be. He thinks he’s doomed to failure. He thinks he’s stupid.

I heard in passing on NPR today (sorry, couldn’t tell you who said it or on which program) that IQ is not as good an indicator of academic success as discipline is. Someone who has a lower IQ and perseveres, gets his or her assignments done on time, and doesn’t put off studying ‘til the last minute is bound to do well. So, boys and girls, don’t let that IQ number get you down.

The reason I feel comfortable even discussing this without an adequate citation is that I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen people struggle and plug away at various disciplines and come out on top because they really apply themselves. Their success is hard-won, but it’s still success. I’ve also seen people with genius IQs fail miserably in the working world because they may know their stuff, but they are incapable of communicating with others.

I truly believe that it’s much more important to be well-rounded than it is to be at the top of some arbitrary scale. I’m much more impressed with someone who has a lot of life experience than I am with someone who is so high up in his ivory tower that he cannot see the landscape.

So live your life. Take advantage of any opportunity for a new experience that comes your way. And most of all, don’t let some number dictate who you are or who you can be.


[Image credit: capecodtoday.com]