My new nose piercing
It’s small, but I *do* work in an office.

I got my nose pierced today.

I’ve thought about getting it done ever since I was a teenager. And at nearly 34 years old, I finally did it.

Now that I’ve done it, I’m wondering about why I waited so long. What was the big deal?

This happens to me a lot.

I am an overthinker. Those of you that know me well know that this is nothing new. When a decision needs to be made, I like to mull it over, do my research and feel 100% good about the decision I’m making. It’s rare that I make a decision on anything significant without giving it some serious thought.

The ability to just make a decision without thinking it to death is something I really admire in my husband Sean. He has the confidence to say “I want to do something”, figure out how to get it, and work at it till he has done it. The guy has a lot of adventures as a result.

I get stuck at “I want to do this, but…”:

  • Is it a good idea?
  • Can I pull it off?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where is the best place to do this?
  • When can I do it?
  • Will someone come with me?
  • Will I be accepted as a legitimate do-er of said activity?
  • And it goes on (and on) like this…

All of these questions lead to frantic Googling, pros and cons lists and annoying everyone with the “what do *you* think I should do?” question.

All this thinking doesn’t lead to doing – or consciously Not Doing. It just just leads to hamster wheeling.

I got off the hamster wheel today because I was sick of listening to myself dither. I was driving myself crazy. I did some last-minute thinking this morning, but at lunch time, I left my office and walked with purpose to the piercing place. I only hesitated outside for a minute or so and I walked in. I didn’t tell anyone I was going.

I was nervous as I filled out the release form. I got less nervous as the procedure was explained to me.

Then it was done.

I looked in the mirror and was proud that I finally did it. That I made the decision on my own and I felt good about the result.

If anyone has any advice on how to make a decision quickly and thoughtfully, without making yourself crazy, I’m all ears. Or, I guess I should say, I’m looking for what everyone else already nose about decision making.

Why I hyphenated my name after I got married

A couple of days ago, I read an article called “Are Maiden Names Really Worth $500,000?” The link talks about a study that indicates that women who don’t change their name after they marry are perceived as more professional and will end up making more money over the span of their careers.

While I’m not so sure that a woman’s earning power can be predicted based on her choice of name (the author of the study isn’t so sure either, although he is terribly condescending about it), I do know that hyphenating my married and maiden names gave me challenges that I didn’t expect.

Once I was old enough to seriously consider marriage, I was mostly sure that I was going to hyphenate my name. I wanted to keep ties with my father, who has been dead for nearly twenty years. Dad didn’t have any male children, and there aren’t a lot of male children on my dad’s side of the family. When my dark side is rearing its ugly head, I joke that my daddy issues are showing.

I thought about it and my theory was that while I was still part of the family created by my parents, getting married made me part of my husband’s family. I didn’t want to lose my pre-marriage identity, but I didn’t want to ignore my post-marriage identity either. Hyphenating my name allows me to acknowledge both of my families. More importantly, it ties them together.

When I started thinking about all the paperwork I’d have to fill out to update my life to indicate my married name, I thought, “This is a pain in the butt. Why change my name?

A question I was often asked was “If you have a child, would you hyphenate their name?” My answer was always “No – I’m the one that chose to hyphenate my name. Any child I have did not choose that. One name is simpler for a little kid.” I stuck to this when Flora was born, and she only has Mitchell as her last name.

Mitchell is Flora’s maiden name, not Price. If she chooses to hyphenate, change or keep her name if she gets married, she is welcome to do that. It’s her choice to make.

If you are considering hyphenation, here are some tips based on my experience:

  1. Think about how long your name will be. If your name is long, your name may have trouble fitting on ID or on forms. This kink doesn’t apply to everyone but Melissa is my middle name. When I updated my ID to my hyphenated name, some of my ID ended up saying “*FirstName* M Price-Mitchell”. Not having the name I use on my ID causes confusion at important places, like doctor’s offices. (Dear Ontario government ID issuing offices: if you would consider allowing more characters on your ID cards, that would be awesome.)
  2. Do you want any children you have to share your hyphenated name? Or to have your maiden name as a middle name? What we chose to do for Flora worked for us. Your situation may be different. Some couples hyphenate both of their names. There are lots of options. Make sure to think them through so you come up with a decision that works for you and your partner.
  3. Do your initials spell something ridiculous? Like naming a child, you don’t want your initials to spell something silly. I sign a lot of my emails with my initials. “MPM” is neutral. If my name was “Bertha Ulrich-Mitchell”, hyphenating my name may not have been such a good idea. At least not if I still wanted to sign my emails with my initials.

Nearly everyone I talked to about this had an opinion. Some people agreed with our decisions and some people wondered about our choices. Despite the ID issues, I don’t regret adding Sean’s name to mine at all. The other day Flora said to me “Mummy, we’re all Mitchells”. That feels pretty good.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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